Hip-hop might have been born in the Bronx, but the genre has taken on a new life in Prague. With interest in the subculture growing rapidly among the city’s youth, there has never been a better time to experience all the thumping bass lines, heart-pounding beats, and smooth rhymes hip-hop has to offer. Prague’s hip-hop fans bring fresh perspective and passion to the scene, resulting in a distinctly Czech interpretation of an American art form.
Tucked away on the first floor of Světozor passage just off of Wenceslas Square is Rapublic (www.rapublic.cz, Vodičkova 41). Run by the team behind Bbarak – the only hip-hop magazine in the Czech Republic – the store is a must-visit for any hip-hop fan, featuring clothing and sneakers from coveted brands like Jordan, Ecko, and LRG, a small assortment of records and CDs, as well as tickets for events and concerts around the city.
Looking for even more hip-hop fashion? Check out Gangstastar ( www.gangstastar.com, Na Příkopě 12) or Uptown (Belehradská 57). Both shops are chockfull of sweatshirts, tees, sneakers and caps from a plethora of famed hip-hop labels like Sean John, Rocawear, Phat Farm, and Greedy Genius.
Meanwhile, aspiring DJs should make their way to Diskoduck ( www.diskoduck.cz, Karlova 12). A short walk from the Charles Bridge, the store boasts an impressive collection of hip-hop records – everything from the latest hits to classics and rare gems.
Every Thursday, Radost FX ( www.radostfx.cz, Belehradská 120) – a club famous for its appearance in one of R&B singer Rihanna’s music videos – hosts FX Bounce ( www.fxbounce.com), a hip-hop dance party complete with a team of breakdancers who take over the floor and perform partway through the night. Ladies enter free all night long, while guys pay CZK 200 at the door.
Tuesday nights bring a hip-hop party to at least one, if not two, of the many rooms at the labyrinth-like Palác Akropolis ( www.palacakropolis.cz, Kubelíkova 27).
On a more nightly basis, M1 Lounge ( www.m1lounge.com, Masná 1) spins the hottest hip-hop and R&B hits in a sleek, upscale setting that’ll make you feel like a VIP.
Hip-hop artists, both local talents and stars from abroad, often perform at venues like Lucerna Music Bar (Vodičkova 36) and Abaton (Na Košince 8). For full up-to-date listings, check out www.hip-hop.cz.
For a less conventional concert experience, check out Battle Night ( www.battlenight.cz), held at Retro Music Hall ( http://www.retropraha.cz/, Francouzská 4). More than 40 local MCs will go head-to-head in a freestyle rap tournament that is sure to entertain, as each rapper attempts to aggrandize and insult his or her way to victory. The event takes place on 17 October, and ticket prices range from CZK 150-290.
The best way to experience live hip-hop in Prague, however, is at the two large festivals held in the area annually – Hip Hop Jam ( www.hiphopjam.cz) in July, and Hip Hop Kemp ( www.hiphopkemp.cz) in August. Both of these weekend-long events attract massive crowds (in 2008, Hip Hop Kemp was the most highly attended hip-hop festival in the world), and are jam-packed with performances by DJs and rappers from across the globe – including big-name acts like Xzibit and The Roots.