N.VS, aka Chicago rapper, producer, engineer, promoter, and DJ Nick Woolley, shares what he learned through his participation in Hip Hop ChicaGO and sharing his art with the people of Shanghai.
What were your 3 favorite things about Shanghai?
1. Getting to meet and hang out with such dope artists. Really everyone in the group is genuinely talented at what they do. I am by far the least experienced in my field and yet the group took me in and we put together a huge show.
2. Building with the b-boys and b-girls at Fudan has definitely gotta be one of the high points of the trip for me. I couldn’t even communicate with some of them due to language barriers, but that didn’t stop us from being connected culturally through this music and being able to share that love for it.
3. Lastly gotttttta say Suntory.
Bake & DJ N.VS before a performance at the World Expo (photo courtesy of Bake Phouikham)
What were your hopes for Hip Hop ChicaGO and the trip to Shanghai?
First and foremost when I had heard about the opportunity to audition for this event, the thing that got me to the audition was “a trip to China.” It’s awesome that I can say hip hop took me to China. But really, once I became a part of the family, I definitely felt that the ability to build and network with such talented people is what I’ve gained most from the experience. I know I’m going to be hitting almost everybody up to be asking for their help in their field at one point or another (and I hope they know they can do the same).
What was it like to meet and dance with students from Fudan University?
The university was ridiculous. The ability to communicate almost solely through dance with none of us speaking a Chinese language, and only a few of them able to speak English, is pretty crazy. I was most intrigued by the interviews I got from a couple of the local breakers. It was great to really see what the local b-boys and b-girls’ thoughts were on hip hop culture as a whole, both globally and locally there in Shanghai. I got a couple email addresses and will definitely be staying in touch with them.
J Funky at Fudan University (photo courtesy of Bake Phouikham)
Did you have any particularly memorable experiences at the World Expo?
I gotta say without a doubt the most memorable part of the Expo performances had to be after our last and biggest show–just the amount of love that people showed afterward. The whole team was signing autographs and getting our pictures taken with people; they couldn’t get enough. They seemed mad appreciative that we brought and shared our culture with them, and I want to say…. We are MAD appreciative of all y’all in Shanghai!!! We’ll be back!
What do you hope the people of Shanghai took away from your performances?
I hope that we created an awareness of the culture. Hip hop is a great way to strengthen communities and a positive activity for youths. My hope is that they are thirsty and want learn more!