ABOUT LIFE CHECK
Life Check is a Durban based non-profit Hip Hop events organization. Using the resources provided by various funding groups and the continued support provided by REDBULL SA Culture department, a platform has been created for Durban youth to express themselves through Hip Hop culture and related performance styles.
The original format for LIFE CHECK was: on the first Saturday of every month youth from the Durban metro area gather at The BAT centre, located in the city Yacht Basin, and expressed themselves through Rapping, Dancing, Poetry and Music in a safe and controlled environment. This event would run for approximately 5 hours.
The new ‘floating’ nature of the organization has moved the event away from one dedicated venue and given it the flexibility to control ‘satellite’ events. These ‘satellite’ events are located wherever an existing scene is in evidence, and LIFE CHECK attempts to provide a boost in the form of a daytime free Hip Hop Open Mic concert featuring guest artists from outside of the location, as well as heads from within the scene itself.
Life Check is the result of another non-profit Hip Hop event called BLING FREE that ran successfully for three years before being forced through various circumstances to shut down for a period of time. BLING FREE took place on the first Saturday of every month at the Albert Park indoor soccer court in Durban Central. The walls of the court were legalised for use by Graffiti artists, a sound system was sponsored by a local store to provide DJs with equipment to play music while the artists worked, the event took place during the day and was free for the public as an environment to enjoy Hip Hop music and artistry. The event was intended to provide an area for Hip Hop appreciation outside of nightclubs and parties as well as to encourage the youth to reclaim the city centre as their own. The Albert Park area has become a notoriously poor section of the city and BLING FREE intended to give the area upliftment through regular Hip Hop activity. The event attracted a large number of Hip Hop supporters and youth from both the inner city and Durban’s numerous surrounding locations/suburbs.
BLING FREE moved from Albert Park to The BAT Centre and was reincarnated as the LIFE CHECK YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE.
Life Check has hosted and continues to facilitate various Hip Hop based events, through the support of The BAT Centre and in association with various outside projects including 2ON2 BBoy Battles, REDBULL BC One, REDBULL Street Style, REDBULL Music Academy, POETRY AFRICA, and HYPE Magazine Sessions.
The flagship project for Life Check every year (for four years now) is The LIFE CHECK ALL ELEMENTS BATTLE OF THE YEAR, a Hip Hop competition that takes place in August where rappers, break dancers, graffiti artists, beat boxers, producers and DJs compete against each other for the title of Durban no1 and the resulting prizes. Each year the main prize has been an all expenses paid Hip Hop road trip for all winners who travel to a significant Hip Hop event outside of Durban. 2007s event was the World One on One Breakdancing championships (REDBULL BC One) held in Soweto, Johannesburg. The previous years have seen the winners travelling to Cape Town for the South African Hip Hop Indaba.
The LIFE CHECK Recording project began in 2010 with the recording and release of an album intended to provide the initial product an artist would need to make their own moves in the industry. The artist in this instance was JET WENTWORTH from Treasure Beach, Durban South Basin, who released “THE FLIGHTPATH E.P.”
LIFE CHECK has ‘floated’ four ‘satellite’ Open Mic Concerts to various areas of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), including the inner city location of KwaMashu, and areas outside of the Durban City Centre, Stanger, Empangeni, and the capital city Petermaritzburg.
LIFE CHECK has facilitated the collaboration of a group of dedicated young Durban dancers and a number of contemporary choreographers and companies, both national and international, through the support of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival. This relationship continues to grow thanks to the support of JOMBA! director and choreographer Leanne Loots (Flatfoot Dance Company).
The LIFE CHECK YDI also maintains an active visual arts presence in the city through the participation of a number of established Graffiti Writers, whose work can be seen in various community art projects, including both murals and street art productions.
Together with the “1st Word Poetry” group, LIFE CHECK has run three successful Poetry SLAMS featuring poets from around the country alongside a growing contingent of popular local acts.