The boombox from The City Rockers (TCR)
© Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stadtmuseum Berlin | Photo: Oana Popa-Costea

The boombox from The City Rockers

In the room “Entertainment” at BERLIN GLOBAL is a boombox by former TCR member José Alvarez. The City Rockers (TCR) were known as a break-dance group in Berlin in the 1980s. In the series “Favourite Object” we present the ghetto blaster.

by Stefanie Friedlhuber, Kulturprojekte Berlin
Verda Kaya
“The ghetto blaster is an important early symbol of hip-hop culture in general.”

Sound of Breakdance!

You can learn more about José Alvarez and TCR in this excerpt from the film “Hip Hop in East and West Berlin”, which will be shown in the exhibition. In it, José Alvarez gives an insight into how the breakdance group came into being in the 1980s in what was then West Berlin.

Verda Kaya, curator, tells us why the ghetto blaster is her favourite object at BERLIN GLOBAL.

José Alvarez and Verda Kaya
© Kulturprojekte Berlin and Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Photo: Oana Popa-Costea

How did you become part of BERLIN GLOBAL?

I’m Verda Kaya and I’ve been working on subcultures and migration in Berlin and Istanbul since the 1990s. I’ve coordinated several participatory areas of BERLIN GLOBAL and involved individuals and communities in preparing the exhibits. As curator of the hip-hop section, it was especially important for me to include many hip-hop activists from the early days in East and West Berlin.

Why is the ghetto blaster from The City Rockers (TCR) your favourite object?

The ghetto blaster is an important early symbol of hip-hop culture in general. This one belongs to the legendary Berlin breakdance group TCR and exemplifies hip-hop culture, music, dance and art ‒ breakers danced to the rhythms from its boxes. The legendary graffiti artist Inka (CMD) made this boombox a unique item in Berlin. That’s what I love about hip-hop culture: its creativity and individuality both global and local. Just looking at it brings back old-school rhythms and makes my heart beat faster!

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