An excerpt from Luke Mehall’s piece, Hip-Hop and Climbing, which will appear in the next volume of The Climbing Zine: Volume 5, The Dirtbag Issue will drop on April 20th as an e-zine on Kindle, followed by a print release.
“The top gets higher the more I climb”
Drop the World by Eminem and Lil Wayne
The fringe is where the magic happens.
Four climbers pack into The Freedom Mobile, a graffiti-ed vehicle, spray painted red, white and blue. The sun is shining so brilliantly, its impossible not to be intoxicated by the Vitamin D it provides, even before climbing.
The commute to the crag is filled with excitement, and hip-hop, the music of our generation. We are in Indian Creek, Utah, the red rock desert, our home away from home, or home to those that choose to not call civilization home. Red rock walls all around are where we spend our days. The energy of hip-hop is where its at. The lyrics are secondary, sometimes, it all depends on the mood, sometimes the lyrics are the most important thing. When we’re driving to the crag its all about the mood, the energy, hip-hop awakes us from the slumber, pumps us up, till people are so damn amped it must be time to climb.
This scenario unfolded for years, over and over again before I thought of the connection. Hip-hop has been a part of nearly climbing experience I’ve ever had. We listen to it on the drive to climbing, the words get stuck in our head, and nowadays with iPhones and iPods, music anywhere, anytime that fits in our pockets, we even listen to the music while climbing. I’ve been driving around a graffiti-ed car to climbing areas for years, and graffiti is the art that was born with hip-hop in New York City in the 1970s. And, the best of the big climbing parties in our crew of friends always end up in dance offs. Hip-hop is the soundtrack for my climbing experience, but does the connection just end there? Do hip-hop and climbing have a deeper connection that what is at the surface? Of course they do, but you’ll have to go to the fringe of your mind to believe…
Luke Mehall is the publisher of The Climbing Zine, and author of Climbing Out of Bed, a definitive collection of rock climbing and mountain town stories.