The boombox from The City Rockers

Verda Kayas favourite object

Melanie Huber | 15. June 2021

José lvarez und Verda Kaya vor der HipHop-Station im Raum "Vergnügen"

Our #FavouriteObject series showcases some very special objects from BERLIN GLOBAL, individually selected by people who helped create the exhibition.

Der Ghettoblaster von der Breakdance-Gruppe The City Rockers
Der Ghettoblaster von der Breakdance-Gruppe The City Rockers
Kulturprojekte Berlin und Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, Foto: Oana Popa-Costea
The boombox from The City Rockers (TCR)

Today Verda Kaya, who curated the hip-hop section of BERLIN GLOBAL, introduces her favourite object, the boombox from The City Rockers (TCR), a 1980s Berlin breakdance group. José Alvarez, a former member of TCR, lent it to the exhibition!

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!

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. The video is part of our social media series “Sound of BERLIN GLOBAL”, which is all about the audio contributions, sounds and music in the exhibition. Click here for the Instagram post: Sound of Breakdance!