Leroy Moore is the founder of Krip-Hop Nation – a project that aims to showcase disabled hip-hop talent from around the world, and which is also performs together as a musical collective – which is currently touring venues around the UK until December
How did your own relationship with hip-hop begin?
I was born in 1967, so I remember The Sugarhill Gang, who came out with the first rap album in the late 70s, which I really liked. I was in New York City [at the time], and before then had been into heavy metal, rock, disco and blues, but when hip hop came out, I thought ‘This is really something new.’
Can you tell us about what you’re trying to do with the broader Krip Hop project?
Krip Hop is an international network of hip-hop artists and other musicians with disabilities. We have chapters in various parts of the world, including the UK and Europe, and our main objective is to shine a light on the talent of hip-hop artists with disabilities; to indicate that such musicians have always been here. It’s an independent advocacy network.
What could someone coming to one of your upcoming UK shows expect to see?
You’re going to see really good hip hop that talks about people with disabilities and issues. Our songs are very political, so we’ll be addressing what’s going on in the UK now, with budget cuts and all that stuff. It’s also the first time where we’ll be performing songs as a group. We’ve been building up to this tour for a year – because we’re so international, we often don’t have the time to get together physically.
What have the reactions been like in places you’ve toured previously?
Audiences really like it. We were at a festival in Toronto recently, and the audience were dancing, really getting into the lyrics. I was talking on stage about [noted contemporary hip-hop artist] Drake, who once played a character that used a wheelchair in this Canadian teen drama series, Degrassi, and how hip-hop artists treat disability. We’ve also played at Harvard University in Boston. People have thanked us for putting disability lyrics to hip-hop, and for talking about real issues, like police brutality and stuff like that.
In your view, what are societal attitudes towards disability like within US at the moment compared to elsewhere?
In the US we’ve come a long way. There’s now a disability civil rights movement, laws, disability studies and a disability culture, but we still have to deal with discrimination. Seeing what’s happening in the UK at the moment is so scary, because I think that a lot of those disability policies could happen here. People in the UK need to speak out about what’s happening. It seems to me, as an outsider, that things are going backwards, not forwards.
Further information about Krip-Hop Nation and their UK tour can be found at www.facebook.com/kriphopworldwide; Leroy Moore is also a regular contributor to Poor magazine and a member of the San Francisco-based performance project, Sins Invalid