Hip Hop Meets the Outdoors: an Alternative Conservation Effort

by Ani Yahzid

CU-Boulder Film Student

At six years old, I had three main influences: my friends, pop culture and Lil Wayne. If my friends wore skinny jeans, I wore skinny jeans. I knew the steps to every new popular dance and the lyrics to every new Lil Wayne song; even though my mom didn’t want me to. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Hip-Hop had an influence on almost every aspect of my social and personal life.


Hip-Hop is currently the most influential genre of music in the United Sates, with the majority of the audience being millennials, and in 2014, it accounted for 29% of all digital music streams in the United States.


Why do you care? Hip-Hop influence can be harnessed to protect the outdoors.


Now take a second to think. When is the last time you saw or heard of a rapper on a hike?
Give it some time.
Maybe a quick google search.
If you found anything more than a hike up to the Hollywood sign, I commend your efforts.


Hip Hop culture has never formally met the outdoors, and that may be a significant reason why younger generations are less interested in getting out there. It’s not yet cool enough. But we can set trends to make getting outdoors “cool” to people who may think otherwise. Perhaps by forming authentic connections between Hip Hop and the outdoors.


My name is Ani Yahzid and I am a filmmaker and student at the University of Colorado, Boulder. For my next endeavor, The Exposure Film Project, I will be setting out to influence the social norms around outdoor recreation in order to encourage more multicultural urban millennials to explore nature. I’ll be traveling to Olympic National Park in June (2017) with a hip hop Artist, Namaste, and his Producer, Keelan, from Atlanta, GA, and we’ll be filming a series of short films about outdoor recreation through the lens of Urban Culture.


If successful, the project will not only get more multicultural youth outdoors, but it will also increase support for the protection of our natural spaces across the US.

Interested in backing the project? Learn more.

At the CMC, we live by the idea that the outdoors is a place for everyone, and we strive to be inclusive of all people with all backgrounds. A few ways to get more involved with the CMC: Trailblazers (Ages 19-40), Youth Education Program (Ages 9-18), Conservation (work, volunteer, take action)


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