The Birthplace of Hip-Hop, South Bronx, Namel TapWaterz Norris Shared Another History of South Bronx

Leroy - Posted on 27 November 2013

Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) – You are from the birthplace of Hip-Hop, South Bronx and you are a Hip-Hop artist with disability. Tell us what was the Bronx like for people with disabilities when you were growing up.

Namel TapWaterz Norris - First off one of the things that I'm most proud of as a hip hop artist is the fact I was born and raised in the Boogie down Bronx the Bx, the birth place of hip hop. It's an honor for me and something that can never be taking a way from me. The thing about being a artist with a disability from the Bronx is that I wasn't born with a disability so I know the best of both worlds as an artist and Bronx native. And given the fact my injury happened in the BX as well as my partner Rick's and then we met after the fact living in the same neighborhood in the Bronx. So essentially the Bronx is the birthplace of Hip-Hop and 4 Wheel City. With that being said we had to go thru and still going thru a lot of the struggles that Hip-Hop went thru itself when it started. We had to become very independent, record on our on and do a lot networking on our own because a lot of people didn't believe two guys in wheel chairs could do anything or be accepted or successful no matter how talented we are. Hip-Hop went thru the same struggles when it first started out. Now it’s all over the world and accepted by all ages and races similar to us now. We are getting accepted and traveling all over the world with our music and disabilities and it started in the BX.

KHN: Tell us about the mission of 4Wheel City in your community and beyond.

Namel TapWaterz Norris - The mission of 4 Wheel City in our community is to inspire, educate, advocate, and entertain. We have several communities we do that for first and for most are our fellow people with spinal cord injuries and with all types of disabilities. In addition to that we also try to serve as advocates for Hip-Hop music, the Bronx, New York where we come from, minorities and young black men as well. Our whole goal across the board is to inspire people to never give up, and break down barriers for all the communities and people we represent.

KHN: What is the difference in the Bronx now compare the golden days of Hip-Hop in the late 80’s and 90’s?

Namel TapWaterz Norris - I think the biggest difference now is the essence of Hip-Hop has changed or disappeared. When I was growing up in the Bx and wanted to be a rapper it was about having the skill set and the enjoyment of sharing and building with your peers. Now a days most rappers just want to rap cause they think its cool or want to be on TV and make money. Which is nothing wrong with that but back in those days rappers were more iconic like super heroes and had their own identities and were respected for their lyrics not how many records they sale. I remember when in order to say you were a rapper back then and to get in the studio you had to be good and prove it in a cypher or battle. Nowadays with the progress of digital technology and social media it's not like that anymore. Now anyone can say they are a rapper and go thru the motions and put them self out there. There are no more cyphers or development of the skill set or respect of the history.

KHN: Do you think Hip-Hop history includes disabled history/artists?

Namel TapWaterz Norris - Not really and not yet, but I can say that it has come a long way with the Internet being a big reason for that. Since my partner Rick and I have started 4 Wheel City like 7 years ago we have seen and met a lot of disabled artist. And have been recognized by several Hip-Hop entities like The Source magazine and XXL magazine. And have also been nominated for a Justo's Mixtape Award and the Underground Music Awards twice. Haven't won yet but it feels good to be recognized and paid homage to. However we are still waiting and working towards our big break in the industry. So the struggle still continues for all artist with disabilities.

KHN: The South Bronx today is it better for people with disabilities and from your viewpoints what needs to work on for people with disabilities?

Namel TapWaterz Norris - The south Bronx is getting better for people with disabilities as is every place else in the world. A lot of new transportation, construction and more places being built in compliance with the ADA. But still more work needs to be done. There are still no accessible taxis in Bx or the other boroughs like there is in Manhattan. Still a lot of curbs that need cut outs. And those are the things we are fighting for and speaking about in our song "Welcome to 4 Wheel City". It was created born and raised in Bx just like our movement.

KHN: What is your feeling on Hip-Hop Journalism as a Hip-Hop artist with a disability?

Namel TapWaterz Norris - As I stated earlier we been featured in XXL and the Source magazines two of hip hops most biggest and popular publications. That was a big deal for us just as artist period aside from being disabled, because they came looking for us. For that fact I'm a lil bias toward those magazines. But overall most Hip-Hop publications and journalism are like any other news media outlets, they are looking for the next story that will catch their readers attention or ready to hop on the band wagon of what's hot. We don't take it personal, we just keep rolling and making our own moves and hopefully they catch up with us. But can say overall I can't complain personally because 4 Wheel City story has been written about in many other news papers, magazines, and online publications and the majority of them respect our talent as Hip- Hop artists as much as do our disabilities.

KHN: What is next for 4Wheel City

Namel TapWaterz Norris - More shows, more videos, more music, more money, more changing people lives for the better. I have a solo mixtape coming out, we have our latest mixtape Motivation Music popping right now, touring high schools to promote a new song we made for Peer Mediation programs, have performer at James Madison coming up, the clothing line and still working on the documentary and new website

KHN: Any last words?

Namel TapWaterz Norris - Not much just want to thank everyone who has been following and supporting us since the beginning and believe in us. We do this for y'all and won't stop so stay tuned! 4's Up!




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