Dec 23rd, 2022, 09:00 AM

The Hidden Hip Hop Scene in Paris 

By Malala Samirha
Image Credit: Malala Samirha
How La Place Hip Hop is giving underground artists a place to thrive.

In the backrooms of the Westfield Forum des Halles Mall lies an open community space for underground performers, rappers and dancers. Curated for artists of all ages to explore their craft, record music, engage in dance battles and perform, La Place Hip Hop is a culture center and concert venue hidden from those not searching for it. 

“It took us 40 minutes just to find the right entrance," said Corrie Delva a Junior at AUP. "The mall is so big and La Place doesn’t exactly have a huge sign that says come dance here.” 

Image credit: Malala Samirha 

But once you eventually find the door and climb up to the second floor you are greeted with security, Hip Hop art exhibits and a bar with a friendly bartender awaiting your many questions. If you have the privilege of attending a session, there are a few options based on different events hosted by La Place in the past. The first was a Jam session with a DJ playing afro beats and three performances by known underground dancers from Jamaica, the Netherlands and Paris. The second event was located in one of the back rooms with purple lights.

Image Credit: Malala Samirha 

“The Instagram flyer said a dance class but really it was 3 different krump circles going on all at once. It kind of felt like a movie,” said Isabel Armstrong, a Junior at AUP.

And the last event was by far the most intimidating - a break dancing competition where anybody could flip their way into gaining the title. Watching experienced men, women and even some children spin on their heads to 90s hip hop really emphasized the need to keep this center outside of the public eye. While you might feel like an outsider one might understand how La Place is not for the next upcoming Tik Tok dancer looking for a cool background to post videos from. It's for dance crews, upcoming artists, underground krumpers and lovers of Hip Hop Culture; La Place is for the community. 

Image Credit: Malala Samirha 

France does not acknowledge the impact Hip Hop has on its youth. Even though France has the second largest Hip Hop Market in the world right behind The United States, places like these can be hard to come by and should be protected.

So if you ever find yourself walking through Châtelet with the sudden urge to appreciate some break dancers or record a rap song destined to hit the Billboard's Hot 100, your way down to La Place Hip Hop. It’ll take you 40 minutes to find the spot, but it'll be worth it.