DJ Princess Cut Helps Bring Hip-Hop and DJ Culture to Central Asia
When you think of Uzbekistan, you probably don’t think of a thriving DJ scene or hip-hop culture. As a country in Central Asia, Uzbekistan has been largely cut off from modern hip-hop music (some even banned entirely). But with a new president in office since 2016, things are starting to change for Uzbek people.
We had the chance to speak with a DJ who is on the forefront of spreading hip-hop and DJ culture to this part of the world. DJ Princess Cut, an official on-air DJ with Atlanta’s Hot 107.9 radio station, recently traveled to Uzbekistan as an ambassador to promote cultural exchange and conflict resolution through hip-hop music and dance.
“My students are so enthusiastic and excited to learn! I’m teaching them about the history of the DJ, turntablism, portablism, mixing, blending, scratching, tricks, and even how to brand and handle business. A few students have experience but most have none at all,” Princess Cut said.
Princess Cut traveled with a team of like-minded, music-focused, and creative individuals through a program by Next Level USA, Meridian International Group and the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the country’s capital and largest city. Joining her were emcee, “Dahlak” Brathwaite, producer, “Adum7,” breakdancer, “LeanSki,” photographer/videographer, Anshul Gupta, and manager, Mahogany Jones.
“A lot of the students I met expressed frustration with not having outlets for their creativity or not having access to the same things that other young people have. Some kids will travel over to places like Kazakhstan if they have a means to, to learn things like dance, DJing, rapping but it’s not very common,” Princess Cut added.
During their visit, Princess Cut and the team executed and performed a concert in Tashkent. Over 3,000 attendees gathered at the Turkistan Open Air Theater to see performances by the Next Level team, as well as Uzbekistan-based artists, Shoxrux, DJ Piligrim, DJ Bella, and Severa.
Princess Cut’s students also had a chance to show off their new skills, including scratching, mixing, and mic skills. Dance student, Yaseen Jackson, closed out the concert with a dance routine to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
To conclude their visit, Princess Cut and the Next Level team made a visit a special needs facility called Unlimited Possibilities in Tashkent. They were treated to a traditional Uzbek dance routine by the kids and had a chance to discuss hip-hop and DJ culture with them.
“The kids were excited to play around on our Akai MPC! It was so touching,” Princess Cut said.
Aside from her on-air position with Hot 107.9, Princess Cut is a member of the Hoodrich DJ coalition, where she is often a featured personality and mix show DJ on Sirius XM’s Hip-Hop Nation. In between balancing her passion and purpose, DJ Princess Cut continues to put out classic mixtapes, as well as give back to the community working with organizations such as The Steve Harvey Foundation, Usher’s “New Look” Foundation, and Trey Songz “Angels With Heart” Foundation.
“I am so happy to be apart of a program like Next Level, where I can represent women and contribute to bringing hip-hop culture to places in the world where it has not been accepted to do so or where they just don’t have the resources available,” Princess Cut said.
To date, Next Level has visited 24 countries. The organization has plans to visit more places in the near future, including Guatemala, Nigeria, Turkey, and The Philippines. To learn more about the cultural exchange initiative, visit Next Level’s website and Instagram.