The creation . . .
def SOL Productions began as a cultural project created by Amanda “M-Rae” Murray with the goal of promoting true Hip Hop culture in Saskatoon and area. With the commercial appeal of today’s money driven ‘rap culture’, she saw a need to bring attention back to original Hip Hop culture-based on the pillars of love, peace, unity and safely having fun.
Starting with a youth camp called ‘Summer Hip Hop School’ back in 2004, def SOL offered interactive classes on the five ‘core elements’ of Hip Hop including: deejaying, bboying, emceeing, graffiti art and beat boxing.
Learning from top local artists, students were able to experience the elements of Hip Hop first hand in addition to gaining insight into the history, culture and value of Hip Hop as a positive source of self-expression.
With Amanda’s growing passion for urban dance, and rapidly growing student base, def SOL Productions gradually evolved into Saskatchewan’s first Hip Hop/Street dance studio. While Saskatoon had a well developed musical Hip Hop community (Deejays, Emcees, Producers), there seemed to be a lack of opportunities and events within the dance scene. There were a few well-known BBoy crews at the time, but where were the Poppers, the Lockers…the House dancers? Where did they perform?
The truth was that there really weren’t many street dancers, there wasn’t anywhere to train or learn these styles and there were no organized performance events outside of the occasional BBoy jam. Additionally, due to the growing popularity of ‘Hip Hop dance’, dance studios around the province began offering classes without any prior knowledge or training within the dances/culture.
By offering authentic training opportunities to schools, studios and students across Saskatchewan, def SOL has been able to greatly improve the quality of urban dance instruction in the province in addition to creating awareness, respect and appreciation for Hip Hop dance and culture.
While the company continues to specialize in the dance element, Hip Hop culture and the promotion of true Hip Hop knowledge will always be at the heart of def SOL. To be a bboy or street dancer of any style, it is important to know the roots of the art you practice, and def SOL provides the resources for you to do so!
For more information on Hip Hop Culture and History, see our Knowledge page.
Why the name def SOL? (pronounced ‘def soul’)
def SOL was named after, and in admiration of, new school Hip Hop artist Mos Def and the golden age Hip Hop group De la Soul. Characterized by Afrocentric stylings, these artists represent the more conscientious voice of Hip Hop, providing an alternative to the ‘ignorant’ gangsta rap that has become so popular today.
In the same way, def SOL aims to promote awareness of the Hip Hop Culture and take it back to its roots where it originated — as an outlet for positive self expression. As for the spelling, the name def SOUL was already taken, therefore ‘SOL’, the Spanish word for sun, was interchanged to represent the rise of true and original Hip Hop.