The air that greeted me was thick with smoke; both nicotine and marijuana. Everyone was vibing to the tunes and the atmosphere was filled with genuine enjoyment. Sticky checked floors licked my soles, billiard balls clattered on a nearby pool table, and illuminated graffiti bouncing off the walls on the far right beckoned me to a corner where DJs, rappers and a rather solemn audience bobbed their heads to some seemingly complex verses.
The underground Dutch Hip Hop scene was exactly as I imagined it would be. New school mixed with old skool, a rainbow of diversity embracing the spirit of music and liquor and marijuana flowing as loosely as the drug policy that allows the phenomenon to occur.
The staring up to the slightly elevated stage, I push my way through the crowd and make it right up to the front. I swayed with the audience, memorizing then regurgitating words I didn't know just sing along to the choruses of some of these songs. Once in awhile one of the free verses would be in English. I was very impressed by the Dutch people's ability to code switch between the two languages so fluidly.
By the end of the night I was soaring. The company I'd come along with and the company I'd met offered my a new experience of hip hop and Amsterdam.
Takeaway: attend an underground hip hop event in Amsterdam, because going underground is where hip hop is found.