A new documentary shows one man’s battle with poverty as he tries to bring rap – and hope – to the city’s most deprived areas
Ten-year-old Jess Baker (not her real name) stands at a microphone in a tiny recording studio behind a hip-hop clothing shop near Hull city centre. “My brain is all messed up,” she raps, “Music is my passion, it makes me not give up”.
Running the sound desk and encouraging her as she raps is Steve Arnott, director of Beats Bus, a project running music and arts workshops for young people in the city, which tackle issues including mental health, bullying and political engagement. “The idea of the Beats Bus first came to me about five years ago,” says Arnott. “There were hip-hop workshops already happening across the city, and I’d started doing workshops for young people. But if you come from a family with no money, parents can’t afford to give their children bus fares every day to come into town.”