For the purpose of today’s blog post I analyzed “Nothing to Lose” by K’naan ft. Nas. “Nothing to Lose” is basically of story of how both artist, K’naan and Nas, have overcame the adversaries of there childhood and, therefore, have nothing to lose because they came from nothing. Throughout the song K’naan constantly mentions the roguishness of Somalia. He alludes to the Somalian civil war and what it was like growing up in the streets of Somalia. In “Nothing to Lose” K’naan outlines the life of a childhood soldier. In his first verse he begins talking about how, who I believe is, himself and how he got caught with cocaine. He goes on to state “Hut, hut to the block soldiers, buck, buck to the cop vultures, nope, no I don’t know pilots, nigga I know pirates, violence the islands, shout out to my idrens, put your hands up like it’s a mother fuckin’ siren.” These few lines almost completely summarize how K’naan views Somalia. He sites a chant commonly said amongst soldiers, “hut, hut,” portraying the war taking place on his block. He alludes to the police flocking to retrieve the numerous dead bodies and the retaliation the people showed to them. He acknowledges the poverty of Somalia, stating “no I don’t know pilots,” highlighting that the country is too poor for aircrafts. Yet, he knows pirates, which is formally defined as a person who attacks and robs ships at sea. And finally, K’naan calls the children to action, portraying the village aspect of their community and how the youth are the pillars of change, but unfortunately also showing how the vicious cycle continues. The chorus of “nothing to Lose” asserts that K’naan has nothing to left. What he is saying is, Somalia gave him nothing. K’naan represented how his country took so much from him, but in the end offered nothing in return.
Diaspora is the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
When coming to America, and being treated as an outsider it is to want to assimilate to America culture. So many people and artist are willing to sacrifice their culture to ensure they “make it” in the music industry. It takes a very strong artist and a very proud artist to remain true to him/her self through the adversity. M.anifest is one of those rappers! He came to America to get an education and was faced with much adversity, from the way he spoke to the way he dress. M.anifest stayed trued to himself and respected his homeland through his entire career and time at the university. His music stays true to his heritage, while at the same time describes his experiences with American culture yet relates it back to his home culture.
In his song, “Coming to America”, Manifest uses his lyrics to paint a picture of his hometown in a way that makes you feels like you are there. He talks about the way his mother used to cook and smile at him. The customs in his community and the ideals he is used. M.anifest even describes the way he grew up and how happy, human, and free he felt in Ghana.
Next, his song “Cupid Crooked”, describes the Ghana ideals and perspective on social issues. In order to honor his homeland and his origins, he dresses traditionally in all of his music videos. Secondly, he stays true to culture with his dances and innuendos. No matter what song you are listening to, you can feel and see that he is a Ghana man to the core.
M.anifest shows the next generation of Ghana rappers to be proud of where they come from. He teaches Americans that there is so much more to Africa than the disparity posted on our screen. Most importantly he teaches everyone that you can remain to true to yourself and still prosper.
I decided to choose an artist whose name I did not hear much in the class. The title of Say’hu’s song, “Motherland” drew my attention because everybody has their own opinion as to what their motherland is or what the term means to them. To me, my motherland is where myself and my family originate from, Africa. Although I have never been there and the two generations before me were born here on American soil I still have this strong connection to Africa. America is not my native land, otherwise I’d be Native American. For Say’hu, Africa is also his motherland being that he was born there, lives there and is of African descent. He describes Africa as “land of the great pharaohs where the sun never leaves”. Say’hu sees Africa as a land of radiance and beauty, a place where royalty are from and people from all across come to capture his vision. However, Say’hu also mentions how certain immigrants to the land are ignorant to this view of Africa and think of it as a jungle whenever they hear her name.
Say’hu represents both his country and the diaspora because although there are people like him who are born and raised in Africa and recognize it as their motherland, you have the black diaspora, which includes myself, whom also consider Africa to be their motherland. Although many of us have never set foot on African soil, many of us do acknowledge that Africa is our country of origin, before migration and of course slavery changed all of that for the most part. Say’hu talks about how Africa needs a savior, as well. His people are dying and the leader’s priority is money, an idea that many of the black diaspora here in America can relate to. African Americans are dying at a rate much higher than other races but our government and our system is designed to ensure this happens and to profit off of it.
Overall I believe Say’hu gave an accurate respresentation of both Africa and of the diaspora by incorporating personal experience, quotations and by describing the two sides of Africa and also the different views people have of the motherland.
There’s two types of people in this world: those who conform to the rules set by society and those who rebel against it. In their collaborative hp hop song “Gentleman”, rappers M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor come together to tell you that they’re the ladder and not ashamed of where they’ve come from. For today’s blog, we will look at the African diaspora and how this common African experience has translated over to the music of these two artists. Just to give you a bit of a background on each, M.anifest is a Ghanian rapper who is known to many as the king of Ghana hip hop. He migrated to Saint Paul, Minnesota back in 2001 to attend college. He even resides in Minnesota as well as Ghana currently.
Wanlov the Kubolor is a Ghanaian-Romanian musician who moved to the US for college back in 2000. Both of these artist are very proud of their Ghanian roots and let their experiences as immigrants influence their sound.
In their collaborative song Gentleman, both rappers immediately start the song off saying the chorus immediately saying “I won’t be gentleman at all, I’ll be African man original. I wont be gentleman, won’t be gentleman at all”. They immediately set the tone for the song with their straight forward acclamation to stick to their roots despite living in a country that has a different culture. Within the song they mention a number of aspects that are associated with the men of western culture and then rejects them with their own versions that they’ve grown to live with in Ghana. Both M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor have experienced first hand what it feels like to migrate to not just a different country but an entirely different continent like many Africans for the sake of their futures. the African immigrant population between the year 2000 and 2010 increased from 800,000 to 1.6 million and of those people these artist were part of that. There’s such a big population of African Immigrants that can relate to this song and are able to not feel alone in their fight to not keep who they are while surrounded by Americans. Gentleman is a great song that compares the two cultures and also speaks to what they mean to the Ghanian rappers. It’s fun, it’s unique, and it will always be African.
Even though my generation has been seen as the troubled sibling of the generations that have come before us but we have been able to continue the globalization of hip hop across the diaspora. Global hip-hop youth culture is the most recent manifestation in the story of black america’s cultural production and exportation. The shift of societal norms among other race groups lead to the marketability of black culture currently known as “The Culture” following the success of Metro-Atlanta trappers Migos. White America seems to disapprove of cultures that are not included in which is why Marshall Mathers was the link between America and the black experience. U.S. black american culture continues to be mired in social narratives of blackness that proliferate multi-dimensionally in the international arena that help us battle our countries faults with social marginality. Now there are three artists currently running the game and expanding the diaspora in their own way and they are none of there than, Drizzy Drake, Blitz the Ambassador and Jidenna.
Drake’s newest album more life has been acknowledged as the ultimate multicultural playlist, all cultures represented in the album are mapped and celebrated. On More Life, Drake shifts into a new perspective that disrupts the U.S. dominance of how the black experience is represented in our pop culture. He takes production cues from London producer NaNa Rogues on one of the project’s best tracks “Passionfruit,” and on the psychedelic “Get it Together” Drake incorporates sounds by South African house producer Black Coffee, to create a mesmerizing effect that would put fans in a trance. All the featured artists on the album tell their own story. Lets talk about the brooklyn made rapper born in the Ghanian city of Accra, Blitz the ambassador. Blitz often reffers to Accra in his music and usually returns their while working on new projects. Through his albums Afropolitian Dreams, Native sons and Stereotypes he has feautered Nneka and Seun Kuti, two of Nigeria’s outspoken music specialists. Blitz also believes that the music of the diaspora can be understood all through out so he visits areas of the diaspora for his music videos he has gotten shots in New York, Brazil and Ghana. Lastly Jidenna now some of you may be wondering why I decided to give him an entry on this list but I promise you his work though overlooked adds to the globalization of the diaspora. Jidenna has said on many accounts that if we begin to embrace the diaspora things will be different than how they are now and music is the spearhead towards that. He belives that entertainment industry is how we can begin to spread the diaspora it beigins with publishing and stream our artists on the African Continent is how we can began to empower ourselves in the US to give black America more power and oppurtunity while also bettering the quality of life for all in Africa. So the diaspora is still expanding and the arts is the key to the further globalization of the Culture.
M.anifest’s song “Coming to America” tells us a lot about the African Diaspora. The song mentions many things that Africans struggle with and it also mentions some of the things that African immigrants in America face. The reading “Payback is a Motherland” says that many African immigrants see hip hop as a way to connect with their home countries. In this class we have studied many African artists who are now in America and use their music to connect with home. M.anifest mentions things about the immigrant experience like missing home and family, trying to find a good job, and sending money home to support his family. He also mentions having to do things like constantly put money on phone cards so he can call home. He also mentioned the pressure from family and parents to get a degree and be successful. From other songs , we learned that the immigrant experience can be lonely and depressing at times. In “Payback is a Motherland”, M.anifest states that he did not know that there was a such thing as African rap at first. Once he discovered this, he began to incorporate his mother tongue into his music more often. This connected him to his home country and it also makes his music more relatable and likable amongst Ghanaians. His song makes many immigrants able to relate to him because it tells a true story and gives a realistic perspective of what immigrants go through. Many immigrants have a hard time adjusting to a new country and a new culture but songs like “Coming to America” let them know that they are not alone and that their experience is shared by others. The songs is very enlightening and inspiring. It makes people more aware of what people who are not native to a country go through and also how hard they work to get what they have.
The artist I selected to represent their country and the African diaspora was M. Anifest. He made a video titled Coming to America which one can find to do a pretty effective of representing not only M. Anifest’s country, but also the diaspora. Now the song Coming to America is very catchy and lyricle. The artist Anifest is able to use the song to paint a picture for what an individual has to go through when travelling outside of the country has to go through. M. Anifest is viewed and labeled as the King of Ghana Hip-Hop in 2017, also winning best Hip Hop and rapper song of the year for Ghanaian music. M. Anifest music is so popular, it did a great job of helping Ghana become a more popular country. His popular music bring respect to the country. Anifest music also does a great job of bringing tourist to the country. His music is played in America, so individuals now want travel to the country to see what of music or even events the country has offer. M. Anifest did a great job showing what an individual goes through when traveling to America. Things such as not being able to contact your loved ones back in Ghana or not being understood because of your accent all relates to the African diaspora. These are the experiences that individuals undergo when leaving their country such as Ghana and traveling to America or a foreign place. M. Anifest constantly expresses this idea of not knowing, meaning what is coming. To one he seems to be referring to opportunities that may or may not occur. America has painted to this picture that there will be more opportunities for individuals if they leave their current country. So, M. Anifest really emphasizes how he does not know what opportunity is coming next. Overall, his music helps brings great recognition to the country he is from which is Ghana and also displays experiences that individuals face with the African diaspora.
Blitz the Ambassador is a diasporic rapper. The Ghanaian born artists incorporates references about other locations in the “black world.” Through his lyrics he speaks about other African nations including Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt to name a few. His song, “Hello Africa” is a “call and response” to other African nations. Lyrics such as “Nagen def menga fils rollin in Dakar / Cruisin highway Cheikh Anta Diop to Accra / Ugali —- we party in Nairobi / All across the continent you know my people know me” evoke images of a Pan-African identity. Blitz the Ambassador goes beyond rapping about his home in Ghana. Instead, he appears to have a sense of pride while mentioning different cities and villages across Africa. His song, “All Around the World” provides references about members of the African diaspora who exist outside of Africa. The music video’s opening scene takes place in a capoiera circle in Bahia, Brazil. Other images include scenes from a race riot and a militarized police force. Both of these serve as powerful references to the black experience in the western hemisphere. Similar to Hello Africa, All Around the World also employs the names of people, cities, and events in different countries to highlight the black experience there.
Blitz the Ambassador’s song, “Ghana Black Stars” celebrates Ghana’s soccer team and the pride that it brings to being Ghanaian. The music video opens with scenes from a Ghanaian soccer victory. Both verses are spoken in one of Ghana’s indigenous languages (Twi?). He incorporates videos of children in Ghana playing games and people driving in a market place. Clips of large Ghanaian crowds cheering and celebrating something flash briefly between images of soccer players and children. Although I am not able to understand what is being said, it appears as though Blitz is implying the significance of Ghana’s soccer team and that many people take part in it. The images of children playing soccer, the large cheering crowds, and people in the market place selling soccer balls insinuates how significant this sport is to Ghana, its people, and their sense of nationalistic pride.
M.anifest is an African hip hop artist from Ghana. Upon examining his song Coming to America, I cannot help but to think of the American Dream. M.anifest, an African man, is no different than any other person in America. The idea of wealth and prosperity are globally revered. The song’s title in itself sheds light on the meaning of the song. The concept behind the song is the tradition of Africans “coming to america” and leaving their family behind to seek wealth for the family. The video displays differnt American symbols such as, fireworks, the black power fist, and prayer hands. I believe this is key to show how coming to America, the set standards and beliefs are what he is expected to assimilate to. M.anifest says, ” I’m going, I’m coming, what tomorrow holds, nobody knows”. I believe this line is pertinent in the message that America provides a sense of hope. The video also shows people of all races with signs that say welcome. This sends the message that America is welcomed to all people. M.anifest also repeats, “make sure my kid don’t grow up broke”. Many people seek wealth to establoish an easier life for their family, as money is a source of power and status.
M.anifest’s music holds the Diaspora of hip hop through storytelling. The song tells of a tradition in Africa and the perspective he has on going/coming to America. His perception is one based on the image given to America, one of hope for the future and the ability to achieve the American Dream. Hip hop music generally seeks to bring about change in relation to a certain issue, but I feel otherwise when hearing this song. I believe M.anifest’s music is more so used an avenue for personal expression that provides a sense of relatanbility. Coming to America, is a different kind of hip hop. M.anifest’s music is hopeful rather than the usual rebellious and hard culture surrounded around hip hop.
M.anifest’s video for “Coming to America” is a perfect example of an artist representing not only their country, but the Diaspora as well. The video is shot in different cities in America, and while he is embarking on his day to day journey M.anifest is wearing traditional African clothing, and jewelry which is an example of him staying in touch with his roots while being in a new place. He talks about having to work, so that he can send money home to his family showing that he is not only in America trying to get a better life for himself, but for his people back home which is very important in the Diaspora the concept of doing it for the collective is essential to the community. M.anifest once said that ” hip hop’s more recent associations with Africa overwhelm the deeper historic ones” so he makes it a point to incorporate American styles of hip hop while staying as connected to his culture as possible, and not letting it be overshadowed by catchy beats, and music that has no meaning. There are a few times throughout the video were he stops, and looks up or raises his hands. In those moments it’s like he is taking a minute to reflect, or even remind himself of where he is, and why he is working the way that he is. The lyrics and the video tell the story of an immigrant, but rather than focusing on the harsher realities of the experience M.anifest makes it a celebratory tale that reflects the experience of someone trying to provide a better life for themselves, and their community.