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Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers

ClarkcoverHip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers by Msia Kibona Clark 

Throughout Africa, artists use hip-hop both to describe their lives and to create shared spaces for uncensored social commentary, feminist challenges to patriarchy, and resistance against state institutions, while at the same time engaging with the global hip-hop community. In Hip-Hop in Africa, Msia Kibona Clark examines some of Africa’s biggest hip-hop scenes and shows how hip-hop helps us understand specifically African narratives of social, political, and economic realities.

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HHAP Episode 25: Klein Fortuin on Hip Hop in Mitchells Plain & Rock the Mic

This conversation with Rock the Mic winner, and Cape Town MC Klein Fortuin took place at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in April 2018. Klein Fortuin won the Rock the Mic competition held by Heal the Hood, a Cape Town based hip hop community organization. 

In the conversation Klein Fortuin talks about his career and hip hop in the Mitchells Plain township in Cape Town, South Africa, which is home to a legendary hip hop scene and the birthplace of South African hip hop. Klein Fortuin talks about what makes that township such an epicenter for hip hop culture in South Africa.

Klein Fortuin also talks about his win in Heal the Hood’s Rock the Mic competition and commercial and underground rap scenes in South Africa.

Klein Fortuin is on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/klein-fortuin) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kleinfortuin/)

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 25: Klein Fortuin on Hip Hop in Mitchells Plain & Rock the Mic”

HHAP Special Episode: Hip-Hop in Africa Book Talk

This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. This episode is a conversation between Dr. Msia Kibona Clark, the author of Hip-Hop in Africa, and moderator Dr. James Pope. Dr. Pope is a professor at Winston Salem State University and an organizer with the Africa World Now Project. The conversation took place at the legendary Sankofa Video Book and Cafe in Washington, DC. The event was sponsored by the following organizations Africa World Now Project | Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, & Dignity | Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) | Sankofa Books
 
If you are listing to the podcast on a platform other than the blogsite, you can access some of the images from the evening’s event on our blogsite: hiphopafrican.com.

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HHAP Episode 24: Free Speech, Censorship, and Protest in China and South Africa

This podcast is the panel discussion titled “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest”, that was held at the 13th annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. The discussion addressed issues of censorship and free speech in hip hop, in both China and South Africa. The artists discussed their own careers in hip hop, and hip hop culture in their countries.

The panel featured 

MC Puos, a Chinese artist based in Shanghai. He is a co-founder of Bang, China’s 1st hip hop magazine, and a founding member of the hip hop collective DDM. He also launched a startup education technology company to promote hip hop culture in China, and recently released a documentary on hip hop in China.
Dana Burton (@DetroitShowtyme), an American artist based in Shanghai. After leaving Detroit for China, he became involved in the hip hop scene in China and created Iron Mike, a national rap battle that takes place in China.
Emile YX (@EmileYX), a South African artist based in Cape Town. He is a member of the pioneering hip hop group Black Noise, and is the founder of the hip hop based community organization Heal the Hood.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Msia Kibona Clark (@kibona), from Howard University

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 24: Free Speech, Censorship, and Protest in China and South Africa”

Ms. Nthabi’s “Broken Silence”

South Africa’s Ms. Nthabi 🇿🇦 has just released the mixtape “Broken Silence” on SoundCloud. Ms. Nthabi is an established emcee, and it’s good to hear her back. She has established a reputation as both a lyricist and spoken word artist. It’s not easy finding her previous stuff online, but you can find some of her powerful spoken word performances via Google searches. With a career that has expanded more than a decade, Ms. Nthabi is one of the artists newer generations of emcees often cite as a source of inspiration. Her new mixtape, “Broken Silence” is one of the few projects she’s released in a long time. It’s a 6-track, introspective project that blends her lyricism & spoken word skills. The songs address her experiences in the industry and her personal journey, offering some insight into what may have accounted for her hiatus from rap. Women are an important part of a recent surge of dope lyricism and strong hip hop content coming out of South Africa, content that departs from the country’s commercial hip hop scene. Content that is getting increasing international attention. This environment is positive for hip hop culture in SouthAfrica & may have influenced Ms. Nthabi’s new release. The mixtape can be found on SoundCloud.

Hip-Hop in Africa Book Talk

This Sunday, the 20th of May, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art will host a book talk for the new book Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers

facebook.com/events/594670134237230/

African Hip Hop Through Visual Art

This semester students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course did either podcasts and art pieces. This is some of the artwork submitted from this semester’s students.

 

HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity

This interview with Ugandan artist Ruyonga, formerly known as Krukid, is an in-depth discussion on the artist’s perspective on the Black experience, relations between African Americans and Africans in America, his issues with the Black Panther film, being a Christian MC, and his perspective on laws and politics in Uganda.

Ruyonga studied in the U.S. in the early 2000s. He began rapping in Uganda before coming to the States, and he established an underground career in the U.S. and became known for his distinct sound and strong lyrical ability. After almost a decade in the US, Ruyonga returned to Uganda. He changed his name to Ruyonga and built his career as a Christian rapper.

After a long stay Ruyonga has an interesting perspective on being an African immigrant in America, and the tensions between African and African American communities. He talks about those tensions from an African immigrant perspective, and comments on the diverse racial and ethnic dynamics he saw in different parts of the United States. The conversation turns towards pop culture and race and Ruyonga has strong feelings about the Black Panther and the representations of Africans in the film, and Hollywood’s presentation of the Black experience.

Ruyonga also opens up about his views on race, Black pride, and feminism, as well as his views on the ways different groups of people have been pitted against each other. Part of the conversation includes the artist’s views on some of Uganda’s more controversial laws regarding women and sexuality, especially the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Still a strong lyricist, Ruyonga now uses Christianity as the vehicle with which to express his lyricism. His latest release is Voice Of My Father, and follows an impressive body of work that spans over 10 years. Ruyonga is on

BandCamp at https://ruyonga.bandcamp.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ruyonga/482094271

Twitter: @ruyongamusic

Episode Breakdown
7:30 “African American, American African”
9:30 “Pearl City Anthem”
11:45 “Hand of God”
12:40 Background and move to the US
14:00 The Black Experience
15:15 African & African American relations
23:42 The Black Panther movie & Hollywood
29:33 Black pride, feminism
32:00 The return to Uganda
35:45 Language
37:18 Christianity & politics

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity”

Bucky Raw Shows Us What Trapco is All About in “Pump Tire”

In one of his singles from 2017, Liberian Trapco artist Bucky Raw incorporates both Liberian colloquial and American references in “Pump Tire”. Pump tire is known as a form of punishment in Liberia where one squats up and down repeatedly until they have learned their lesson through the pain experienced. Using a bumping hip hop beat, Bucky Raw tells anyone that is broke or fronting on him to “pump tire”, as he brags about his flow and status in Trapco, using women and the hustle for money as a reference.

His chorus tells those who are broke and “gbele” to “pump tire” as they cant even afford to buy something as small as a pepper. Girls who “take money for free” and show off with the money that is not theirs can also “pump tire”. These are all common terms in Liberian colloquial. He then uses American slang in his hook by repeatedly saying “you hear me”, a phrase used after a statement to ensure the audience is paying attention to what he has to say. Continue reading “Bucky Raw Shows Us What Trapco is All About in “Pump Tire””

13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival: Graffiti Exhibition

Color: the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

From my knowledge and experience, colors captivate not only the eye, but evoke specific emotional and psychological responses in human beings physically. For decades, the urban youth have utilized blends of hues to express sentiments, awareness and inner passions in the form of graffiti. On Saturday, April 7th at in front of Trinity College’s Mather Hall, I visited a beautiful graffiti exhibition which showcased gifted artists from all over the world as part of the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.

The installation included two large cubes which featured graffiti paintings on each of the four visible sides of each cube (eight paintings). Each piece showcased bright color combinations which told a story. For example, Marcelo Ment from Brazil did a piece which showed a woman with colorless parts of her face while her hair was made of a variety of bright and warm color combinations. Another side of the block showcased the turquoise, green and blue mixture of a girl’s French braids, with pink accents. The colors complimented each other and flowed like mystical water.  In addition, Artists Lindaluz Carrillo, Kamil Kucharek, and Poptart from Hartford, and Yuanjie K-Ching Qian from Montreal all composed their pieces within minutes, leaving their mark for all to marvel. Their work represented a culture of conscious art which I personally revere especially at a time in which Graffiti is going extinct due to gentrification. During the exhibition, another viewer mentioned that with less spaces left unoccupied by cameras, there are less opportunities for graffiti artists to tag areas with messages. The conversation led me to further appreciate the art, not only for its authenticity, and cultural impact, but also for its endangered state.

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Graffiti Exhibition at Trinity College

This year’s past Trinity International Hip Hop Festival also featured a live Graffiti Exhibition at the Gates Quad, an area in front of Mather Hall. The two-cube installation was created that Saturday morning with works by Marcelo Ment from Brazil, Hartford natives Lindaluz Carrillo, Poptart, and Kamil Kucharek, Yuanije K-Ching Qian from Montreal, Canada.

The first piece that I really liked was the freestyle graffiti piece by Brazilian artist Marcelo Ment. The intricate graffiti piece features a clever combination of lines and color to create depth and emphasis of the blend of both a bookcase and cityscape setting. The use of both warm and cool colors with blue, yellow, red, green and purple hues creates further contrast. There is movement in the center of the piece with a spiral shape connecting two silhouettes facing opposite of one another surrounded by terms such as “I am one because we are one”, “life”, and “respect”. “Trinity His Hop” is written in bold white letters in the bottom corner to pay homage to the festival. The graffiti piece highlights empowerment, unity and education through its’ bold lettering and style.

Another piece I really liked was the abstract Tetris-like piece which I believe is by Lindaluz Carrillo, an artist and graduate from the University of Hartford. The piece is a 3D abstract Tetris-like shape with landscape details inside the shape. The cool blue tones go the mountains and waves inside the shape contrast with the warm pink surrounding it. The use of black inside the shape also gives it an illusion of a face. I would consider this to be quite an urban piece as abstract shapes that both makes you think and strikes emotion are very common in graffiti art.

The graffiti exhibition was an effective visual art piece for the festival. The main piece “Trinity Hip Hop” in front of the first cube was a great backdrop for some Trinity Festival photos! The bold graffiti letters against a dark background creates contrast and attracts attention to the words on the piece. The graffiti overall surrounds us around urban themes, including empowerment, courage and unity.

 

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Graffiti By Marcelo Ment
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Me at the 2018 Trinity Hip Hop Festival!