Posted in Events, South Africa

Hip Hop vs Pantsula Dance Competition in Joburg 

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Publication

The latest dance competition in South Africa takes over Joburg City from the 8th of April 2017!

The inaugural HVP (Hip Hop vs Pantsula) Dance Competition is the platform where the latest sounds like – Babes Wodumo’s “Wololo” will meet Nasty C’s “Hell Naw”, Gqom vs Trap as Hip Hop dancers & Pantsula dancers compete for the prestigious HVP best dance competition.

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Posted in South Africa, Student Projects

Shock Value

Many rappers carve out their own niches in the market by having certain traits in their music that stand out. For instance, some rappers have been known to  add shock value to their music and videos to gain attention from audiences. In South Africa, the rappers Die Antwoord use a lot of sinister imagery in their music video “Ugly Boy” while their lyrics portray a deranged love. In America, the rapper Tyler the Creator uses gory imagery and graphic lyrics in his music video “Yonkers”. These two artist portrayed two different types of crazy, but who is more convincing. 

In “Ugly Boy” by Die Antwoord reminded me of a Joker and Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad 2016) type of crazy. The first visual connection that I could make was between Ninja and joker seeing that both have eccentric tattoos and are often caught with their torsos exposed. Yolandi and took on a Harley Quinn look by using the red and blue eyeshadow some scenes and white foundation in others. Lyrically, the song depicted a relationship between the to rappers who are literally crazy in love with each other. Its show both Yolandi and Ninja having an obsession with each other. In the video I think the most shocking aspect was the us of red paint and fake blood that often covered the body and face of ninja throughout the video. The least shocking part of the video was the dancers that were painted white with streaks of red.   

In “Yonkers” by Tyler the Creator the audience is taken into the mind of an insane artist. An eerie beat rings throughout the music. Shot in black and white, Tyler the Creator spits confusing and frustrated lyrics. With his constant body movement and sporadic nature Tyler the Creator shows a possessed quality that wasn’t executed quite as well in the Die Antwoord video. “Yonkers” also had more shocking content within the video. Lyrically, Tyler used excellent end rhyme to convey graphic images, even stating how he would stab Bruno Mars in his esophagus as an example. Visually, Tyler was seen eating cockroaches, vomiting, becoming possessed, and, most shockingly of all, hanging himself. 



Posted in Female Emcees, South Africa, Student Projects

Inside and Out

The moment I heard Gigi LaMayne’s “Fees Will Fall” another well-known female rapper came to mind. Hailing from the U.S is Angel Haze, who’s image and flow I was reminded of when I watched LaMayne’s video. Both artists give off this masculine-feminine vibe. In Fees Will Fall you can see LaMayne wearing what appears to be a sequined dress, with her hair in a bun and wearing make-up, what is deemed to be a feminine appearance. However, her flow and delivery is hard and she uses “masculine” hand gestures to get her point across. In Angel Haze’s video for “Werkin Girls” you can see similar aspects. Haze is dressed in pants and a crop top, with her hair long and straight and makeup. All of these details giving Haze a feminine feel, however, when she starts to rap the way she delivers her bars and the hand motions make Haze appear hard and more like her male counterparts in the game. Not only that but what she says has a manly appeal, especially when she makes references to her bitches and talks about males turning into bitches, insinuating that these males are exhibiting “female” behavior. Both videos are also in very muted color, LaMayne’s being in complete black and white. This gives both videos a very stoic and cold feel to them. One of the only major differences between the two femcees is the messages behind the videos. In “Fees Will Fall” LaMayne’s purpose is to bring awareness to being who you are and claiming your freedom. It is positive and political, touching on how “they” (the government or possibly white America) put on a front and act as though they understand what black America has been through. In “Werkin Girls” the main message Haze is trying to deliver is that she is all about her money and that she is not one to be played with nor underestimated. Although both artists are spreading different messages in these particular videos, they both exhibit being “inside” and also “outside” the box.

Posted in Africa, Diaspora, Interview, Podcasts, Tanzania

HHAP Episode 8: Hip Hop in the Academy, in Conversation With Seth Markle

Dr. Seth Markle is an Associate Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Seth received his PhD in History from New York University. At Trinity College he teaches the courses Global Hip Hop Cultures and Introduction to Hip Hop. Much of his academic work has centered around Diaspora communities in Tanzania. His new book A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974 is scheduled to be released this year with Michigan State University Press.

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Posted in Diaspora, South Africa, Student Projects

Hip Hop S.A and Hip Hop USA

I chose tear gas because of Pro Kid, and what made Pro Kid catch my eye was his song about Soweto. Soweto was a township in South Africa where children were brutal murder for having their own opinion about their education. In the chapter reading from class, the book discussed the influence Soweto Massacre had on the birth of Hip Hop in South Africa. However, Pro Kid does not have a video for Soweto so I had to settle for Tear Gas. Tear Gas lyrics talk about how money changes those around you. How once these artists started to make money, they also started to lose friends, develop haters, and the authorities started paying them more attention (in a negative way).

I chose Wishing because the Tear Gas video made me think of Wishing. The song is about the artists’ ability in the bedroom and how through these ability and the financial opportunities that come with dating one of these artist, females will wish they had the chance with one of them. However, the video is about a drug bust done by sexy female police officers. Keeping true to hip-hop’s ability to objectify woman and glorify the “hood life”.

Goodfellaz – Tear Gas ft. Pro Kid & HHP and DJ Drama – Wishing ft. Chris Brown, Skeme & Lyquin have several similarities. Both are all male songs with videos implying trouble of some sort. You noticed this trouble from the attached picture where both artists end up in an interrogation room. Another similarity you will notice is the cop is the female with heavy sex appeal, showing “too much” cleavage and has on a short tight skirt. Another noticeable similarity is that both songs do not necessarily match the video at all, the story in the songs are not the story lines that the videos proclaim.

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Posted in Diaspora, South Africa, Student Projects

Black Noise Vs X Clan

My interest with South Africa’s oldest hip hop group, Black Noise, began when I read chapter seven of Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati. Here, the author explained the significance of the “colored” community in South African hip hop and the emergence of an Afrocentric blend of Khoi/San traditional music and hip hop–dubbed “Khoi-pop.” Black Noise was listed as being one of the pioneers of the genre.

My first experience listening to Black Noise was spent analyzing their song “Black is Back.” The title seems to fit with the Afrocentric quality present in the Khoi-pop genre. The beat begins with what almost sounds like a James Brown song (or some other 1970’s hit from Black America). A female vocalist is then accompanied by a fast/upbeat hip hop rhythm. The style reminds me of an early 2000’s fusion of US r&b and hip hop. After she finished singing the chorus one of the lead rappers started the first verse which was full of Afrocentric and Khoicentric references. Some of which included the following: “What it look like? Mad fingers on the deck/It’s all about the culture and the spiritual connects…The Khoisan is back and the change will be next.” In this verse the artist also made references to the transatlantic slave trade and the five elements of hip hop (deejaying, b-boying, graffiti, emceeing, and knowledge): “One love for my people in the hood/…The five elements always make you feel good/The black noise is back make your body want to move/nobody move, nobody gets hurt/For five centuries all my people get whipped/for five centuries.” Much of the rest of the song follows the same trend. Black Noise is an excellent example of Khoi-pop music and the problack identity it holds. In Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati discusses this identity preference as a protest against the “colored” identity and the discrimination coloreds face in South Africa.

To compare Black Noise to a group in the united states I decided to look for a group (rather than an individual) whose popularity began in the 80s/90s, and who also believed in Afrocentricity. X Clan was almost a perfect match. Their hit Heed the Word of the Brother serves as a good example. Although this song takes on a much more militant aesthetic (images of civil rights demonstrations, Harriet Tubman with a gun, and lyrics that are more aggressively Afrocentric) their cultural and political focus is similar to that of Black Noise. Heed the Word of the Brother contains the following lyrics: “Great blackness brought from the genesis/Won’t exist ‘til armageddon is a witness/The originals built the Earth.” And others such as “The key opens knowledge and plays as an antenna/Americana man, Africana brother/ Don’t forget the land cause the birth is from the mother.” X Clan, and other pro black groups during their day were landmarks in Hip hop’s social/political development. Like Black Noise, this development is centered in a Pan African/Pan Black identity.

Posted in Diaspora, South Africa, Student Projects

Composure and Fake Love

Drake is one of America’s top artists at the moment. He’s constantly creating narratives that are relatable to all his listeners, fans, and even his counterparts. While critics says he’s lost touch of his original style that made him even more relatable, he embraces this style with “Fake Love”.

As discussed academically, rap is a product of the environment, perfect to convey a large spectrum of emotions about it. As an expression of numbness, realization and standoffish feelings, Drake uses “Fake Love” to convey how the music business makes him feel. He states that “They smile in your face, whole time they want to take your place”. Perhaps speaking on his own development as an artist, his way of approaching people within his industry which monetizes an art that’s based off of feeling, is by treating folks with a long stick because it isn’t about respect, or perfecting your art, it’s about trying to take what they have and where they are at.

In his video, it begins with a lot of unrelated material, almost laughable situations that sort of depict how the music scene has been saturated with remnants of a highly dramatized life style. Drake argues with Tyra Banks in a restaraunt, behind in a strip club, a guy in a cowboy hat makes demands of his strippers saying that there’s an 80/20 split (20 for the girls), and after all that they go out to dance for Drake. All in all, the music seems to be the very last thing the video cares about, which is sort of a symbol as to how it works in the American Music industry. Purposefully or not, Drake made a statement

As hip hop took the world by storm, it’s very obvious that America has always been the standard for style and brand development. However, South African artists have always been about the music and while the vibe of the artists may be similar, they always manage to show their “woke” side while still being marketable. One such artist is AKA and his disussion of the industry is very similar to Drake’s however he speaks about how he’s living his dreams and not concerned about who’s trying to take his place. He remarks the “N***AS get touched when you the real thing” and that “It’s more than Drake and Meek Mill s**t”. He sees how the industry gets people up in arms and how confict arises easily, just because it’s how it is to desperately fight and do anything to stay on top. It’s become less about being an artist and more about competing to create the most marketable image. The irony is that his sound is very much like Drake’s (sonically and message wise) however, his video doesn’t have much an intro and only has him behind a changing black and white backdrop.

Message wise, AKA was deeper and understood that in order to musically succeed over others, you have to look past their moves for your place create your own. Drake took the approach that you have to stop messing with people, and call them out on their “Fake Love”

Posted in Africa, Student Projects


Today i’ve decided to take a look at some South African hip hop and pop, I was very excited to look into their music scene as a vocalist and just as a music lover. So for the South African pop scene I listened to a song from Afrotraction; a South African R&B and Neo-soul musician and producer. I decided to look at his song, “Ngeke” which has a beautiful meledy, and is sung in Xhosa, one of the native languages of South Africa.

 To compare Afrotraction to an American artist with a similar style,  I decided to look at a song that quickly dominated the charts in 2006, “So Sick” by Ne-yo. On this track, every song Ne-Yo hears reminds him of his lost love; it’s a love song about being tired of love songs. Ne-Yo told Billboard magazine, “A lot of heartbreak went into that song, so that’s why I think a lot of people dug it the way they did – because you can feel it.”  Just like “Ngeke” this song is a an apologetic love song with a slow tempo and a great bass line like most Rb tracks tend to have while the video portrays the singer in a low lite space, reminiscing of what used to be. Something I’ve noticed in the pop industry in South Africa is that there are similarities to what the US pop used to be as if they’re just following behind past trends. Unlike the rich rap culture in many African countries, where there are huge amounts of regional individuality and lack of similarity to the US rap game. The US has made a grave mistake of glorying the “Bling” rappers, who has the best whip, smokes the best weed, has the baddest girl and etc. Where the conscious and lyrical side of rap has become less and less popular. Rap in Africa is Revolutionary while rap in the USA is Commercial, artists in the US avoid issues of racial inequality and the treatment of their people while artist such as Keur Gui are starting movements and making music that strictly addresses these situations.


Posted in Diaspora, Ghana

Hip Hop International – My Journal


Asa & M3NSA and Tupac’s songs, “No one knows” & “Keep ya head up” regard motivational reassurance to persevere through the difficult times that we face in every day life.

M3NSA, remixes an original song by Asa, exemplfiying through his lyrics that the next day isn’t guaranteed. The video content represents the things people do to help them try to discover when their life will come to an end. Like going to fortune tellers, reading news papers, watching news on television. M3NSA emphasizes that there are more important things in life. Instead of worrying about the next day, focus on the things in front of you, and to keep a positive outlook even on the negatives.

This video itself didn’t scream GHANA to me as far as culture. This was more of a modernized video as far as content. In most cases, the video can be related to American culture.



As soon as I heard “No one knows” I was immediately reminded of Tupac’s hit, “Keep ya Head Up.” The wordplay and video content was too similar to not think of this song. Personally this song got me through a lot of struggles, even as a child. Growing up with divorced parents is not as easy as some make it out to be. Some would say that its less nagging from both sides. Although that may be true, financial support becomes a big issue, especially when its from one party with two children. Regardless, this song reminded me every day that even though my mom and dad didn’t always care for each other, I still had a family. My brother mainly kept my head up throughout this tough experience.

From the people in the street bumping to the music from the cars, to the white tank tops and baggy pants, I could feel the culture through this video. Not sure if I am coming from a biased stand point because I could relate to it, but I feel as if this depicted what people in the ghettos go through in every day life. Even though we are constantly oppressed and looked down upon, keeping our heads up is the only option to succeed.maxresdefault