Togolese hip hop artist Elom 20ce is a multitalented artist, activist, and Pan Africanist. He brings Pan African ideals to his music and his art, and this episode Elom discusses studying international politics and working with the United Nations, and how his studies and experiences influenced his music. After witnessing the hypocrisy around international development and politics, he felt compelled to speak on it in his music. In his music he talks about the importance of Pan Africanism and the current state of neocolonialism that many African people find themselves living in. He stressed that neocolonialism is not just about what Europeans are doing, but it is also about our lack of unity. In the interview we also discuss hip hop in Francophone Africa, and how it differs from hip hop in Anglophone Africa. Elom explains that a lot has to do with Francophone Africa’s colonial history. The French had a system of direct rule, meaning that they were much more involved in not only economic control, but also influencing and transforming the culture of their colonies. The French maintained control over their colonies, even after independence. Elom believes that as a result, Francophone Africans are still struggling for their independence.
Elom 20ce also talks about his “Arctivism” project, and the importance of activism and hip hop. He talks about being introduced to the works of George Jackson, Frantz Fanon, and Cheikh Anta Diop, and others through hip hop. Through Arctivism, he hosts programs and workshops that facilitate dialogues around freedom of speech, development, and Pan Africanism.
Model, video vixen, MC, BET Awards nominee, & reality TV star: Lola Monroe is an Ethiopian artist who has found success in the mainstream music industry in the United States. Going by many names, including Queen Roe, Lola Monroe was born Born in Ethiopia & raised in Washington, DC. She started her career in entertainment as a model & “video vixen”, and later moved to music. In 2011, she was nominated for BET’s Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and she also became the first woman to join Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label. Throughout her career, she’s worked with hip hop artists such as Wiz Khalifa, King Los, Trina, and others. She has also appeared in films & on TV, including the reality show, The Platinum Life on the E! network.
In this interview we spoke about growing up rooted in both Ethiopian and African American communities, and representations of Ethiopians in the entertainment industry in America. She also discuses her decision to go vegan, and choices she has made regarding her health and diet. She also discusses her experiences in the music industry, and the relations between women MCs in the industry.
The episode starts with her single “Blah Blah”, and ends with her song “Grime”. Lola Monroe can be found on all social media & streaming platforms.
Shad is a Kenyan born, Rwandan hip hop artist, who hails from in London, Ontario, in Canada. With an eclectic sound, that blends musical influences, and a unique lyrical style, Shad made a name for himself in the Canadian hip hop scene, winning a Juno in 2010 for his 3rd album, TSOL. In addition to being an MC, Shad also hosted three seasons of the hip hop documentary series, Hip Hop Evolution, which can be seen on HBO Canada and Netflix. The series delves into the history, and evolution, of hip hop culture in the United States. In this interview we talk about Shad’s experience growing up as a Rwandan-Canadian hip hop head and MC. He talks about his career, beginning with his 1st album When This is Over (2005), to his more recent projects. He talks about the different cultural landscapes in Canada, which ultimately influences Canadian hip hop. Shad also talks about the influence of hip hop artists like Drake and K’naan on the international reach of Canadian hip hop. Both very different artists, but both have influenced the visibility of hip hop in Canada in different ways.
Shad also talks about hosting Hip Hop Evolution, the artists he’s interviewed, and some of the insight into hip hop culture that he gained in working on that project. He also talks about his approach to music, as well as the influences of his background and experiences in his music.
The intro song in the podcast is “FamJam”, the closing songs are “Magic” and “The Fool Part 2 from his most recent album, A Short Story About A War.