Posted in Africa

HomewSarkodie- Adonai fr. Castro

One can really enjoy this song, because of the way it has a good mixture of singing and rapping. Throughout the video, they are screaming hallelujah throughout the entire video. They are rapping and singing in some west African language. I am from Sierra Leone a country in west Africa, so I could pick up on some of the phrases throughout the song. The main message of the song was that they wanted to ultimately praise God for everything he had done for them. The rapper Castro is even dressed up as if he is a priest throughout certain scenes of the music video. Both artist are completely satisfied with the gifts that God has blessed them with. The music video actually takes place inside of a church. They show that their faith is to Christianity and the Lord. One of the key words throughout the song is Hallelujah. This is done to give all the praise to God, and truly glorify his name. I liked how they did not use the rap versus for a negative connotation, and they actually made it positive rap. This song was created by a Ghanaian artist. There were several prosperous messages passed out throughout this song. The artist is trying to say when you give everything to God, he will take care of everything else. Also, that one should not worry if they truly believe in God. This is something that we talk about even in my church, so I enjoyed the video. I will definitely add this song to my personal playlist, as motivation to help me get through the daily battles I face throughout life.

Posted in BBoys, graffiti, Hip Hop African Videos, Tanzania, Uganda

When the East is in the House…

Always wanted to hear the classic Blahzay Blahzay song “Danger” in a hip-hop track from East Africa. This is a video of images and footage of East African hip hop artists (Tanzania, Uganda, & Kenya) with “Danger” playing in the background.

Posted in Africa, Ivory Coast

Kalakuta Music Group (Ivory Coast)

The song “Constitution” by Kalakuta Music Group

After proving that they are still heavyweights of hiphop scene in Abidjan, with his debut single”LA PATRIE OU LA MORT”; the intellectual, conscious and political hiphop group is back once again with another track: CONSTITUTION. The second single of his fourthcoming album KALAKUTA REPUBLIK. It was released on 30th October 2016, the same day of election for the approval of new constitution in the Ivory Coast.

Produced by Isidro Fortunato from Angola and mastered by 4th Disciple,the legendary producer of Wu Tang Clan.

Available for free download on Soundcloud.com.

K.M.G. ( Kalakuta Music Group ) is an Independent record label based in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) focusing on HIP HOP, REGGAE & AFRO BEAT

The crew is composed of Ezzdean Duane-Fimo Capone-JelyZion- Manijahdjo-Oremi-O.B.B (original black boy), and Samory le baptist.
A political hiphop group from Africa, founded in November 2014. Veterans and new talented artists and producers with different and diverse African roots (Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Guinea). Strong believers for change through freedom and justice. Their main purpose is to raise awareness on political issues and build confidence in african youths.Inspired by freedom fighters such as Fela Kuti-Kwame Nkrumah-Thomas Sankara and Patrice Lumumba. The message is a clarion call, a weapon against social issues and things going wrong all over Africa.

 

 

Posted in Ghana, Senegal, Student Projects

Hewale and Revolution

Ghanaian artist: C-Real

Senegalese artist: Didier Awadi

Instantly I could detect differences between these two artist. C-Real has the ” harder ” sound though he is trying to spread a positive message just like Awadi. C-Real’s song title, “Hewale”, in the link that I have attached translates to strength. “Hewale” is about being strong and staying strong and follows the old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In summary, “Hewale” is about not letting your bad experiences or struggles define or break you, but rather growing from them as a person. This can be taking politically because he’s probably referring to his environment or possibly those power being the forces trying to break him. Although some of the lyrics and even the video do not so much reflect that. Awadi’s song, on the other hand, is clearly for the people and is about making a stand. In the video you can see him traveling through the town and interacting with the civilians like a “man of the people”. Although Awadi does not rap in English, based on the title we know that he is rapping about a revolution, a revolt by the population against authority causing a change in political power usually occurring in a short time. His video doesn’t really express this idea in an extreme way but subtly him showcasing where he is from, the conditions the people are living in and how close they are supports his message. In conclusion, C-Real’s song is a good representative of a lot of Ghanaian hip hop music. It’s political, however, it also focuses on other topics and isn’t as direct. Whereas Awadi, the Senegalese artist, makes music about his people and the progression of his home. The Senegalese music seems to be more religiously-inclined in some ways. Both artists touch on social struggle, but lyrically and in terms of the videos they have two clearly different approaches.

 

 

Posted in Senegal, Student Projects

Realism, Rap , and Senegal!

Gaston’s Bay Jëwriñ music video was very hardcore. I felt like I understood his intent without hearing his message. The video concentrated on the artist’s face and the entourage in the video , which leads me to believe that attention grabber was the message he was delivering.His delivery made me believe that he was passionate  about what he was saying. The video stood out to me because unlike many famous hip hop artist, it gave no attention to materialism, instead the setting was rough to to match his hardcore lyrics.

Image result for gaston senegal rapper

Gaston, from Senegalese, not only speaks french, but actually went to live in France with his mother. I read it was there he was introduced to Hip Hop, before he returned to Senegal. Through research I was also very pleased to find out that since the start of Gaston’s music career he has had a sort of political agenda. In a biography post written on Gaston, he stated he believed, “The world is in a state of moral, spiritual, and social crisis.”  He even dedicated an album that focused on issues present in the Senegalese community. I believe that Gaston’s early exposure to the music world along with the perspective he may have acquired from living in France for a few years enabled him to be the artist he is.  I am reminded of the New Type of Senegalese as Gaston is also seeking to change the mentality of those who listen to his music. Gaston being a mainstream artist comes to no surprise as the Senagal rap culture is to be conscious, as he is.

http://www.afrisson.com/Gaston-12951.html

Posted in Ghana, Senegal, Student Projects

Ghana & Senegal: Letters to the People

There are many types of hip hop songs: some sample old songs, some create their own back track, some tell a story and some send a message. In many African countries, the voice that hip hop artists have due to their popularity has been used to speak to it’s community of listeners (typically the youth) to send positive and political messages. Protest and Combat type hip hop songs have been ways of stressing an issue that is affecting the lives of many. An example of this is the Senegalese group named  Y’en a Marre  who took their talents and urged the large population of young people to vote against corrupt actions that were taking place by the government. Besides these common characteristics, there are also songs with a message to the people that are simply enlightening.

Ghanaian hip hop/ hiplife artist m3nsa has a song that speaks to his audience in a way to reassure them about life’s doubts called No One Knows. The video begins with a young girl in a yellow rain jacket and red boots lip-syncing to the song No One Knows by Asa about the uncertainties in life with a big smile on her face. M3nsa then enters with his positive verses. The big picture that the entire music video as well as his lyrics were trying to convey was that despite the constant fear of the unknown, it’s okay to not know what will happen, just trust in yourself and live each day one step at a time. This song’s message and visual imagery conveys positive energy and reassurance to it’s audience.

m3nsa

There are many hip hop songs that are similar to M3nsa’s that bring comfort to a common fear that many have. On the other hand, there are times when an artist makes a song that comforts an audience who are experience a certain situation. The Senegalese hip hop group Wagëblë has the perfect example for that with their song titled Message of Hope. This song is not in English but there are many elements within it (and obviously the title) that are clear signs of a song with a message. The first thing the audience sees and hears  is a clip from a news report explaining how despite the great poverty in Senegal, there are young musicians who are developing a “unique brand of hip hop, sending a message of hope to the country’s younger generation”. This sets the mood and theme for the video. Wagëblë are those artists and they want to bring that message of hope. Throughout the music video you see them performing live which shows not only their connection with their fans but their influence. There isn’t much imagery or any theatrics in this video like in m3nsa’s but I believe it’s for the simple goal of the audience having their focus on the lyrics. This is also hinted during part of the video that only show their lips mouthing the lyrics.

wageble

Both these songs come from different artists from different countries and yet despite their differences they both have a common goal of getting a message across. The message doesn’t always have to be about politics and it doesn’t always have to be about mundane anxieties but what does matter is that the audience can understand and relate. Hip hop will continue to change, warp, and evolve but one thing that keeps it alive is what makes us human: empathy.

Posted in Ghana, Nigeria, Student Projects

Sarkodie & The Pain Killer

Ghanaian artist Sarkodie bursts onto the scene with a new hit entitled “Pain Killer” featuring Nigerian artist Runtown. Released February 3, 2017, the video for the tune is set in a location filled with trees and mountains which stands as a beautiful backdrop as the two rappers drive down a winding road in a red Jeep, with two very attractive women dancing in the backseat. When watching, one can’t help but to sing along to this catchy melody.

The style of the song has less of a grimy hip-hop beat, but exudes more of a traditional, African beat through the use of drums. The beat is infectious and as a listener, I could not help but vibe to it. In addition, the visuals in the music video were very aesthetically pleasing and matched the tone of the song.

As for the message of the song I received it as such: the girl is Sarkodie and Runtown’s personified version of a pain killer. She makes things easier for them with her beauty and love. Runtown says: “Baebe, Mad for body oo/ Craze for your body oo/Sing for your body oo…” This shows his infatuation for the young lady. His awe is followed up by Sarkodie when he says, “See my baby make i realize/say the groupies and the side chicks all den bi lies/They wear bikini/intentionally to show thighs/Nobody compare to my baby because den bi low price…”With this, Sarkodie is ensuring his love interest that his love is only for her and no one can come between it; not even other, scantilly clad women.

Overall, Sarkodie and Runtown produced a hit that will definitely do well on the hip-hop charts. They created a hip-hop love ballad that differs greatly from the typical, slow-melody love song. The duo offer a fresh feel to the presentation of love in music.

Posted in Ghana, Student Projects

Obrafour

According to Allan Kweku otherwise known as @Sir_Article one of the contributors to the site “ModernGhana”, Obrafour should be considered the undisputed master of Ghanaian Hip Hip so I want to see if that’s true. Obrafour was born in real life as Michael Elliot Kwabena Okyere Darko in 1976 to Kwaku Okyere Darko and Gladys Agyapomaa in Kwahu-Obo. At the age of 8, Obrafour sang with his late mum at church. Obrafour had his secondary school education at Abetifi. After one term at St. Peters where he was being trained for his A Level, he dropped out in 1995 when his mother died. So I’ve decided to listen some of his music and from everything I heard his 2015 hit song, “Nkontompo” stuck out to me as a very conscious track. The beat is very minimal, it consists of a basic snare and other drum rhythms and the video depicts him behind bars then pans to literally church, government, police and  justice to give life to an interesting and slightly satirical video. In the video we see the government handing over money to the government and the government and justice bartering and giving each other money; this video is representative of the current state of Senegal where the resources and funds are being given to those who aren’t challenging what the government is doing. I’m not interested in what or who you are, he’s speaking directly to you, because it’s about greed, and envy, and disregard for the truth, and apostles of evil, struggle and global strife, and as usual, dirty politics. he’s going to get the truth out to his listeners by any means! He goes everywhere. Oh you think you’re anointed so you can’t be touched? Well this section of verse 1 is for you:

“Nokwere ensaa yɛ, nipa na ɛmpɛ ne ka” , which translates as ” truth still abounds, only, man refuses to speak it.

clickme

Posted in Senegal, Student Projects

Senegalese and Ghanaian Hip Hop Artists

Keur Gui Senegal and Kokayi “Nothing to Prove” is an example of the social reform in Senegal, and how Hip Hop artists used their platforms to bring attention to this reform. In the first verse of the song he says ” Straight out the ghetto, our raps are nor for the sons of the upper class instead we spit medicine for those in real need. I think that this verse speaks directly to this theme of social reform, and specifies a group of people that they are hoping to resonate with. In terms of the visuals I think that the video is an example of “Doing it for the culture” which to me means putting on for where your from. Rather than an overly commercialized video with fancy clothes, and cars, and women it is kept simple and features them in all Black can represent strength, and solidarity as well as what looks to be excerpts from a concert, or some type of celebration that bought everyone together. The lack of extreme commercialization speaks to the authenticity of the message and the video combined, as well as the authenticity of hip hop in Senegal which may have been inspired by the progression of social reform their. The delivery was very raw, and the beat was simple so it did not drown out the actual lyrics. The fact that they are rapping in their native language also speaks to the idea of “doing it for the culture” and developing in your craft while staying true to your culture.

Posted in Ghana, Student Projects

Ghana Main Stream

In class we discussed Ghana style hip-hop. In Ghana, in order to get radio airplay the music has to be socially conscious. Secondly, hip-hop is used as an education tool to help the youth, which is majority of the population, to become more away their political and social issues. As I searched to put a real life example to the class discussion and reading, I had to first find an artist. In order to find this artist I went to “The Fader” which is a magazine catering to urban culture. The Fader showed me the 15 Ghanaian artist that should I be on the watch for, and I chose R2bees.

R2Bees is a rap group and is an acronym meaning Refuse To be Broke. The song I selected was Makoma, which was not in English. However, from the class discussion we learned that the people of Ghana speak multiple languages, with the most common being French. Therefore, I had to find a lyric translation and that translation brought so much more meaning to the video.

Makoma means love. In the video there is a couple and we get to watch them grow from the beginning stages of falling in love, to being in love, and then to hardships that come with love. The singers are performing at what looks like a wedding reception tent, which adds another element to the video. The artist are there to remind them of their love and their union, as if to remind the couple of what they had before it falls apart. The story is a tragedy, we watch as the woman abruptly falls out of love with the man and as he does everything in his power to keep her. We watch as the woman walks away and the man falls apart. We listen to the artist describe how one day she loved him with a certain trust and obedience, and then the next day she changed, until one day she was just gone.

From the class and the reading I thought that the music would have a political or social conscious outlook. Then the more I read the lyrics and the more I watched the video I realized the music and the images were open to interpretation. The woman could be the elected official who listened to the people and loved the people as the people loved him, until one day things abruptly changed and the elected official turned his back on those who loved him the most. The song and the video definitely had lots of room for interpretation. Yet and still the video was amazing and matched the lyrics with elegance and accuracy, which is hard to come by.