Call for Papers for Special Issue of Journal of Pan African Studies: African Hip Hop

Malian hip hop artist Amkoullel

This issue explores the ways in which African hip hop artists have turned to hip hop as a way to give voice to important social and political questions. The music of Africa and the African Diaspora have a long tradition of borrowing from each other. Emerging from the South Bronx in the 1970s, hip hop’s origins are rooted in African storytelling and musical traditions and built on African American social and political resistance. In the 1980s hip hop made its way to Africa, where youth identified with the stories being told by the Black youth of urban America. Building upon hip hop’s roots as a platform for social and political discourse, African hip hop has evolved the genre to fit the contours of contemporary African society. The objective of this issue is to explore the new and complex ways African hip hop artists are using hip hop as a means for social and political commentary.

There exists significant crossover between hip hop and other urban youth music in Africa, such as Kwaito in South Africa, Hiplife in Ghana, Genge in Kenya, and Bongo Flava in Tanzania. However, a focus on hip hop to the exclusion of other genres of African music allows for an enhanced investigation into the ways in which African hip hop artists are building upon the foundations laid by hip hop’s origins. Therefore putting the research in the context of broader linkages with African American hip hop, assists in revealing African hip hop artists own participation in social and political discourses. SUGGESTED TOPICS INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO) THE FOLLOWING:

*African hip hop artists as agents of social change

*The importance of language in hip hop’s social and/or political critique in Africa

*Hip hop and linkages between Africa and the African Diaspora

*Interactions between hip hop and the state in Africa                                            

*Representations of Africa in African hip hop

*Representations of the African Diaspora in African hip hop

*Representations of women and gender in African hip hop

 *African hip hop representations of Black identities

*Hip hop and social resistance in Africa                                                                                        

*Hip hop and confrontations with African social institutions *Articulations of hip hop’s fifth element (knowledge of self) in African hip hop 

Ghanaian hip hop artist Sarkodie performing in Los Angeles

Submissions for this special issue should include an abstract of the proposed paper (approximately 300-500 words), the author’s contact details and institutional/community affiliation, as well as a short biography of the author(s) (200 words). Within the paper, do not include page numbers or the title on each page; place all end notes, footnotes and bibliographic information at the end of the paper. Abstracts (including submission queries) must be sent to guest editor, Msia Kibona Clark ( in MS word format via e-mail by 3 September 2012. Full papers are due by 1 February 2013. Potential authors should first review The Journal of Pan African Studies website ( to get a sense of the aim and scope of the journal. Authors should also follow the guidelines for authors at

CONTACT INFORMATION: For queries/ submissions contact Msia Kibona Clark:

Author: Msia Kibona Clark

Associate Professor in the African Studies Department at Howard University. Professor of the course Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa. Researcher and photographer of hip hop in Africa.

One thought on “Call for Papers for Special Issue of Journal of Pan African Studies: African Hip Hop”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s