Posted in Artist Profiles, South Africa, Student Projects

Black Noise

Hip hop crew Black Noise from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South African is recognized as one of the crews that began Cape Towns ‘conscious’ hip hop scene. The other, the well known Prophets of Da City. Black Noise started out as a group of survivors from the breakdance era in South Africa. The members were all influenced by hip hop music in some way or another and they would often hang out with each other on the weekends. They eventually began doing performances at schools, malls, and carnivals. Most performances consisted only of breakdancing, but if there was equipment available they would do some beatboxing, Mcing, or rapping. The crew continued to grow and evolve from there. They’ve had members leave and join the group as time has gone on, and today the only remaining original member is Emile Jansen.

When it comes to what Black Noise has produced over the years, there are very few areas they haven’t explored. They’ve produced albums, DVDs, poetry anthologies, books, magazine, and have opened a shop in Cape Town called Hip Hop Corner. Looking at their music specifically, they have many different songs that have different messages focusing on the issues of their hometown Cape Town, South Africa. Their song “Questions”, which was from their album entitled Hip Hop Won’t Stop addresses the issues that plague any society and human kind. That could be disease, poverty, death, racism and discrimination, abandoned children, homelessness, etc. They bring up these issues in the song and are questioning why these things happen to people, they even question why God would allow these things to happen. They explain that they are not questioning God, but are merely just curious as there main message is that people should question everything they do. As the song continues on they go more in depth with the issue of race and discrimination. One of their question dealing with this issue is how they can get a nation to understand the problem and move toward fixing it. They asked this question to God and he gave them the answer to use their music to wake people up. There are a few different messages that can be understood from this song overall. Ultimately, Black Noise like many other hip hop groups recognize that there are problems and issues that affect society and most importantly their own people. They also understand that they have a role to play in creating change.

Black Noise intended on becoming famous and entertaining their fans, but in the process they have also had a different kind of impact on their community. Jansen has been instrumental in getting Black Noise involved with the youth of South Africa. Over the years, the group has created workshops for township youth and created a non-profit organization called Heal the Hood. Black Noise has also produced very successful hip hop events such as, Hip-Hop Indaba, Shut Up and Dance, and African Battles Cry. It is very evident the Black Noise has remained involved and a part of their community in some form or fashion for many years.

“Questions”- Black Noise

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