Posted in Interview, Podcasts, Tanzania

HHAP Episode 6: Kwanza Unit, Hip Hop, and Pan Africanism in Tanzania

This episode features a conversation with two hip hop pioneers from Tanzania, KBC & Zavara (aka Rhymson) from the group Kwanza Unit. The conversation discusses the early days of hip hop in Tanzania, the influence of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (Tanzania’s 1st President) on the social consciousness in Tanzanian hip hop, language and Kwanza Unit’s decision to begin performing in Swahili, the current state of hip hop in Tanzania, the relationship between artists and the national arts council and their policies around copyright and royalties.

Parts of the conversation are in Swahili. Non-Swahili speakers will be able to follow the conversation and attempts are made to summarize the Swahili portions into English.

Table of Contents

Podcast intro – :40

“Put Ya head Up” – 11:21

“Msafiri” – 14:40

Interview – 18:26

“Run Tings” – 1:37:35

“Check Navyo Flow” – 1:41:32

“So Why” – 1:45:35

Resources

Perullo, Alex. (2005). Hooligans and heroes: Youth identity and hip hop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Africa Today, 5 (4), 74-101.

Perullo, Alex. (2011). Live from Dar es Salaam: Popular Music and Tanzania’s Music Economy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Perullo, Alex. (2012). Imitation and innovation in the music, dress, and camps of Tanzanian youth. In Eric Charry (Ed), Hip Hop Africa: New Music in a Globalizing World (pp. 187-209). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Ntarangwi, Mwenda. (2009). East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization. University of Illinois Press.

Lemelle, Sidney J. “‘Ni wapi Tunakwenda’: Hip Hop Culture and the Children of Arusha”. In Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, (Eds). The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture (pp. 230-54). London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Pres

Casco, J. A. (2012). From Music to Politics: Hip Hop in Africa as a political option for the youth: the case of Tanzania. Youth and the city: expressive cultures, public space appropriation, and alternative political participation (pp. 1-18). Madrid: 8º Congreso Ibérico de Estudios Africanos.

Reuster-Jahn, Uta. (2014). Antivirus: The revolt of bongo flava artists against a media-and-entertainment empire in Tanzania. In Matthias Krings and Uta Reuster-Jahn (Eds), Bongo Media Worlds: Producing and Consuming Popular Culture in Dar es Salaam (43-78). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2012). Hip hop as social commentary in Accra and Dar es Salaam. African Studies Quarterly, 13 (3), 23 – 36. http://asq.africa.ufl.edu/files/Clark-V13Is3.pdf.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2013). The struggle for authenticity and against commercialization in Tanzania. Journal of Pan African Studies, 6 (3), 5-21. http://www.jpanafrican.com/vol6no3.htm.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). The role of new and social media in Tanzanian hip hop production. Les Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 216 (4), 1115-1136.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). Gendered representations among Tanzanian female emcees. In Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster (Eds), Ni Wakati: Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Author:

Assistant Professor in the African Studies Department at Howard University. Professor of the course Hip Hop and Popular Culture in Africa. Researcher and photographer of hip hop in Africa.

3 thoughts on “HHAP Episode 6: Kwanza Unit, Hip Hop, and Pan Africanism in Tanzania

  1. Yo, y’all brothers need to pull out the heat and tell these stories more often..coz that’s what makes this artform survive for decades! Talkin’ about the Motivation and insipiration to the growing-up youths! Don’t stay in the dark that much and lettin’ some wack folks and cats violate what y’all built together to death. You dig that! The interview is mad ill and hot! #21GunSalute #ForeverKwanza #Kwanzanianz #TanzanianHipHop
    Love, Peace,Unity n’ Having Fun! Yo, Peace Out!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for putting this together. I always wondered what kwanza unit is doing. I wish they put up kwanzanians album for distribution on iTunes or other outlets, so I could get a copy. I m big fan. You did a great job on this podcast. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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