Posted in Female Emcees, Hip Hop African Article, South Africa, Student Projects

Miss Pru’s “Ameni” and Gigi LaMayne’s “Isgubhu”: Truly Modern Hip Hop and Pop

“Ameni” Music Video

When I first clicked on the YouTube link to listen to Miss Pru DJ’s “Ameni” music video; featuring so many artists like Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, Fifi Cooper, A-Reece & B3nchMarQ; I was pleasantly surprised to hear African drums and percussion implemented into the electronic melodies and beats of the song. The mere fact that this hit’s DJ is an African woman artist, Miss Pru, made me even more excited to listen to it – as I am a huge fan of woman MCs and DJs.

I truly appreciated the diversity of rapping styles of all artists in the song, and the mix of this intricacy with the familiar “trap-style” or modern rap-style elements (trap-style beats, electronic beats, voice modulation of rappers) of the U.S., absolutely made the song one to remember. The various visuals in the video, itself, makes the song (even more) distinctly African – with displays, actions, items, and dress that reference South African cultural practices – despite even the Zulu language primarily used throughout the length of the seven-minute piece. So, if hip hop should have its origin in the MC’s community, then all the rap artists featured in the song, “Ameni”, definitely adhere to this requirement of authenticity.

“Isgubhu” Music Video

Though Gigi Lamayne is rapping in this song, I would not consider the song as such. In music video “Isgubhu”, Lamayne primarily speaks English – something that is not bad (in the slightest) but is something more commonly representative of popular culture – unless a piece of music is coming from an English-speaking country. Though English is popular worldwide, it is not an African language. Therefore, Gigi Lamayne is not rapping for her community, but is trying to reach a more global audience by rapping this way.

Aside from this, the song itself is about shaking booties – giving the song a playful and fun vibe. As hip hop usually attempts to have the best rhymes, original sounds, and some sort of intellectual meaning behind it; “Isgubhu” stands out and strays away from those principles – making it less of a hip hop song. Pop music, however, shares elements from other artists, simplifies those musical elements, uses simple (English) lyrics, and strives to be popular above all else.

The beat in Gigi Lamayne’s “Isgubhu” reminds me of YG’s “My N*gga”, in the sense that they are basically share the same beat (but Lamayne’s song is sped up [probably for the proper booty-shaking tempo]); the songs even share the same exact key (E-flat minor scale). Since YG’s song was so popular, with over 225 million views on the song’s YouTube music video, Lamayne’s song sounds familiar, making it more likely to be enjoyed by listeners. The song is the same, but simultaneously different – like nearly every modern pop music. The way Lamayne talks about booties , along with her intonation, in this song also reminds me of Nicki Minaj and a number of her songs – yet another all-too-familiar aspect of “Isgubhu”.

In conclusion, we can better understand the line between today’s (or modern) hip hop and pop music. Because hip hop is so popular, worldwide – regardless of where you go, it is often difficult to distinguish what is merely pop and what is true hip hop music. Through this analytical review, I have identified that true modern hip hop attempts to be original and intellectually driven, while pop music strives to be popular above all else.

 

Author:

Gabrielle Oliver is a Junior English Major, Japanese Minor from Silver Spring, Maryland. Instagram: @rabbi_gabbeye

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