A Discussion on Hip-Hop in Africa

R. Maxwell Bone in conversation with Matthew Kim and Ibrahim Dahab

Picture from www.hiphopafrica.net

Hip-hop has become a trend across sub-Saharan and North Africa that has allowed minorities and previously marginalized groups to express themselves in a unique way. At its core, hip-hop is a means of expressing identity, and where one comes from. Further, it can serve as a form of social criticism against ill of society as a whole, or against specific oppressive elements. That leads one to the question about what role hip-hip has in sub-Saharan Africa today, how that role has changed over time, and the ways in which hip-hip will continue to shape Africa throughout the future.

To discuss this topic from three diverse perspectives, R. Maxwell Bone sat down with Matthew Kim and Ibrahim Dahab to discuss these aforementioned issues and much more. Matthew Kim is a junior at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, and studies International Affairs and African Studies. He is originally from South Korea and served for two years in the country’s military. He also spent several formative years of his life living in Cape Town, South Africa. Ibrahim is also a junior at the Elliott School and he studies economics and African studies.

At the outset of the conversation, R. Maxwell asked the two of them to describe their overall impressions of hip-hop in sub-Saharan Africa and what it means to each one of them. Matthew begins by speaking briefly about hip-hop in his birth country, South Korea. He mentions that in South Korea, hip-hop is oftentimes used for one to brag about class, and explains how that is far from the case in South Africa. In a similar direction, Ibrahim goes into depth speaking about the origins of hip-hop in both Africa, and in North America. He also touches at the connections between the liberation struggles across sub-Saharan Africa, and the civil rights movement in the United States.

Overall the three of them had a fascinating conversation that touched on topics ranging from the 2014 protests in Burkina Faso, to local elections in South Africa, to Queer identity in Uganda. I hope will take the time to listen and learn from such a unique conversation.

For Links to the Profiles of Artists Mentioned in the Podcast

Keko – who was mentioned in regard to Queer rights in Uganda

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