MIXTAPE TOWARDS A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS: Exploring Asakaa, Alt Hip Hop, & Trap Politics

This mixtape explores the social and political themes of songs from Ghana’s trap, drill (Asakaa), and alternative hip hop subgenres to find “conscious” hip hop is not its own genre, but rather a thematic standard that can exist in all kinds of rap.

Featured songs in order: Snakes by La Même Gang; Wasteman by Black Sherif; What You Telling Me by Skyface SDW; Zombie by Kwesi Arthur; Oh My Days by Nxwrth; Carry You Go by M3NSA

Trap and drill are styles of rap that are characterized by their more aggressive sounds. According to Complex’s 2018 article on trap, the genre achieves its style via “complex hi-hat patterns, tuned kick drums with a long decay”. The songs of this mixtape representing trap include La Même Gang’s Snakes and Oh My Days by Nxwrth.

Drill is a newer genre that evolved from trap. The Guardian accurately refers to drill as trap’s grittier, more violent, and nihilistic “sonic cousin” (2012). In Ghana, drill is called Asakaa. Born in Kumerica (or the city Kumasi of the Ashanti Region of Ghana), Asakaa is revolutionizing Ghana’s hip hop scene. The songs representing Asakaa in this mixtape include Wasteman by Black Sherif and What You Telling Me by Skyface SDW.

The third genre this mixtape explores is alternative hip hop, a loose genre that any hip hop song that does not fit the ‘mainstream’ sound can fit into. In this case, the songs of this genre include Zombie by Kwesi Arthur, Carry You Go by M3NSA.

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