Posted in Diaspora, Ghana, Student Projects

Hip Hop Across the Diaspora

          Even though my generation has been seen as the troubled sibling of the generations that have come before us but we have been able to continue the globalization of hip hop across the diaspora. Global hip-hop youth culture is the most recent manifestation in the story of black america’s cultural production and exportation. The shift of societal norms among other race groups lead to the marketability of black culture currently known as “The Culture” following the success of Metro-Atlanta trappers Migos. White America seems to disapprove of cultures that are not included in which is why Marshall Mathers was the link between America and the black experience. U.S. black american culture continues to be mired in social narratives of blackness that proliferate multi-dimensionally in the international arena that help us battle our countries faults with social marginality. Now there are three artists currently running the game and expanding the diaspora in their own way and they are none of there than, Drizzy Drake, Blitz the Ambassador and Jidenna. 

         Drake’s newest album more life has been acknowledged as the ultimate multicultural playlist, all cultures represented in the album are mapped and celebrated.  On More Life, Drake shifts into a new perspective that disrupts the U.S. dominance of how the black experience is represented in our pop culture. He takes production cues from London producer NaNa Rogues on one of the project’s best tracks  “Passionfruit,” and on the psychedelic “Get it Together” Drake incorporates sounds by South African house producer Black Coffee, to create a mesmerizing effect that would put fans in a trance. All the featured artists on the album tell their own story.  Lets talk about the brooklyn made rapper born in the Ghanian city of Accra, Blitz the ambassador. Blitz often reffers to Accra in his music and usually returns their while working on new projects. Through his albums Afropolitian Dreams, Native sons and Stereotypes he has feautered Nneka and Seun Kuti, two of Nigeria’s outspoken music specialists. Blitz also believes that the music of the diaspora can be understood all through out so he visits areas of the diaspora for his music videos he has gotten shots in New York, Brazil and Ghana. Lastly Jidenna now some of you may be wondering why I decided to give him an entry on this list but I promise you his work though overlooked adds to the globalization of the diaspora. Jidenna has said on many accounts that if we begin to embrace the diaspora things will be different than how they are now and music is the spearhead towards that. He belives that entertainment industry is how we can begin to spread the diaspora it beigins with publishing and stream our artists on the African Continent is how we can began to empower ourselves in the US to give black America more power and oppurtunity while also bettering the quality of life for all in Africa. So the diaspora is still expanding and the arts is the key to the further globalization of the Culture.                                                                  

 
Posted in Diaspora, Female Emcees, Student Projects

Femme Fatale

The state of rap music has changed since its creation in the 1970s. Starting in Bronx, New York rap was always seen as an underground subculture that deviated from the social norms and patterns of the dominant culture. It was here that the expressions of young Black and Hispanic men were freely expressed and not criticized. Rap music is a cultural art form that consists of four elements: deejaying, break dancing, rapping, and graffiti. Having its historical roots in ancient African culture traditions, rap music can also be traced to countries that were part of the African diaspora. And even though rap music was a means of civil disobedience against the “Man”, uniting all those who felt indifferent about the system in which they lived in it is not a fully inclusive culture. I feel as though we still objectify and under value our femcees by constantly undermining their skills and giving them less room for creative freedom.

The success of femcees as we’ve seen with the success of artists such as Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj has relied on the use of their sexuality. Missy expresses her sexuality through her lyrics for example, the first verse to one of her most notable songs Work it :

I’d like to get to know ya so I could show ya                                                                                               Put the pussy on ya like I told ya
Gimme all your numbers so I could phone ya
Your girl actin’ stank then call me over

While Nicki expresses her sexuality through both her lyrics as well as her image as we’ve seen in her song Anaconda where she says:

This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles                                                                                 Dick bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking ’bout Eiffel’s                                                                               Real country-ass nigga, let me play with his rifle                                                                                       Pussy put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil

While most femcees are objectified by their labels in an attempt to boost their sales Nicki has embraced her sexuality and uses a tactic known as self-objectification. Where instead of letting her label be the ones to push her sexuality to the forefront she embraces her sexuality and in an essence objectifies herself. Im not saying that the rap industry should be dominated by femcees but its time that we let them take control of their own sexuality and stop belittling their presence in the game.

 

 

Posted in Africa, Student Projects

S.A VS USA

Today i’ve decided to take a look at some South African hip hop and pop, I was very excited to look into their music scene as a vocalist and just as a music lover. So for the South African pop scene I listened to a song from Afrotraction; a South African R&B and Neo-soul musician and producer. I decided to look at his song, “Ngeke” which has a beautiful meledy, and is sung in Xhosa, one of the native languages of South Africa.

 To compare Afrotraction to an American artist with a similar style,  I decided to look at a song that quickly dominated the charts in 2006, “So Sick” by Ne-yo. On this track, every song Ne-Yo hears reminds him of his lost love; it’s a love song about being tired of love songs. Ne-Yo told Billboard magazine, “A lot of heartbreak went into that song, so that’s why I think a lot of people dug it the way they did – because you can feel it.”  Just like “Ngeke” this song is a an apologetic love song with a slow tempo and a great bass line like most Rb tracks tend to have while the video portrays the singer in a low lite space, reminiscing of what used to be. Something I’ve noticed in the pop industry in South Africa is that there are similarities to what the US pop used to be as if they’re just following behind past trends. Unlike the rich rap culture in many African countries, where there are huge amounts of regional individuality and lack of similarity to the US rap game. The US has made a grave mistake of glorying the “Bling” rappers, who has the best whip, smokes the best weed, has the baddest girl and etc. Where the conscious and lyrical side of rap has become less and less popular. Rap in Africa is Revolutionary while rap in the USA is Commercial, artists in the US avoid issues of racial inequality and the treatment of their people while artist such as Keur Gui are starting movements and making music that strictly addresses these situations.

 

Posted in Ghana, Student Projects

Obrafour

According to Allan Kweku otherwise known as @Sir_Article one of the contributors to the site “ModernGhana”, Obrafour should be considered the undisputed master of Ghanaian Hip Hip so I want to see if that’s true. Obrafour was born in real life as Michael Elliot Kwabena Okyere Darko in 1976 to Kwaku Okyere Darko and Gladys Agyapomaa in Kwahu-Obo. At the age of 8, Obrafour sang with his late mum at church. Obrafour had his secondary school education at Abetifi. After one term at St. Peters where he was being trained for his A Level, he dropped out in 1995 when his mother died. So I’ve decided to listen some of his music and from everything I heard his 2015 hit song, “Nkontompo” stuck out to me as a very conscious track. The beat is very minimal, it consists of a basic snare and other drum rhythms and the video depicts him behind bars then pans to literally church, government, police and  justice to give life to an interesting and slightly satirical video. In the video we see the government handing over money to the government and the government and justice bartering and giving each other money; this video is representative of the current state of Senegal where the resources and funds are being given to those who aren’t challenging what the government is doing. I’m not interested in what or who you are, he’s speaking directly to you, because it’s about greed, and envy, and disregard for the truth, and apostles of evil, struggle and global strife, and as usual, dirty politics. he’s going to get the truth out to his listeners by any means! He goes everywhere. Oh you think you’re anointed so you can’t be touched? Well this section of verse 1 is for you:

“Nokwere ensaa yɛ, nipa na ɛmpɛ ne ka” , which translates as ” truth still abounds, only, man refuses to speak it.

clickme

Posted in South Africa, Student Projects

South African Pop vs. Hip Hop 

​Today i’ve decided to take a look at some South African hip hop and pop, I was very excited to look into their music scene as a vocalist and just as a music lover. So for the South African pop scene I listened to a song from Vusi Nova; Vusi is an Port Elizabeth born artist who got his big break singing in the Port Elizabeth Opera House. I listened to his 2016 single “Thandiwe” which reminded me of a great American R&B song it had vey great bass line, dealing with one of the usual themes of love, and the video is very reminiscent of a early Ne-yo or Usher music video.  The songs title “Thandiwe” means loving one in Xhosa, which is the official language of South Africa. The chorus of the song has a really similar chord progression of the recent US smash hit by Rihanna, “Love on the brain” with all things considered the song became a huge success and even Vusi didn’t have the same level of successful the song was still acknowledge as one of his most beautiful songs released that year. Overall the songs is very enjoyable to listen to, the artist is clearly vocally talented and he has gained another fan in the US.

Now I turn my focus to the current South African rap scene with the Hip Hop track Mayibabo by Kwesta featuring okmalumkolkat, maphorisa, and DJ bucks. This track was released in 2016 and definitely gives you the grimy, trap music vibe you can get from emcees such as Joey Badass or Non Commercialized Kodak Black #NoFlocking. The beat utilizes wind instruments, slight synthesizer and vocal samples which create an amazing beat that doesn’t get old and pumps like some of my favorite songs from the states. Even though the elements of this song are sticking to the average trap style it still brings in elements that were more indigenous to South Africa where as “Thandiwe” showed no original style choices. This is not a comparison of skill level, its more of the most likely to be more successful in their own as well as foreign markets.

 https://youtu.be/IEFQ-4h97LU-  Thandiwe by Vusi Nova

https://youtu.be/QX1ad7x4vz4 – Mayiboba by Kwesta featuring okmalumkolkat, maphorisa, and DJ bucks