Cameroon is the source of many formidable rappers in different ages, genders and backgrounds. Askia is among the ranks. Without much information known on her, she allows her music to speak for itself. Askia was first seen in mainstream rap in 2015. She released a wave of music and quickly generated a large fanbase. Based in the south west region of Cameroon, she is represented by Mutumbu records. Continue reading “Askia, Cameroon’s rising Femcee”
While researching rappers in Cameroon, I came across a blog that mentions Cameroon’s Jovi as a pure rapper with undeniable talent. Of course I wanted to see this for myself. The first song I came across that actually sounded like hip hop was his single “B.A.S.T.A.R.D”. Intrigued by the name, I clicked the video and was treated to a cypher style setup. The video transitions from that to Jovi riding with his group, then to them blowing censored substances and then to him along with featuring artist Reniss on a rooftop. The song itself is in pidgin language, an English- Cameroonian slang mix. Jovi raps along with Cameroon’s urban youth about the conditions they face, calling themselves bastards.
While researching the hip hop scene of Cameroon , it is impossible to come across Stanley Enow and his most awarded song, Hein Père. Stanley, who is a rapper, voice actor, radio and TV presenter, is also a breakthrough artist who became the first Cameroonian to win Best New Act in the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. Enow began writing lyrics and break dancing during his years in high school. Soon he began performing at popular night shows and on private radio stations. He has also hosted the show Mboa and done advertising for the Pan African telecommunications company MTN Group. Continue reading “Hein Père by Stanley Enow”
Tumi Molekane is an African poet and rapper. Tummy Molekane was born Boitumelo Molekane in Tanzania, August 16, 1981, while his South African parents were in exile. In 1992, he moved to Soweto. Originally he was the lead vocalist of the hip hop ensemble Tumi and the Volume but the group was disbanded in 2012. Tumi began a solo career, creating Motif Records. He has performed with South African artists, Blk Sunshine, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Watkin Tudor Jones, Lesego Rampolokeng, Saul Williams, Sarah Jones and Mutabaruka. Tumi is one of many socially conscious artist from South Africa.
His song POWA is a song made to fight against the abuse of woman, released in 2012. The chorus is simply Tumi apologizing on behalf of men for various abusive actions towards the opposite sex. He vows to live for the victims and listen to their cries. He calls for a power clap from whoever is fed up with the sexist ways of the world.
The song is a remix of Kanye West’s Power and sounds identical in the beat and the chorus “No one man should have all that power”. As a whole, I feel it’s a very powerful song and a much needed call of attention to the mistreatment of women.
M.I Abaga was born Jude Abaga, October 4, 1981 in Jos, Plateau State. It was his mother who bought him basic music notations and a 7-key piano that sparked his interest in music. He would often listen to Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, Sarah Maclachlan, Pable Neruda, Jay-Z and DMX during his youth. In as early as 1998, he was sampling DMX and Lauryn Hill. At Calvin College he regularly performed at the school’s hiphop shows and concerts. When he returned to Nigeria in 2003, he began his music career. He gained fame with his single “Safe”, which earned plenty of airtime by African radio and MTV vibe. It was during the excitement following the single that he released his first album, “Let’s Talk About It”.
The song monkey is a fun and upbeat song with a music video to match. It has very traditional African beats. At first listen, it sounds like feel good song meant to boost the spirit of the listener. MI Abaga introduces the song as a song for those who have others attempting to bring them down and “squash their party”. MI Abaga glides over the beat with impressive metaphors and delivery. He includes metaphoric lines such as “My foundation is not Mary Kay” and serious rhymes like,”I’ve been disrespected, but I kept calm and stepped on, spat on, neglected but I kept on”. There is a subtle hint in a few of his lyrics that clearly shows he’s spent some time in the states and is familiar with American culture.
Blitz the Ambassador was born Samuel Bazawule in 1982. He was born in Accra, Ghana. As a child he was awarded for his visual art, but soon he developed a love for hiphop from his older brother’s Public Enemy album. He became known in school for historical rhymes. In 2001, he moved to the US to attend Kent State University where he performed at several live shows and even opened for a few well known rappers. In 2004, he recorded his first self-released album, Soul Rebel. He then moved to New York City where he recorded his second album Double Consciousness in 2005.
In his song Dikembe, he talks about his proud African heritage. Speaking in a few lines in an African language and translating simply as “You can’t fuck with us”. He shouts out Moroccan artists, including K’naan, Shad, Nneka, Baloji, and Sarkodie. He uses many metaphors, referencing Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and China Achebe. After researching the word Dikembe, I gathered that it is a popular African name for boys but nothing else. The song specifically refers to the basketball player Dikembe Mutombo and the way he comically wages his finger at the other team when he blocks a shot to the net. The song features a strong turntable sound, a bass clap and a very prominent church organ sound. It is an enjoyable, short piece with an upbeat.
The video takes place in Rabat, Morocco and features a lot of the urban community there. Interacting with many of the locals there.
Xtatic, whose real name is Gloria Mecheo, is a Kenyan hip hop artist from both Nairobi and Kisii. She explains that the two locations are completely different and she had to adjust to speaking a completely different language, style and overall culture. She began rapping at thirteen and growing up in Kenya she enjoyed attending For Words and Pictures, in which she eventually participated. Then she went on to compete in the African rap battle Competition Emcee Africa. Her first video, ‘The Prep Track’ was independently produced and caught the attention of Sony. She was signed at just 20 years old. Yet, after success she disappeared for two years with no explanation.
Let Me Explain is her first single after her hiatus, explaining what’s taken so long for her return. The song has a clear R&B sound. The beat is soft and the tempo is smooth and steady paced. It’s not a song that commands attention, instead it creates a peaceful or relaxed ambiance. Static’s verses speak of her struggle to get to where she is now. Her verses have an overall theme of the road to success or overcoming a rough time. She also talks about struggles as a female artist in a male dominated industry. The chorus, which Iddi sings, is soft with subtle autotune. “I’m trying’ to be the change of my time,” he sings.
The video is a combination of clips of her and her team from other videos and her and Iddi against a smoky backdrop.