Somalian-born lyricist K’naan can never forget where he came from and he makes it known that he came from the struggle through his music. When he speaks about his country, you can see pride in his face, despite all the havoc and killing that’s going on, he makes it known that he is not ashamed. In his smash song, Wavin Flag, K’naan speaks about the struggles the people in Africa face on the daily and being that K’naan and his family are Somalian refugees, he grew up in Somalia during the civil war. The song starts off with K’naan saying that when he gets older he wants to be free, that’s why he waves his flag back and forth just like any other normal flag. The flag symbolizes freedom and many African nations struggle with their independence and freedom, so by K’naan mentioning that he waves his flag he wants to help liberate his country along with others from poverty and wars. K’naan also talks about how his country, Somalia, was once a rich and successful country before it became the war zone it’s known to be today when he says “Born to a throne, stronger than Rome.” but he respects it for what it has become and still calls it home. Unlike many people who often flee their country because of grief, K’naan is proud that he made it out alive because not many people have many success stories coming from Somalia. When it comes to speaking about the Diaspora through his music, K’naan is quick to educate the unknown about the good, the bad and the ugly and suggest that no one should forget about Somalia because it once was a well known place once upon a time. And although the song has grown to the likes of being used in a Coca Cola commercial, it just goes to show that the song itself has stability to be whatever it wants to be.
When it comes to being one of the hottest female rap artists in the game, you have to go hard or go home. Queens born rap artist, Nicki Minaj, knows that all too well and living in this day an age, sex sells in almost every piece of work. Rather it be in forms of fashion, hair, you name it, sex is everywhere. And let’s not forget that she is a beautiful, young woman with a beautiful body to match her lyrical talent so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when she released an explicit visual video to her hit song “Anaconda” in which she raps about her experience with guys she has been with in the past. While the video is rather provocative with women surrounding Nicki in short panty like undergarments and skin tight clothing with their behinds hanging out, the video also celebrates sexually attractive women.
Some viewers may feel a little off guard because they are uncomfortable speaking out about sex and don’t understand what it’s like to be sexually liberated and free to express oneself in such matter. In one of the scenes of the video, Nicki is in the kitchen cutting bananas and then proceeds to put a whole one in her mouth, symbolizing that she’s comfortable with her sexual openness and that being sexual with the banana means that she possess some type female power. Earlier this week I read some content that mentions Nicki Minaj as someone who markets herself as a “sexual entrepreneur” because sex is embossed in almost all of her work. And given her outgoing personality and the general audience that she appeals too, Nicki Minaj may not come out and say the song is about sex because at the end of the day it’s all about perception and we the viewers may get a total different message than what she intended to give out.
From my own search conducted online, I would like to discuss a hip hop video by Senegalese rapper, Sister Fa titled Milyamba. Sister Fa is casually deemed the queen of rap in Senegal so when I came across her video I was almost immediately drawn to the 90’s vibe of it and also how the video was edited due to the warm graphics. The artist is speaking in her native language so you cannot understand anything until you come across the chorus but due to a small description, she is mostly speaking about the hard life of women in her native land of Senegal then the video shows visuals of women working and carrying baskets on their heads. Sister Fa is a representation of all the strong women in Senegal because she is bringing awareness to what is going on in her surroundings and wants a change. Sister Fa wears a head wrap, khaki pants and shirt and a small pendant chain which is fairly different from other female rappers in other countries. Sister Fa portrays herself as a soldier ready for war and ready to take on any action that may come about for speaking out against problems that women, particularly those that live in villages, face. It is very hard for women to have such courage in those countries. She can get her message across to different outlets without over-sexualizing herself or be half naked in her videos because that isn’t the message she is trying to send to her viewers. Sister Fa’s deliverance is consistent and smooth, sometimes causing her to rap faster in some verses when she is getting passionate about some critical issues that are more meaningful to her. Sister Fa sings the chorus making it known that although women are going through a struggle right now, she wants them to know that everything will be alright.
I’d like to draw your attention to two very talented African artists that have been making major mainstream noise in the music industry and show no signs of slowing down in the future. African rapper Sarkodie and African pop artist WizKid both are musically talented artists but vary differently in the deliverance of their genre of choice. I am going to compare style and lyrics from Sarkodie’s song Adonai ft. Castro to WizKid’s song Ojuelegba. Adonai begins with a nice beat and then soon goes into a steady uptempo tune with Castro speaking and then followed by Sarkodie. Now, this isn’t your average hip-hop song that normally would catch you off guard but Sarkodie is making an ode to God for blessing him with gifts such as his talent amongst other things that he is grateful for. For an artist such as Sarkodie, he raps mostly in his native language which is Twi so you will not understand anything in the song except for the part “Hallelujah”. As noted, he does rap rather fast and he carries all the qualities of being a rapper such as the dark glasses, the choice in clothing and the hand gestures he uses. His style can be considered multifaceted which is always good for rappers trying to tell stories. On the other hand, you have a softer mellow beat when WizKid’s Ojuelegba comes into play. I first heard this song on the radio because the remix had featured Canadian recording Drake. Ojuelegba speaks about Wizkids experience in his native land Nigeria. Unlike Sarkodie, WizKid sings in English use what it sounds like, a little of autotune to enhance his voice. There is one shot in the video that shows him in the studio wearing dark glasses and his chains which definitely separates him from Sarkodie but both artists show gratitude in their songs.