Posted in Diaspora, Ghana, Student Projects

M.anifest

Diaspora is the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.

         When coming to America, and being treated as an outsider it is to want to assimilate to America culture. So many people and artist are willing to sacrifice their culture to ensure they “make it” in the music industry. It takes a very strong artist and a very proud artist to remain true to him/her self through the adversity. M.anifest is one of those rappers! He came to America to get an education and was faced with much adversity, from the way he spoke to the way he dress. M.anifest stayed trued to himself and respected his homeland through his entire career and time at the university. His music stays true to his heritage, while at the same time describes his experiences with American culture yet relates it back to his home culture.

In his song, “Coming to America”, Manifest uses his lyrics to paint a picture of his hometown in a way that makes you feels like you are there. He talks about the way his mother used to cook and smile at him. The customs in his community and the ideals he is used. M.anifest even describes the way he grew up and how happy, human, and free he felt in Ghana.

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Next, his song “Cupid Crooked”, describes the Ghana ideals and perspective on social issues. In order to honor his homeland and his origins, he dresses traditionally in all of his music videos. Secondly, he stays true to culture with his dances and innuendos. No matter what song you are listening to, you can feel and see that he is a Ghana man to the core.

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M.anifest shows the next generation of Ghana rappers to be proud of where they come from. He teaches Americans that there is so much more to Africa than the disparity posted on our screen. Most importantly he teaches everyone that you can remain to true to yourself and still prosper.

 

 

Posted in Africa

Two Different Approaches

Being a female in any career that does not involve cooking or cleaning, is already met with discrimination from sexual harassment to the pay gap. However, being a female trying to make in the hip-hop industry is almost impossible. Hip hop is known to be hard, angry, and sexual and females are expected to soft, gentle, and conservative; therefore mixing the two seems unheard of. What if gender did not define our personalities? What if, as a female, I could be angry, hard, or even sexual? Due to the facts that these what if’s are actually possible, females entering hip-hop is actually plausible.

The first artist I listened to was Hold On by Medusa, an African artist from Tunisia. Her imagery was mildly boring, she didn’t really move her body, her expression was pretty much consistent throughout, and the scenery did not change until the last quarter of the video. However, once the imagery changed at the end, as a viewer who did not speak her native tongue I was able to understand the message she was trying to convey. Yet, to convey this message she did not break or fit into any stereotypes. Medusa was neither hard nor soft in the video, her lyrics were not angry and neither was her stance, also Medusa was not sexual at all. She came, she rapped, and the video ended.

The next video I watched was Stella Mwangi – Biashara. The video was extremely fun, probably to match the beat. Yet she fit into the hip-hop demands to say the least. Stella was very sexual from her moves to way she addressed her body. She was smoking with the big boy and had the male stance on point (the grabbing of the crotch with legs slightly spread, and a mean mug). Also, she had a male rapper in the video, which most people feel validates female rappers. Stella Mwangi manage to break every notion about females in general, while fitting into every notion about hip-hop artist.

The artist contrast in these two videos basically tell future female emcees that you don’t have fit in to make it in hip hop, but you can fit in if you so desire.

 

 

Reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7OcGS6sV8E&index=10&list=PLB0CHpQ4oP8JEP_BPID8TDBGEe24SeV0B

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmzV3AXKp88&index=9&list=PLB0CHpQ4oP8JEP_BPID8TDBGEe24SeV0B

Posted in Diaspora, South Africa, Student Projects

Hip Hop S.A and Hip Hop USA

I chose tear gas because of Pro Kid, and what made Pro Kid catch my eye was his song about Soweto. Soweto was a township in South Africa where children were brutal murder for having their own opinion about their education. In the chapter reading from class, the book discussed the influence Soweto Massacre had on the birth of Hip Hop in South Africa. However, Pro Kid does not have a video for Soweto so I had to settle for Tear Gas. Tear Gas lyrics talk about how money changes those around you. How once these artists started to make money, they also started to lose friends, develop haters, and the authorities started paying them more attention (in a negative way).

I chose Wishing because the Tear Gas video made me think of Wishing. The song is about the artists’ ability in the bedroom and how through these ability and the financial opportunities that come with dating one of these artist, females will wish they had the chance with one of them. However, the video is about a drug bust done by sexy female police officers. Keeping true to hip-hop’s ability to objectify woman and glorify the “hood life”.

Goodfellaz – Tear Gas ft. Pro Kid & HHP and DJ Drama – Wishing ft. Chris Brown, Skeme & Lyquin have several similarities. Both are all male songs with videos implying trouble of some sort. You noticed this trouble from the attached picture where both artists end up in an interrogation room. Another similarity you will notice is the cop is the female with heavy sex appeal, showing “too much” cleavage and has on a short tight skirt. Another noticeable similarity is that both songs do not necessarily match the video at all, the story in the songs are not the story lines that the videos proclaim.

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Posted in Ghana, Student Projects

Ghana Main Stream

In class we discussed Ghana style hip-hop. In Ghana, in order to get radio airplay the music has to be socially conscious. Secondly, hip-hop is used as an education tool to help the youth, which is majority of the population, to become more away their political and social issues. As I searched to put a real life example to the class discussion and reading, I had to first find an artist. In order to find this artist I went to “The Fader” which is a magazine catering to urban culture. The Fader showed me the 15 Ghanaian artist that should I be on the watch for, and I chose R2bees.

R2Bees is a rap group and is an acronym meaning Refuse To be Broke. The song I selected was Makoma, which was not in English. However, from the class discussion we learned that the people of Ghana speak multiple languages, with the most common being French. Therefore, I had to find a lyric translation and that translation brought so much more meaning to the video.

Makoma means love. In the video there is a couple and we get to watch them grow from the beginning stages of falling in love, to being in love, and then to hardships that come with love. The singers are performing at what looks like a wedding reception tent, which adds another element to the video. The artist are there to remind them of their love and their union, as if to remind the couple of what they had before it falls apart. The story is a tragedy, we watch as the woman abruptly falls out of love with the man and as he does everything in his power to keep her. We watch as the woman walks away and the man falls apart. We listen to the artist describe how one day she loved him with a certain trust and obedience, and then the next day she changed, until one day she was just gone.

From the class and the reading I thought that the music would have a political or social conscious outlook. Then the more I read the lyrics and the more I watched the video I realized the music and the images were open to interpretation. The woman could be the elected official who listened to the people and loved the people as the people loved him, until one day things abruptly changed and the elected official turned his back on those who loved him the most. The song and the video definitely had lots of room for interpretation. Yet and still the video was amazing and matched the lyrics with elegance and accuracy, which is hard to come by.

Posted in Nigeria, South Africa, Student Projects

Suburbs vs Slums, Pop vs Hip Hop

The pop video I chose was called, “Jombo” by Kiss Daniel, and the hip-hop video I chose was called, “We Up” by Emtee. Emtee is an artist based in Mataiele, South Africa and Kiss Daniel is from Ogun State, Nigeria.

The first distinct difference I noticed between the two videos was the mood. The mood in the pop video was very happy, positive, and the scenery was clean and healthy. The neighborhood was showing a side of Africa I had not seen before a black suburbs. In the video the people were dancing and enjoying themselves as if life were happy. Where as when watching the hip-hop video I noticed it just seemed like everyone else in the video was not happy except the artist. The people had a more serious vibe as if there was nothing to smile about this is just another day. Most importantly the area the hip-hop video took place did not seem very clean nor healthy.

The lyrics secondly had very different purposes, yet they both were telling a story. The hip-hop video was telling a George Jefferson story, of how they were moving on up. Basically coming from the slums and working hard, the rapper had the intentions to prove something to everyone that had ever doubted him. On the other hand the pop song told a love story. A happy love story about him finding the girl he wanted and trying to convince her parents to give him a chance. Neither story tackles political issues or social issues, yet they are telling individual stories that anyone can relate to.

The most interesting part of the contrast between the two videos, in my opinion, was the American influence. In the pop video, Jombo, there was heavy Nigerian culture influence from the way the people were dressed to the respect he gave her father. However, in the hip hop video the outfit the artist wore and his mannerism were very American hip hop influenced.