Posted in Diaspora, Somalia, Student Projects

Nothing to Lose x K’naan

For the purpose of today’s blog post I analyzed “Nothing to Lose” by K’naan ft. Nas. “Nothing to Lose” is basically of story of how both artist, K’naan and Nas, have overcame the adversaries of there childhood and, therefore, have nothing to lose because they came from nothing. Throughout the song K’naan constantly mentions the roguishness of Somalia. He alludes to the Somalian civil war and what it was like growing up in the streets of Somalia. In “Nothing to Lose” K’naan outlines the life of a childhood soldier. In his first verse he begins talking about how, who I believe is, himself and how he got caught with cocaine. He goes on to state “Hut, hut to the block soldiers, buck, buck to the cop vultures, nope, no I don’t know pilots, nigga I know pirates, violence the islands, shout out to my idrens, put your hands up like it’s a mother fuckin’ siren.” These few lines almost completely summarize how K’naan views Somalia. He sites a chant commonly said amongst soldiers, “hut, hut,” portraying the war taking place on his block. He alludes to the police flocking to retrieve the numerous dead bodies and the retaliation the people showed to them. He acknowledges the poverty of Somalia, stating “no I don’t know pilots,” highlighting that the country is too poor for aircrafts. Yet, he knows pirates, which is formally defined as a person who attacks and robs ships at sea. And finally, K’naan calls the children to action, portraying the village aspect of their community and how the youth are the pillars of change, but unfortunately also showing how the vicious cycle continues. The chorus of “nothing to Lose” asserts that K’naan has nothing to left. What he is saying is, Somalia gave him nothing. K’naan represented how his country took so much from him, but in the end offered nothing in return.

Posted in Diaspora, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Student Projects

Nadia Rose and Gigi Lamayne

For today’s blog post I analyzed “DFWT” by Nadia Rose and Gigi Lamayne’s freestyle. Both artist had, what I believe, non conventional videos. In both videos, neither of the women were super dolled up. In fact, throughout the entirety of her video, Gigi Lamayne was, basically, in lounge wear. Rose was not much different. Throughout her video she wore typical, everyday outfits. I believe the artists’ wardrobe choice can be attributed to what they believe is most important in their videos, the lyrics and message. Neither artist wanted to be distracting through their choice of clothing. With that being said, you would think the videos contained substantive messages, yet “DFWT” and Gigi Lamayne’s freestyle were not in anyway associated with political or societal issues in their country. But, I do believe they still felt their messages were substantial. In Theresa Renee White’s Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott and Nicki Minaj: Fashionistin’ Black Female Sexuality in Hip-Hop Culture—Girl Power or Overpowered?, she analyzed ideas on women controlling their sexuality. In her conclusion she stated the views of Michel Foucault, “Making sense of our sexuality, Foucault holds, is perceived in the modern age to be a method for discovering the truth about who we are. The truth that we seek about ourselves is a truth we associate with the power of self-control.” I believe both of these artist hold a truth about themselves. “DWFT” by Nadia Rose was filled with self-exemplifying statements. She continuously posted about herself, her status, and her achievements. Similarly, Gigi’s video was a basically glorified rebellion. It began with her mother scolding her and the remainders of the video was her making a mockery of her mother. Both of these women are examples of women who do not let their sexuality define them. They are the Missy Elliot’s and Nicki Minaj’s.

Posted in Diaspora, South Africa, Student Projects

South Africa vs. the U.s.

For today’s post I analyzed “Roll Up” by Emtee and “Kid Cudi” by Blac Youngsta. Because South African hip hop  is mainly focused on politics and activism, Emtee’s video was unexpected. He performed completely outside the norm. His video began with him smoking a blunt then arguing with what I am assuming is his girlfriend. The remainder of the video  consisted of idle lyrics with no substance. Emtee’s message was very artificial. All he spoke about were materialistic things, like weed and money. As a fan of “conscious music,” I was a tad disappointed. Now, Emtee’s song wasn’t bad, but I was expecting a invigorating message on activism, not a song about money and drugs. Emtee’s video was much like a U.S. artist. Many U.S artist focus on artificial things like fame, cars, money, jewelry, etc. This similarity is shown in Blac Youngsta’s “Kid Cudi.” Blac Youngsta’s song is centered around having sex. His video began with him discussing with his friend how they engage in sexual intercourse with a woman. He goes on to bashing what he calls “f****k n****as,” at bragging about his money and cars. Black Youngster and Emtee both had videos that didn’t necessarily contain a pertinent message. Both were focused on “stunting” on others and glorifying themselves. Neither one of them focused on youth influence, politics, or activism. The only difference between the two is that Black Youngsta’s video was much more graphic. It seemed like almost every  other word was a curse word. But, the vulgarity of it makes this an underground track. “Kid Cudi” probably would never get played on the radio. I feel the same for Emtee’s “roll Up.” Because his message is not the normal politics driven message of South African hip hop, Emtee’s song probably isn’t played on the radio.

Posted in Senegal, Student Projects

“Ma Revolution”

For the purposes of today’s post I analyzed “Ma Revolution” by Senegalese artist Didier Awadi. Award’s video was not outside the norms for Senegalese artist. His video was “woke” and called for a change. The first thing I noticed about Awadi was his laid-back and conversational style. He seems like an artist that you could walk up to on the street and casually have a conversation with. Awadi was not flashy or flamboyant. He did not have million dollar jewelry, cars, or clothes. In fact, his video seems to be filmed in common areas of the city. I believe Awadi is using his environment to help convey his message. The song “Ma Revolution” is essentially a tribute to all that has inspired Didier Awadi’s revolution. Although the song is not in English, many factors led to my conclusion. First, Awadi’s video begins flashing pictures of prominent heroes in the black community such as Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Samora, etc. After each image is displayed Awadi repeats the words “Ma Revolution,” signaling these individuals were influential in his revolution, his change. Then, throughout the course of the video it seems as though Awadi is describing things in his environment that have also fueled his passion for change. One thing that really stood out was Awadi’s effort to highlight the work of some graffiti artist in Senegal. Because graffiti is used as a form of expressing defiance and rebellion, I believe is trying to show that the people are fed up. The need for change has peaked and the people are demanding results. Awadi’s video shows that the ancestors of the black community have paved the way for us to demand change and revolution when it is necessary, and apparently Didier Awadi believes the time is now (or whenever he made the video).

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Posted in South Africa, Student Projects

Hip Hop and Pop Culture

The videos I analyzed are “Sim Dope” by South African hip hop artist AKA and “Heart” by South African pop artist Toya Delazy. I’d first like to note their similarity to American artists. In AKA’s video “Sim Dope,” at first glance you would probably think he is an American artist, being that his style is very flamboyant and flashy. But, his lyrics tell us something else. AKA isn’t the average American hip hop artist, rapping idly about drugs, women, and violence. His music tells a story, his story. It also intrigued me how he incorporated the American “turn up” style of music into his story telling. Most American artist who tell stories through there music generally have more subtle beats. In my opinion, they work best. AKA’s style distracted me from his message. The next artist I examined was Toya Delazy. Delazy’s video “Heart” had aesthetic vibes that reminded me of artist like Elle Varner and SZA. I’ve never listened to African pop music, and I’m not really much of a pop fan, so I was not really sure what to expect. One thing I noticed about both artist is there short verses. American music typically has two to three long verses but it seemed as though both AKA and Toya Delazy’s songs contained many very small verses. Their styles are also completely different. AKA’s song was laced with metaphors similes whereas Delazy was pretty straight to the point. I can honestly say neither artist is what I expected. For some reason when I picture African hip hop and pop it is in no way similar to American music. I expect strong, mesmerizing beats, thick accents, and music laced with meaning and emotion. Both artist sounded like someone I would hear on the radio here. Their styles were both very commercial and unexpected.