Shadia Mansour is a hip-hop artist who raps in Arabic. Many called her the “first lady of Arabic hip-hop,” which mean she is breaking down barriers for a female in the Middle East. Mansour is from Palestine and majority of the population there is Sunni Islam. She is a political figure in the Middle East. Mansour is a young voice that bridging art and activism. She grew up listening to American rappers like KRS-One. She wanted to relate the injustice and oppression expressed that she heard in American hip-hop to the experiences of the Palestinian people. In her interview with Cultures of X Resistance Network, she stated: “We’ve got police brutality going on right here in Palestine.” Her song that is called Sho Eli Saar explains her feeling for the police in Palestine.
K’Naan was an artist who was born in Somalia. Some may claim that K’Naan was more than a musician but also a poet. In a newspaper article published by the CBC news in Canada, K’Naan was audition people who were poets and artists between the age of 17 to 25 years old. He was selecting people for his HBO series called The Recruiters in Etobicoke. His audition was to allow Somalian youth reach their dream to be an entertainer. K’Naan fans were inspired by his story because he came from Dixon Road community in Toronto. He never let his life circumstances affect his ability to be successful.
Hip hop in Tanzania was always in Swahili, and the beats were usually original and pure. The artists rap about their lifestyle, which was more political or how they were living. Maria Suriano, who wrote “Mimi ni msanii, kioo cha jamii’ urban youth culture in Tanzania as see through Bongo Fleva and hip hop” reported, “in the early 1990s ‘Hip-Hop in Tanzania, was seen as ‘uhuni’, associated with crime and drugs’.” However, when time started to change then the Tanzania hip hop was famous for its referred that was considered tpo be a unique style of expression, which combined an artistic component such as music, dance, poetry, art (graffiti), performance, fashion, attitude, and social discourse ship. A Tanzania hip hop artist that seem to have kept the tradition going Nikki Mbishi, One The Incredible, and Songa, and P The MC. Nikki Mbishi’s music seem have a style that caused his audience to have a political awaken. Also, One the Incredible’s music seem to be a prime example of traditional Tanzania hip hop. Songa’s musical style was more a traditional old school hip hop in America. P the MC’s music influenced similar style to Songa old MC raps that American Hip Hop was found on in the early 1990s. Hip Hop’s music was defined as being a way to express everyday struggles and to allow people to create a culture that defined their history.
According to East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization by Mwenda Ntarangwi, “young hip hop artists in the East African nations of Kenya…showcase the opportunities and challenges brought by the globalization of music.” Young hip hop artists in Kenya are less likely to be recognized on a global scale that other artists in the world because of the mixture of American and Jamaican rap styled with a touch of the artists native African language. Ntarangwi claimed that East African hip hop culture was less commercialized because artists were more likely to honor tradition and their culture, which was less appealing to a larger audience. Ntarangwi further illustrated that East African hip hop was an outlet for social change. Some of the social change that East African hip hop artists were calling for a change in the “economic policies, African identity, and political establishments, as well as important issues of health, education, and poverty.” Ntarangwi explanation about East African hip hop artists that did not publicize because they wanted to uplift their people and make them more conscious of the oppression that was forced on them. The perfect example of a Kenyan hip hop artist was Judge most would associate his style with Megadeth, and Jay-Z, according to Reverbnation.
Judge currently from a rap group called Blackduo. He and the group are Kenyan born artists who tried to empower the urban youth in Kenya to resisted the massive in a peaceful demonstration. Judge was “was born in dandora raised in ziwani were people smoke a lot of weed to release the pressure” according to an interview Judge conducted with Hip Hop Kambi. According to Hip Hop Kambi, Judge created a project named Hip Hop 4 Peace. Judge mention that “HIPHOP4PEACE is a movement for every one not only hiphop artist because hiphop is a culture of peace love and unity and this is exactly what the world needs not only Kenya.” Also, the interview went on exploring Judges take in politics and society. Judge stated, “[‘politicking’ means] Man eat man society because of politic every one is bizzy hyping his tribal leaderz,” which was interpreted as politics influence people’s behavior. Also, the interviewer asked him “What is ‘mental slavery’? Do you have a “philosophy of education,” his replied was “ukoloni mamboleo under paid,” which mean neocolonialism undermining people skills and abilities by underpaying for their services. Judge was a very conscious person because a question was about the youth and the drug problem in Kenya and he stated, “drug is a problem in the whole world not only Kenya but, for example, the problem we do face is because of idling, joblessness, lack of education.” Nevertheless, he was asked about the violence in Kenya, and his responses were “I cant say who is promoting violence, but I can say what is promoting violence e.g., poverty, tribalism, hate spich’.” The one message that he was trying to spread to the youth in Kenya was open up your mind and resisted the oppression in a peaceful manner, which was clearly illustrated in a hip hop song he collaborated.
Judge collaborated with a group named Washamba Wenza from Dandora, Kenya. The collaboration brought about a song called Shupav which means “…we all SOLDIERS of the same struggle and we all gotta go hard…” The song and video wanted to highlight that since they are artists and receiving some money for their talent do not mean that they are not still struggling with the rest of the poor people. They were calling for everyone in Kenya to participate in a peaceful revolution to get their voices heard on being an end to poverty. The message the song was displayed was that people in Kenya need to wake up and demand more from their politicians. Ntarangwi explained that Kenyan artists hip hop songs are for a political campaign to stop injustice and inhumane acts amongst their people.
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In urban Africa, Griots was rapper/poet who told a story about what is going on in their country and how the people to feel about it. Youth in urban Africa took the griots traditions and made it their own by rapping about empowerment of a group of individuals. Life in urban Africa at the time of hip hop’s arrival was swept under the rug because America’s media wanted to paint a negative perspective of African such as the diseases, poverty stricken community, and violence. However, in the 1970s hip hop in America was born based on tradition from many artists African roots. Many American did not know that hip hop was in Africa before it was in the State. Hip Hop in Africa came at a cost to many who spoke out against any wrongdoing.
The evolution of hip hop in South Africa was interesting because most artists spoke about the Apartheid, which fused mostly young people who wanted to speak English in school instead of Afrikan. Another interesting fact about South Africa’s artists was they knew the danger of rapping about the struggle and how they as a community need to unite to the uprising against injustice and racism. Finally, America’s media betrayed South Africa in a negative light Meanwhile many great artist and youth wanted to have freedom which was the reason they decided to fight for their independent for education, work, and equality. The artist who spoke about injustice knew that they could be killed because the government did not want South Africans to unite or speak about the unfair treatment happen there.
However, A latest South African artist out of Cape Town made a new song that speaks to real struggle still there. For example, he stated in his lyric that Africa “isn’t the land of the free.” Many South Africans are not being educated properly because some people can not read. Besides, the country is still divided because of wealth and poverty, which was the reason AKA began his song with material items. The other artist name Khuli Chana stated that people would pretend to be another person friend and kill that person, which mean people can be murder about anything. Then AKA brought up politicians and what they are doing to fixes these problems in South Africa. Even Though the rapping is current to the beat America hear on the radio, the rapping is different because they speak about real issues, not about females, sex, and money. AKA and Khuli Chana are keeping the griot tradition alive by talking about the problem their country is facing and that politicians and the people in the country are being oblivious.
Please watch video to understand what AKA new song trying to say about South Africa in today’s society.
AKA image is from