A Fulfilling Festival

This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Trinity College’s International Hip Hop Festival. I visited the festival with a couple of classmates and my teacher, and it was an experience that I’ll never forget. Continue reading “A Fulfilling Festival”

A Global State of Mind

Raiza Biza is a rapper from Kigali, Rwanda. He moved to Gisborne, New Zealand from Africa as a teenager, and Hamilton soon became his home. As a child, Raiza Biza’s family had to relocate several times. He was conceived in Rwanda, but his mother gave birth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He lived there for two years, and then his family moved to Zambia. After some time, they moved to South Africa. The family’s final move was to New Zealand, when Raiza Biza was 13 years old.

Continue reading “A Global State of Mind”

A Return to Tradition

Witnesz Kibonge Mwepec is a female rap artist from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Witnesz is considered the biggest female MC in East Africa, and this is a title that she worked hard to achieve. She is regarded as an artist with ingenuity, complexity, and an amazing sense of humor. In her videos, Witnesz typically adorns traditional East African clothing, and she raps/sings in Swahili.

Prior to translating the lyrics, I just watched the video and listened to the lyrics. I wanted to see if I could get an idea of what the song was about, solely based on the images shown in the video. I paid attention to the setting of the video, the colors used, the clothing they wore, and the overall vibe of the song. After watching the video three times, I had the idea that the song was about a return to tradition. I thought this included honoring elders, ancestors, and Tanzanian customs. In the video, Witnesz and the dancers are having a celebration, or a chama. Men play the drums, the group does traditional dances, food is being prepared, there are dance circles, and a boy comes to meet a girl. The colors in the video were vibrant, and highlighted the colors of their skin. In addition to this, all of the clothing was traditional. This made me think that the theme of this video was a return to Tanzanian traditions and customs. Continue reading “A Return to Tradition”

A Lyrical Lecturer: Nash MC

Hailing from Dar es Salaam, Nash MC is a very thoughtful artist, who is concerned with inciting change with his music, and teaching the youth. Nash Mc is a self-proclaimed “Maalim”, or a teacher. In the song “Naandika”, Nash MC educates listeners and helps create a sense of self-awareness. In the very first line of the first verse, Nash MC raps, “Naandika kuhusu utukufu wa Mungu wangu, anayeniongoka kwenye haya maisha yangu / I am writing about the glory of my God, who leads me in this life”. The rapper makes his faith in God clear, and tells listeners that God leads him. I’m sure many listeners can relate to this, but this line has the potential to expand people’s perspectives. Nash MC describes his relationship with God in such an eloquent way, which can comfort and welcome listeners. This is an effective way to begin his verse, but the topic of the song quickly shifts. Continue reading “A Lyrical Lecturer: Nash MC”

We’ll Never Die – How Music Transcends Global Boundaries


In many Tanzanian countries, MC’s typically rap in Swahili. Recently, there have been several artists that feel more comfortable rapping and expressing themselves in English. In Dar es Salaam, Simalike Musika is one of the MC’s who prefers to rap in English. Continue reading “We’ll Never Die – How Music Transcends Global Boundaries”