HHAP EP. 63: Gigi Lamayne on Representation & Dismantling Respectability Politics

This is the first in a special series of episodes being recorded lives with African Studies students at Howard University and George Washington University. The series is co-hosted with Words Beas & Life, who is also live-streaming the episodes on their Facebook page (facebok.com/wordsbeatslife) on Wednesday nights at 5pm EST. The schedule is on our website at hiphopafrican.com.

A part of the “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. Rapping since high school, she released the powerful track “Fees Will Fall” just months after graduation. Considered one of South Africa’s best lyricists, her music addresses topics like Black pride, gender-based violence, feminism, sexism, and the shadiness within the music industry. We first interviewed Gigi Lamayne in 2017. She has continued to find mainstream success while addressing serious topics in some of her songs. In the conversation, she talks about her career, her views on the resilience and activism of South African women, race in South Africa, the relationships between women in the industry, and the stigmas and views around mental health in Africa.

The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC43HnRR6MNq5DePBVKZZ7LQ

Links
https://www.gigilamayne.co.za/
https://www.facebook.com/Queen.Gigi.LaMayne
https://www.instagram.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.twitter.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRvC54bgRUtn48RbCvuZJZA
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gigi-lamayne/1455356528?ign-gact=3&ls=1
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3405LTbL2jP8J0gVQK3087?autoplay=true

HHAP Ep. 62: Sensai T8 and The HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights Podcast

HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was a radio show first produced on the campus of Rhodes University in South Africa in 1999, and made available on podcasting platforms in 2006. The podcast ran for about three years, releasing more than 20 episodes, some of which can still be heard on Podomatic. HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was the first regularly produced podcast on African hip hop. The show was the only place to get a variety of music from MCs across Africa, featuring early music from artists like Blitz the Ambassador, HHP, K’Naan, M.anifest, Modenine, and Yugen Blakrok. The show was also pioneering in that it played hip hop from all over Africa, from major hip hop scenes like South Africa to lesser-known hip hop scenes like Equatorial Guinea. The show was on podcasting platforms before most hip hop artists in Africa had a solid social media presence, and before podcasting became part of hip hop culture. While today there are streaming services, like Planet Earth Planet Rap (PEPR) Radio, there is still a void in terms of podcasts one can download to hear what’s happening with hip hop across Africa. In this episode I talk to Sensai T8, one of the founders of HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights, about the show’s start and its evolution into a podcast. We discuss some of the artists that appeared on the show’s playlist, and the show’s legacy in documenting African hip hop during that period in time.

Sensai T8 can be found on Instagram at @Sensaitate
The podcast can be found at hiphocalypse.podomatic.com

HHAP Ep. 61: An African Hip Hop Palaver

In this palaver, we have a lively chat with Ghanaian hip hop/hiplife scholar Dr. Nii Kotei Nikoi. We talked about the hiplife and hip hop music industry in Ghana, especially one of the country’s most popular artist’s Sarkodie. Nii discusses the structure of Ghana’s music industry, the way artists construct their images, and the role of class (and language) in Ghana’s popular music scene. We also get into an interesting conversation around collaborations between African and Diaspora artists in Beyonce’s Black is King project and the depictions of Africa in the Black Panther film.

Nii Kotei Nikoi is an assistant professor of Global Media and Digital Studies at The College of Wooster in Ohio. He studies African popular culture, and has a special focus on how popular culture reinforces and challenges existing ideas around race, gender, and sexuality. His work is influenced by his background in graphic design and documentary photography. Currently, his research examines development discourse in Ghanaian popular culture.

Check out his latest article, “Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life.” in the International Journal of Communication  14 (2020): 19.

He also hosts the podcast Our Culture. Season 1 of the podcast includes on several reflections on a range of topics.

EPISODE CONTENTS
1:50 The performance of material success in popular music in Ghana
8:08 The popular use of Ghanaian languages and clothing in the Ghanaian music scene
15:00 An analysis of the class divides and language choices in the beef between Sarkodie and M.anifest
26:20 The participation of women in hiplife
33:17 African scholars doing (hip hop) research at home
48:03 I try to get Nii to take the bait and engage in the discussion on Nigerians “borrowing” music from Ghana
52:52 Beyonce & the collaboration with African artists on the Black is King project
1:03:03 Black Panther & the homogenization of Africa, and the presence of Africa film industry in general

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