HHAP Episode 47: Lola Monroe, Representing Ethiopia in Mainstream American Hip Hop

Model, video vixen, MC, BET Awards nominee, & reality TV star: Lola Monroe is an Ethiopian artist who has found success in the mainstream music industry in the United States. Going by many names, including Queen Roe, Lola Monroe was born Born in Ethiopia & raised in Washington, DC. She started her career in entertainment as a model & “video vixen”, and later moved to music. In 2011, she was nominated for BET’s Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and she also became the first woman to join Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label. Throughout her career, she’s worked with hip hop artists such as Wiz Khalifa, King Los, Trina, and others. She has also appeared in films & on TV, including the reality show, The Platinum Life on the E! network.

In this interview we spoke about growing up rooted in both Ethiopian and African American communities, and representations of Ethiopians in the entertainment industry in America. She also discuses her decision to go vegan, and choices she has made regarding her health and diet. She also discusses her experiences in the music industry, and the relations between women MCs in the industry.

The episode starts with her single “Blah Blah”, and ends with her song “Grime”. Lola Monroe can be found on all social media & streaming platforms.

Instagram: @Iam_QueenRoe
Soundcloud: Iam_QueenRoe
Twitter: Thee_LoLaMonroe

HHAP Episode 46: Rwandan-Canadian MC, Shad, on the Evolution of Hip Hop

Shad is a Kenyan born, Rwandan hip hop artist, who hails from in London, Ontario, in Canada. With an eclectic sound, that blends musical influences, and a unique lyrical style, Shad made a name for himself in the Canadian hip hop scene, winning a Juno in 2010 for his 3rd album, TSOL. In addition to being an MC, Shad also hosted three seasons of the hip hop documentary series, Hip Hop Evolution, which can be seen on HBO Canada and Netflix. The series delves into the history, and evolution, of hip hop culture in the United States. In this interview we talk about Shad’s experience growing up as a Rwandan-Canadian hip hop head and MC. He talks about his career, beginning with his 1st album When This is Over (2005), to his more recent projects. He talks about the different cultural landscapes in Canada, which ultimately influences Canadian hip hop. Shad also talks about the influence of hip hop artists like Drake and K’naan on the international reach of Canadian hip hop. Both very different artists, but both have influenced the visibility of hip hop in Canada in different ways.

Shad also talks about hosting Hip Hop Evolution, the artists he’s interviewed, and some of the insight into hip hop culture that he gained in working on that project. He also talks about his approach to music, as well as the influences of his background and experiences in his music.

The intro song in the podcast is “FamJam”, the closing songs are “Magic” and “The Fool Part 2 from his most recent album, A Short Story About A War.

Shad is on social media at

HHAP Episode 45: Phlow, Navigating Hip Hop & Representation in Nigeria

In this episode of The Hip Hop African Podcast, we speak with Nigerian hip hop artist, Phlow. We talk about the impact of Afropop on hip hop culture in Nigeria, and the choices artists often make between hip hop and Afropop. Speaking of Afropop, we also discuss the possible opportunities for Nigerian hip hop in the wake of one of Nigeria’s fastest growing exports: pop music.

Phlow also talks about the struggles with longevity for women in the Nigerian hip hop scene, as well as the term “femcee” and the evolution of attitudes towards the term among women artists. In the conversation Phlow discusses the media’s focus on her ascetics, especially the reference to her as a “babe that can rap” by some media outlets. She discusses the pressure within the music industry that would like her to highlight her looks as a way to market her music. Phlow also points out that it is not only within hip hop that she experiences this type of objectification. She discusses being referred to as a “babe”, or a “beauty” in both hip hop circles and in her 9 to 5 job.

Phlow also tells us about her writing process and the inspirations for her material. Phlow discusses being a member of Str8buttah and the plans she has for her music. She is specifically interested in the question of representation, and allowing her music to speak to who she is. She speaks on incorporating different music styles, as well as the possibility of performing in other languages.

Songs

  1. “Hip Hop” (feat. MC Bravado) – Single
  2. “Fall” – Gloria – EP
  3. “5 Pages” – Gloria – EP

Phlow Online

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