(NEW YORK – October 2020) – M.O.A’s heartfelt single, “Class in Session” provides hope and motivation in this time of uncertainty. This head nodder, which
Dope Saint Jude is a South African hip hop artist who was born and raised Cape Town. A former Political Science student at the University of Cape Town, she started her hip hop career in 2011 as a drag king. Her drag king persona was Saint Dude, and resembled rapper Lil Wayne. After releasing several singles, Dope Saint Jude’s first EP, Reimagine, was released in 2016, Her second project, Resilient, was released in 2018. It included the song “Grrrl Like”, which opens this episode and has been one of her biggest hits. The song was also featured in the teaser for the Netflix original series Blood & Water https://youtu.be/OV9Ma4F_xyA. Dope Saint Jude has also performed at Afropunk, been featured in Vogue & Marie Claire, and been part of major advertising campaigns.
In this conversation we discuss the social relevance of her music. Well versed in the politics of intersectionality, Dope Saint Jude is very intentional in what she does. In her music she weaves intersecting identities into lyrics that challenge listeners to reconsider their ideas about who they think Black, Coloured, queer South African hip hop women should be.
You can find Dope Saint Jude’s music on streaming platforms. She is also online at dopesaintjude.com, twitter.com/DopeSaintJude, instagram.com/dopesaintjude, and youtube.com/channel/UCdGiyFXiSgtTCXu1AGUeK3A.
For more scholarship on Dope Saint Jude’s work:
Chapters 24 “Queering Hip Hop, queering the city: Dope Saint Jude’s transformative politics” by Adam Haupt and 29 “Building an international profile as an artist” by Dope Saint Jude, Blaq Pearl, Black Athena, Jean-Pierre, Lyrical Deezy with Emile YX? in Haupt, Adam, Williams, Quentin, Alim, Samy H., Jansen, Emile. (2019).
Clark, Msia Kibona. (2018). Feminisms in African hip hop. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 17 (2), 383-400.
Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.
Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in “Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.
Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.
“We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!”
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.
We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.
Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.
To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:
The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape Volume 1 is a project that brings together Tanzanian and Diaspora singers, rappers, and poets. The project features artists that are internationally known, as well as artists just starting their careers.
In this conversation with seven of the artists, we talk about the evolution of the project and how the project reflects hip hop and popular culture in Tanzania. We also discussed the message the project sends to the music industry in Tanzania, which has tended to only promote one style of music.
We talked about the collaboration between English and Swahili performing artists, the lack of East Africa representation in recent projects like Black Panther and the Lion King, and how this project shows East Africa’s engagement in Pan African projects as well.
The seven artists interviewed in this episode are
Mike Tareto/IG: @miketareto
Joe Legendary/IG: @joelegendary
Fete Jen/IG: fete_jen
Ronny aka Ty Charls/IG: @ronnycharlz
Mex Cortez/IG: mex.tz
FG Tony/IG: @fg__tony
The episode begins with “Tougher” by Lo SayAloha Ski and Mex Cortez and “Wale Wale” by Zenji Boy. The episode ends with “No Time For Trash” by Mex Cortez.
The video version of this episode can be found on our YouTube Channel
The mixtape can currently be streamed on the following platform:
The artists on the project are
Lo SayAloha Ski
There are only a few hip-hop studies academic journals. Two have just released issues in time for fall: The Journal of Hip Hop Studies and
An MC, activist, and actor, Octopizzo was born in Nairobi, in the notorious Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in the world. His mixtape and album releases include: The Come Up V 1 (2008; Mixtape), El Classico (2014; Mixtape), Chocolate City (2014; album), LDPC (2015; album), Refugeenius (2016, album), and Next Year (2018; album).
He addresses a lot of social issues, including poverty, ethnic tensions, corruption, and the legalization of marijuana. He is also one of the few MCs to seriously and consistently address the issues around refugees. Kenya is home to a lot of refugees from surrounding conflicts, including people fleeing violence in the Congo, Sudan and Somalia.
On the album Refugeenius he collaborated with 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps in Kenya.
Octopizzo is the founder of the youth group Y.G.B. (Young, Gifted, and Black), which is a collective of MCs, poets, graffiti artists, graphic artists, and dancers. He founded his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation in 2015 and through the Foundation, he tries to use culture and sports to reach the youth.
More recently he has joined other activists addressing police brutality in Kenya, and drawing parallels between police violence in Kenya & the US. Recently he was involved in protests in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, holding up a sign of people killed and injured by the police. Recently, there have ben reports of over a dozen deaths at the hands of the Kenyan police supposedly trying to enforce a dusk to dawn curfew put in place to slow the spread of Corona.
The songs featured in the episode are “Nu Afrika” in the opening and “Another Day” in the closing.
Octopizzo can be found at: http://octopizzo.com/ | @OCTOPIZZO on Twitter & Instagram
The video version of this episode is on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ZOu5ILtZ-Vc