HHAP Ep. 74: Fid Q on Hip Hop, Language, & Culture in Tanzania

In this episode of Hip-Hop in Africa Podcast, have a long-awaited interview with Tanzanian artist, Fid Q. The conversation begins with a discussion of Fid Q’s legacy in Tanzanian Hip-Hop and his impact on the genre. We discuss his connection to Tanzanian youth and his impact on his music as he relates to his listeners on a deeper level. The conversation continues to discuss his previous projects that have been influential to his career and how he plans to move forward with similar Hip-Hop projects.

We also discuss the future of Tanzanian Hip-Hop, his collaborations, and his thought process behind collaborating with the various artists he worked with. Fid Q also touches on how he pays homage to legendary MCs in the pioneering Hip-Hop group Kwanza Unit. He explains his perspective on the differences between the older generation of MCs versus the younger generation.

The discussion continues onto the controversy surrounding languages used in the Tanzanian music industry. This moves the interview to speak on globalization and how it has changed Tanzania to speak English and other languages. Fid Q does mention that it is imperative to be proud of tradition as well, regardless of the choice of language used in an artist’s music. While globalization has caused controversy regarding language, we touch on how music is able to travel beyond borders to reach wider audiences, even mentioning how Fid Q’s music has become international. Fid Q mentions how his music is listened to and his struggle with streaming. The interview ends with questions around Tanzanian Hip-Hop artists being invited to perform in the U.S.

Fid Q is on Twitter @FidQ & Instagram @therealfidq

Part of the interview was recorded at Kilimanjaro Studios.

HHAP Ep 73: A Discussion on Race and Identity in South African Hip Hop

In part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Sipho Sithole, he discusses the regional differences in South African hip hop. He talks about the hip hop scenes in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. He also discusses the linguistic differences in South African hip hop and the role ethnic identity plays in the styles and languages artists utilize. He also looks at the evolution of pop music in South Africa, from kwaito, to gqom, to amapiano.

Sipho also discusses the dynamics within Coloured communities in South Africa, and the relationships between Black and Coloured South Africans. He provides history of the origins of Coloured South Africans among the Khoi & San (first nation) communities, and their forming close-knit communities. The hip hop that came out of those communities, largely based in Cape Town, addressed the social ills happening in the Coloured townships. In looking at the divisions between Black and Coloured South Africans, we compare it to the relationships between African Americans and African immigrants in the U.S.

There are not many discussions around Black & Coloured relations in South African hip hop, so it was important to get a perspective on the history of those relationships.

Intro song: “Yesterday” with Zakwe, Zuluboy, & Zola

Dr. Sipho Sithole (@DrSiphoSithole) is a Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (University of Johannesburg) and holds a PhD in Anthropology, a B.Sc in Political Science and International Relations, and an M. Sc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Dr. Sithole’s research revolves around language identity, culture, migration, and integration. Sithole has a long career in hip hop & is the founder and owner of an important and multi-award-winning music production house, Native Rhythms Productions, & Native Rhythms Records.

CFP: Politics of Language in African Hip Hop

The question of language in African literature was debated in the 1960s and 1970s. At the heart of the debate was: who qualifies as being an African writer? and what qualifies as African literature? African authors like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Chinua Achebe weighed in on different sides of the debate. Today a similar debate is occurring in various hip hop communities in Africa.

Please see the call for papers for a special issue of the Journal of African Cultural Studies on Language and Hip Hop in Africa. Abstracts due: November 8.

HHAP Ep 72: A Conversation on South African Popular Music with Sipho Sithole, p. 1

Dr. Sipho Sithole is a Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (University of Johannesburg) and holds a PhD in Anthropology, a B.Sc in Political Science and International Relations, and an M. Sc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Dr. Sithole’s research revolves around language identity, culture, migration, and integration. Sithole has a long career in hip hop & is the founder and owner of an important and multi-award-winning music production house, Native Rhythms Productions, & Native Rhythms Records.

Sithole has is credited for helping mainstream hip-hop in South Africa when he signed Skwatta Kamp in 2003, the first group to achieve platinum sales. He held what he says is the 1st African hip hop summit in 2005 He is also a producer, winning awards for his production work on Thandiswa Mazwai’s debut album, Zabalaza (2004).

In this interview, he talks about his involvement in the growing hip hop scene in South Africa in the early 2000s. It was a time when kwaito’s mainstream popularity was declining, and Sipho Sithole talks about the decision to begin working with hip hop artists. He also talks about the role of the township in producing and shaping the South African hip hop scene, as well as social consciousness.

In part 2 of this interview, we delve into a discussion of race and identity in South African hip hop, and the spaces within hip hop that Black and Coloured South Africans occupy.

HHAP EP 71: Multiple Diaspora Cultural Experiences Influencing the Creativity of Sampa the Great

Born in Zambia, Sampa the Great lived in the United States, Australia, and Botswana. With multiple African and Diaspora experiences, her music and style are very Pan African. Her work is Pan African in a very organic way. It does not claim to be conscious or preach about Pan Africanism, it just is. Because of this, as a listener, there is joy in listening to music that speaks to our multicultural Black identities. In this interview, she talks about existing as a Black person in different cultural spaces and her interactions across the continent and in the Diaspora.

Sampa the Great also talks about her experiences with racism and self-identification while studying in the US in the early 2010s, and later after she moved to Australia. She also talks about the differences between racism in the US and racism in Australia. She delves into the differences in the social unity of Black people in the US and in Australia, where in the US there is a division between Black immigrants and multi-generation-US-born Blacks and in Australia there is an understanding of the importance of Black unity in the face of living in societies that are held up by institutional racism.

As an artist, Sampa the Great released her first mixtape in 2015 while living in Australia. Several singles, EPs, and mixtapes later, she released her debut solo album, The Return, in 2019. The album peaked at No. 12 on the Australian music charts. She went on to win Best Hip Hop Release at the 2019 and 2020 ARIA Music Awards, Australia’s top music award. In 2020, she also won the ARIA award for Best Female Artist and Best Independent Release.

Sampa the Great has been very outspoken about racism in Australia through her music and performances. She has also been outspoken about the role of women in hip hop and the importance of representation as an African artist on an international stage.

Sampa the Great in Instagram and Twitter as @Sampa_The_Great

This episode is the last of the special series that we did in partnership with Words Beats & Life. The series was recorded and live-streamed with students in the Hip Hop in Africa class at Howard University and George Washington University.

HHAP Ep 70: Xidus Pain on the UK rap scene and being a hip hop educator

Xidus Pain is a Zimbabwean artist who grew up in the UK. He’s based in London MC who has been involved and influenced by the UK hip hop scene since he was a young kid. He currently works in schools, universities, communities centers, and prisons as a hip-hop educator. He’s been doing this for over ten years. As an artist, he has worked with musicians from around the world from members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Rap Legend Special Ed. 

Xidus Pain is also a Director at Beat This, a community-based organization that works with young people in London, and a manager with Generation HipHop UK, a global empowerment and development program. He connected with The Hip Hop Africa via Hip Hop Loves, a hip-hop NGO that works with hip-hop artists and activists globally.

In this episode, we have a great conversation with Xidus Pain about the history and growth of hip hop in England. He talks about the development of the various hip hop elements in the UK, as well as the drill and grime music scene. Grime is a genre created by Black artists in England that comes out of UK hip hop culture.

Xidus Pain also talks about the influence of religion on his music and his decision to not use profanity in his lyrics, his lyric writing process, and what influences him. He also talks about the impact of Brexit on the hip hop scene in the UK.

Xidus Pain is on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/xidus_pain/ and Twitter: https://twitter.com/xiduspain

This episode is part of the special series that we did in partnership with Words Beats & Life. The series was recorded and live-streamed with students in the Hip Hop in Africa class at Howard University and George Washington University.

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