South Africa’s Ms. Nthabi 🇿🇦 has just released the mixtape “Broken Silence” on SoundCloud. Ms. Nthabi is an established emcee, and it’s good to hear her back. She has established a reputation as both a lyricist and spoken word artist. It’s not easy finding her previous stuff online, but you can find some of her powerful spoken word performances via Google searches. With a career that has expanded more than a decade, Ms. Nthabi is one of the artists newer generations of emcees often cite as a source of inspiration. Her new mixtape, “Broken Silence” is one of the few projects she’s released in a long time. It’s a 6-track, introspective project that blends her lyricism & spoken word skills. The songs address her experiences in the industry and her personal journey, offering some insight into what may have accounted for her hiatus from rap. Women are an important part of a recent surge of dope lyricism and strong hip hop content coming out of South Africa, content that departs from the country’s commercial hip hop scene. Content that is getting increasing international attention. This environment is positive for hip hop culture in SouthAfrica & may have influenced Ms. Nthabi’s new release. The mixtape can be found on SoundCloud.
This Sunday, the 20th of May, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art will host a book talk for the new book Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers
This interview with Ugandan artist Ruyonga, formerly known as Krukid, is an in-depth discussion on the artist’s perspective on the Black experience, relations between African Americans and Africans in America, his issues with the Black Panther film, being a Christian MC, and his perspective on laws and politics in Uganda.
Ruyonga studied in the U.S. in the early 2000s. He began rapping in Uganda before coming to the States, and he established an underground career in the U.S. and became known for his distinct sound and strong lyrical ability. After almost a decade in the US, Ruyonga returned to Uganda. He changed his name to Ruyonga and built his career as a Christian rapper.
After a long stay Ruyonga has an interesting perspective on being an African immigrant in America, and the tensions between African and African American communities. He talks about those tensions from an African immigrant perspective, and comments on the diverse racial and ethnic dynamics he saw in different parts of the United States. The conversation turns towards pop culture and race and Ruyonga has strong feelings about the Black Panther and the representations of Africans in the film, and Hollywood’s presentation of the Black experience.
Ruyonga also opens up about his views on race, Black pride, and feminism, as well as his views on the ways different groups of people have been pitted against each other. Part of the conversation includes the artist’s views on some of Uganda’s more controversial laws regarding women and sexuality, especially the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Still a strong lyricist, Ruyonga now uses Christianity as the vehicle with which to express his lyricism. His latest release is Voice Of My Father, and follows an impressive body of work that spans over 10 years. Ruyonga is on
BandCamp at https://ruyonga.bandcamp.com
7:30 “African American, American African”
9:30 “Pearl City Anthem”
11:45 “Hand of God”
12:40 Background and move to the US
14:00 The Black Experience
15:15 African & African American relations
23:42 The Black Panther movie & Hollywood
29:33 Black pride, feminism
32:00 The return to Uganda
37:18 Christianity & politics
In a time when hip hop culture has been under heavy criticism for the lack of political content in commercial hip hop, Keur Gui reminds us of what hip hop culture is capable of, in terms of both social commentary and political action. As founding members of the social and political movement Y’en A Marre (Enough is Enough), Keur Gui has provided heavy social commentary in their music for over 20 years. Coming out of Senegal, which is perhaps one of the most political hip hop scenes in the world, Keur Gui has used hip hop culture to engage with their audiences and to confront the state. Y’en A Marre is one of the only social movements deeply rooted in hip hop culture to effect political change. In Senegal, Y’en A Marre was involvement in mass mobilization campaigns, helped register voters, engaged in social protest, and promoted an ideology known as New Type of Senegalese (NTS). The idea behind NTS is that calls for social change go beyond requests for government action, but also rests in responsible citizenship. While the people may call for government-led development, the people also need to take responsibility for their contributions to environmental and social problems.Y’en A Marre is an ongoing movement, which has focused on Senegalese helping Senegalese. One of the projects Keur Gui is currently working on is a fundraiser to build a recording studio in their hometown Kaolack. The fundraiser can be found at http://projects.keurgui.net. Follow Up with Keur Gui Facebook: /KEUR-GUI-53925096450/ Twitter: @KEURGUIOFFICIEL SoundCloud: /keurguicrewofficiel Keur Gui on iTunes: /keur-gui/275586170 In this interview we speak with Thiat, one of the MCs in Keur Gui. Thiat discusses Keur Gui’s involvement in Y’en A Marre, the spread of the movement outside of Senegal, revised perspectives on Pan Africanism, the role of MCs in civil society, and more. Episode Breakdown 6:33: “Nothing to Prove”, f/Kokayi (https://twitter.com/kokayi) 9:50: History of Keur Gui & their involvement in politics 20:49: Hip hop in Senegal 23:46: The rise of Y’en a Marre 27:57: New Type of Senegalese (NTS) 31:10: The spread of activism outside of Senegal 36:28: A new type of Pan Africanism 41:22: Hip Hop in East Africa 43:33: MCs as politicians and MCs as part of civil society 45:13: Upcoming music projects 47:28: Their fundraiser for the Kaolack studio 49:43: “Marginaux” Scholarship on Y’en A Marre and Keur Gui Berktay, Aligul. (2014). Pikine’s Hip Hop Youth Say “Enough is Enough” and Pave the Way for Continuous Social Change. Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati. Fredericks, Rosalind. (2014). “The old man is dead”: hip hop and the arts of citizenship of Senegalese youth. Antipode, 46(1), 130-148. Gueye, Marame. (2013). Urban guerrilla poetry: The movement Y’en a Marre and the socio-political influences of hip hop in Senegal. Journal of Pan African Studies, 8 (3), 22-42. Lo, Sheba. (2014). Building our nation: Hip hop artists as agents of social and political change. Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati. Prause, Lousia. (2013). Mit Rap zur Revolte: Die Bewegung Y’en a marre. Prokla, 43(1), 23-41. Senghor, Fatou Kande. (2015). Wala Bok: Une histoire orale du hip hop au Senegal. Amalion Publishing.
Diaspora based artists like K’Naan, Blitz the Ambassador, M3nsa, Wale, and French Montana, and Tabi Bonney have been covered heavily in this blog. There are several other first and second generation African MCs around the world who have not been covered as much in this blog. As students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course this semester are discussing Diaspora based artists, here are some of the artists those students are looking at. In the coming week students will be putting up posts on these and other African MCs that are based outside of the continent. Continue reading “Diaspora Rappers”
The Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College in Hartford, CT is the 6th to the 8th of April. The festival celebrates all FIVE of the hip hop elements, and brings together artists & hip hop heads from all over the world. See their event info on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/556633418027033
A discussion of hip hop studies at Black universities in the U.S., with a panel of faculty from Howard University (Greg Carr & Msia Clark(, Bowie State University (Tewodross Williams), & Morgan State University (Jared Ball). The event takes place the 20th of March at Howard University.
For more information check out the event on the Department of African Studies’ Facebook page: Hip Hop in the Academy (@HBCUs)