HHAP EPISODE 40: Modenine Shares His Views on Hip-Hop Culture and Industry in Nigeria

The second episode of our month of Nigerian hip hop is a conversation with hip hop legend, Modenine. Modenine’s hip hop career began in the 1990s, and he has produced over 10 albums and mixtapes. Currently based in England, he talks about the early days of hip hop in Nigeria, as well as the experiences that influenced his entry into hip hop culture.

Modenine discusses the history of hip hop in Nigeria and the diversity you find across Nigeria. He also has strong views on the direction that hip hop is going in, as well as the music industry in Nigeria. This includes an interesting discussion on how Nigerian artists are treated compared to U.S. artists, and how some U.S. and Nigerian artists have handled that unequal treatment.

Modenine also retells his experience in Nigeria with WaPi (Words and Pictures), a program through the British Council that promoted hip hop culture through the British Council in several countries.

He also explains grime music! Grime a genre of music related to hip hop, which emerged among African and Caribbean migrants in England. Grime music is very similar to hip hop, and many grime artists are also hip hop lyricists.

You can find the new album, Esoteric Mellow, by Modenine and producer Teck-Zilla on iTunes music, Amazon music, and Bandcamp (https://str8buttah.bandcamp.com/album/esoteric-mellow)

Modenine is on social media at

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/modenineofficialpage
Twitter @modenine
Instagram @modenine_polimaf

Nigeria has the largest Black population in the world, and has the 7th largest population in the world. The country’s music and film industries are two of the largest in the world. In the series of episodes on Nigerian hip hop, we get several different perspectives on hip hop in one of Africa’s powerhouses.

HHAP EPISODE 39: Rap Radio’s Bionic on Hip-Hop in Nigeria

The first episode of our month of Nigerian hip hop focuses on the Lagos-based internet radio station, Rap Radio Africa with Ikenna Mbah aka Bionic. Rap Radio Africa is one of the first hip hop, African internet radio stations. The station is dedicated to playing all hip hop, all the time. Most of the hip hop they play comes from across the continent.

The conversation covers several topics, including the history of Rap Radio Africa and Bionic’s experiences in the Nigerian hip hop scene. Bionic discusses the programming on Rap Radio Africa, and how that came about, especially via connections with U.S. based artists like Chuck D from Public Enemy. Rap Radio Africa has partnerships with other internet-based hip hop programs, which helps diversify their content and gets their content heard on other platforms.

Bionic also discusses the differences between hip hop and the pop music industry in Nigeria. Nigerian pop music (Davido, Wizkid, P Square, etc..) is often labeled hip hop, which can be confusing when you’re trying to hear what’s happening in the Nigerian hip hop community. Bionic addresses those challenges and how those misconceptions are impacting Nigerian hip hop.

Bionic also discusses the future direction of Rap Radio Africa, and some of the things that are being planned. We also discuss some of the fundraising efforts that they are undertaking to help sustain and expand Rap Radio Africa.

You can find Rap Radio Africa on their website: https://www.rapradioafrica.com
They are also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @RapRadioAfrica

*Intro beat by Duke Tachez: https://soundcloud.com/duke-tachez

HHAP Episode 38: Keko on Hip-Hop V. The Politics of Sexuality in Uganda

Keko is a Ugandan MC and filmmaker who became involved in Uganda’s hip hop scene over than 10 years ago. Her career eventually took her to international audiences, in Africa and in Europe, and included a 2012 deal with Sony. In our conversation, Keko discusses some of the challenges she experienced while living in Uganda. Those challenges revolved around her gender, her sexuality, her international recognition, and her 2012 deal with Sony. We discuss the impact of patriarchy and homophobia on her ability to live and to work. Keko is now living in Toronto and is pursuing a career in filmmaking. Keko insists that she is not trying to be an activist, and is definitely not anyone’s “poster child” for gay rights in Uganda. However, Keko’s music, films, and her coming out are her unapologetically living her life. As a Ugandan woman, she is also using her own lens & perspective to contribute her voice as a creative.

Keko is on Twitter at @KEKOTOWN
Her film works can be found on VIMEO at https://vimeo.com/user85283017

HHAP Episode 37: Mohamed Benloulou on hip-hop, politics, & (Black) liberation in Algeria

Mohamed Amine Benloulou is an Algerian hip hop scholar & beat maker based in Algiers. This interview took place in April, in the midst of protests in Algeria calling for the stepping down of the president and his government. Mohamed spoke about the history of hip hop in Algeria, historical connection between Algeria and Black liberation movements in the US, the influence of hip hop in historical and contemporary social movements in Algeria, and the role of racial and ethnic identities in Algerian hip hop.

Mohamed also discusses research on the connection between the Battle of Algiers film and hip hop, as well as cultural diplomacy and hip hop, as well as challenges around hip hop studies in Algeria.

Mohamed’s Soundcloud page: soundcloud.com/mohamedaminebenloulou Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DJAMINE47beatmaker/

The episode features the song “Allo le Système!” by Algerian emcee Raja Meziane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-ajCGiDlrg (w/English subtitles).
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/rajamezianeofficielleTwitter: https://twitter.com/RajaMeziane

HHAP Episode 36: Blitz the Ambassador on His Art, Purpose, & Representation

It’s been 15 years since Blitz the Ambassador released his first record, Soul Rebel. Since then he has gone on to produce 7 additional albums, start his own independent label (Embassy MVMT), produce 2 short films, and produced the feature film The Burial of Kojo, which was released on Netflix on the 31st of March, with Ava DuVernay and ARRAY.

This interview took place after he screened his film at the New African Film Festival this past March in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was great to sit down again with Blitz, 12 years after I first interviewed him for allAfrica.com in May 2007. Then, he was among the first generation of African MCs making their presence known on the underground scene in the US. In that interview we spoke about how Pan African his music was, and how lyrically, he blended elements of African and the Diaspora. His music has evolved into a showcase of African and Diaspora influences, including collaborations with artists from across Africa and the Diaspora.

In this interview we again spoke about the Pan African perspectives and sounds that continue to be present in his music. Blitz attributes much of his outlook to his upbringing, the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah’s ideologies, and his experiences in the Pan African Studies Department at Kent State University.

Blitz the Ambassador also talks about his experiences with the entertainment industry in the U.S., and how he has managed to maintain creative control over his music and film projects. In this sense, Blitz the Ambassador is vigilant about the integrity of his work, acknowledging the importance of representation, and of creating your own narratives.

The two songs featured in the episode, “Hello Africa” and “Internationally Known”, as well as all of Blitz the Ambassador’s music, can be purchased here: https://blitzambassador.bandcamp.com

Blitz on social media 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlitzAmbassador/
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/blitzambassador/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlitzAmbassador

1 2 3 4 5 26