Msia Kibona Clark, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. Her work has focused on popular culture, migration, and gender studies. Msia has written numerous scholarly publications, including three edited manuscripts and over a half dozen articles and book chapters on both popular culture in Africa and on African migrant experiences. Her published books include Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati (2014), Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers (2018), and Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism (2018).
Her more recent articles and book chapters include “Hip-Hop and Human Rights in Africa”, “Feminisms in African Hip-Hop”, “The Contemporary African Diaspora”, “The Evolution of a Bicultural Identity, in the Shadows of Nyerere’s Pan Africanism”, and the forthcoming “African Women and Hip-Hop in the Diaspora”.
Along with her research interests, Dr. Clark created and teaches the courses “Black Women & Popular Culture” and” Hip Hop & Social Change in Africa” at Howard University. She (along with her students) produces the Hip-Hop African blog and monthly podcast hosted at hiphopafrican.com. The blog and podcast explore a variety of topics related to hip hop in Africa, and includes interviews with artists, activists, and scholars.
Msia was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Dar es Salaam (2013/14), and she currently the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of African Studies at Howard University, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Diaspora Community of Tanzanians in America (DICOTA), and a member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the African Studies Association of Africa. She is also an executive board member and past president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists.
Msia is also a photographer who has exhibited her work online and in print publications, as well as in art and photo exhibitions in Tanzania and the U.S.
The HHAP’s conversation with Jahi from Enemy Radio.
This episode features MC Jahi, who is a member of Enemy Radio with Chuck D, DJ Lord & S1W’s. He is also an MC, a DJ and an educator. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jahi launched his professional career in 1999 as the opening artist for a show that was headlined by Public Enemy at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Soon after, he connected with Chuck D and has since worked with him on several projects. Jahi is also an educator, who has worked in K-12, university, and community classroom settings.
In this interview we spoke about his life leading up to his 1999 performance, and the work he has done since then, including his recent album Forward Future. He recently traveled to Ghana, and is planning to expand his collaborations in Africa. As an artist whose perspective is grounded in hip hop as a Pan African expression, as a platform for Pan African dialogue, we wanted to expand the conversations we typically have on this podcast. There is definitely a desire to highlight and support further connections between African and Diaspora artists.
This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. It is a collaboration between the HHA Podcast and the Global Hip Hop Exchange (GHHE), which is an online network/community of hip hop creatives who are primarily from, or based in, Africa.
In the first discussion, or palaver, several hip hop creatives from around the continent came together to talk about the impacts of the Corona virus on our lives, personally and creatively. The discussion also centered on income security for artists, how artists are finding ways to get through these difficult times, and how folks are feeding their creativity.
The discussion included members of the GHHE, all of whom have been involved in hip hop culture in their respective countries for several years. The roster of this, the first of what will hopefully be several, palaver is:
Dumi Right/@DumiRight | MC & Member of the veteran rap group Zimbabwe Legit | from Zimbabwe, based in the Washington, DC area | Bandcamp: https://phmusic.bandcamp.com
Fete Jen/@Fete_Jen | hip hop organizer & founder of The Lounge (open mic event) and producer of the upcoming mixtape | from the U.S., previously based in Tanzania, currently based in Pretoria.
Lebo Mochudi/@LeboMochudi | MC, singer, & producer | from South Africa, based in Johannesburg | YouTube: https://youtu.be/hzJUY8SJhaw
Msia/@Kibona | HHA host & hip hop professor, photographer, & author | from Tanzania, based in the Washington, DC area | Website: https://msiakibonaclark.com
Synik/@SynikZim | MC & producer | from Zimbabwe, based in Lisbon | Bandcamp: https://synikzim.bandcamp.com
Teck-Zilla/@TeckZilla108| DJ, Producer, & Member of hip hop crew Str8 Buttah | from Nigeria, previously based on Montreal, currently based in Lagos | Bandcamp: https://str8buttah.bandcamp.com
Medusa is a Tunisian artist who emerged as an MC in Tunisia’s hip hop community around the time of the Arab Spring of the 2010s. Her career as an MC has followed an interesting path, as she often found herself in the role of “conscious MC”, being one of the few women in the Tunisian hip hop community and speaking out on important social issues.
In this interview she talks about hip hop under the Arab Spring. While many talk about the role of artists in the Arab Spring, Medusa talks about the impacts of the Arab Spring on hip hop culture. She says the Arab Spring encouraged youth engagement, and that post revolution, many youth have moved into more commercial rap sounds.
She has since moved to France, where she talks about her experience in the Parisian hip hop scene and her work with a new team of creatives. We met up with Medusa during a 2019 self-funded trip to the U.S. Medusa made to promote her work and establish contacts.
During her trip, she visited the class of American University professor and hip hop scholar, Dr. Kendra Salois. Our interview took place after her guest lecture in Dr. Salois’ class.
In April 2017, Roma and some of his colleagues disappeared for 3 days. This incident has put Roma at direct odds with the government. More recently, in November 2019, Roma released the single “Anaitwa Roma”, which was a direct criticism of government policies.
Roma has been a source of division in Tanzania’s hip hop community. There have been a lot of debates about who Roma is, and why he continues to be so vocal. His actions have shined a bright light on other artists who have also identified as being socially conscious. Many have chosen to criticize, or distance themselves from Roma. Some of this may be to avoid scrutiny over why they themselves have not been more vocal or active. Some artists may disagree with Roma’s views, and have criticized his methods and intentions. And, some artists may support Roma, but may not have been publicly vocal in that support.
In this interview, however, it was clear that Roma Mkatoliki believes that he is doing the right thing. Our decision to interview Roma is not an endorsement of any one side. And, we are not able independently verify all of the information Roma provides during this interview. But, we feel it is important to have these conversations on diverse platforms. As a hip hop artists who is engaged in social and political commentary, it is important that Roma’s voice be heard on this platform.
The interview is done in both Swahili and English. I have attempted to summarize Roma’s responses in English, though he switches between Swahili and English in his responses.
The song that opens and closes the episode is Mkombozi, which was released in January 2020. This link takes you to the version of the song with the English subtitles.