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

HHAP Episode 35: From Queens to Dar: Fete Jen on Hip Hop & Lyricist Lounge Tanzania

This was a fun conversation with hip hop organizer Fete Jen, a Queens, NY native who has traveled throughout Africa and is connected to multiple hip hop artists and scenes around the world. She started Lyricist Lounge Tanzania (LLT) in 2014, helping to provide a platform for poets, spoken word artists, and MCs in Dar es Salaam. LLT was distinct for several reasons, most notably, it brought together a diverse crowd of Tanzanians, African American & Caribbean expats living in Tanzania, and expats from other African countries living in Tanzania. A lot of this diversity was due to the diverse team that have organized the LL events.

LLT is celebrating its fifth anniversary on the 23rdof March, in Dar es Salaam. The organizers have established a fundraiser to help with the costs of putting on the event and bringing in artists to perform.

Through her networks with hip hop communities in the Diaspora and throughout Africa, Fete Jen has been involved in or helped to establish several hip hop based projects. In this call we talk about her experiences with the Tanzanian hip hop scene and starting Lyricist Lounge, her views profanity and the use of the N-word in hip hop, the increase in Blacks from the Diaspora moving to Africa, and relations on the continent between Africans and Blacks from the Diaspora.

You can find Fete Jen on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fetejen/) or Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fete_jen/)

*Intro beat by Duke Tachez: https://www.facebook.com/DUKETACHEZ/

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