I decided to choose an artist whose name I did not hear much in the class. The title of Say’hu’s song, “Motherland” drew my attention because everybody has their own opinion as to what their motherland is or what the term means to them. To me, my motherland is where myself and my family originate from, Africa. Although I have never been there and the two generations before me were born here on American soil I still have this strong connection to Africa. America is not my native land, otherwise I’d be Native American. For Say’hu, Africa is also his motherland being that he was born there, lives there and is of African descent. He describes Africa as “land of the great pharaohs where the sun never leaves”. Say’hu sees Africa as a land of radiance and beauty, a place where royalty are from and people from all across come to capture his vision. However, Say’hu also mentions how certain immigrants to the land are ignorant to this view of Africa and think of it as a jungle whenever they hear her name.
Say’hu represents both his country and the diaspora because although there are people like him who are born and raised in Africa and recognize it as their motherland, you have the black diaspora, which includes myself, whom also consider Africa to be their motherland. Although many of us have never set foot on African soil, many of us do acknowledge that Africa is our country of origin, before migration and of course slavery changed all of that for the most part. Say’hu talks about how Africa needs a savior, as well. His people are dying and the leader’s priority is money, an idea that many of the black diaspora here in America can relate to. African Americans are dying at a rate much higher than other races but our government and our system is designed to ensure this happens and to profit off of it.
Overall I believe Say’hu gave an accurate respresentation of both Africa and of the diaspora by incorporating personal experience, quotations and by describing the two sides of Africa and also the different views people have of the motherland.
I recall watching a Dope Saint Jude video earlier in the course. She was raw and so eclectic, so when I saw her name on the list I knew she was the first artist I would choose. Dope Saint Jude bends the norms in Xxplosive, much like many of her other videos, using her words, her clothing, and overall attitude. She can be seen wearing loose fitting or baggy clothing all throughout the video and takes this very slouchy, masculine stance. Also, she wears her hair locked, which to many aren’t very “lady-like”. As far as lyrics, she refers to women as bitches, so not only is she swearing but she’s using a derogatory term for women. Overall she has a very androgynous look vibe. Her characteristics may even make someone question her sexuality or what she identifies as, but she makes it very clear that she is all female and could care less about what you think.
The next artist I noticed was Nadia Rose in her video for “Station”. Although she doesn’t give off the same consistent masculine appeal like Jude, you can still see her slouching her posture and sporting baggy clothing from time to time. For majority of the video she’s wearing a sports bra, jacket, and form-fitting pants, which are deemed as more feminine, but the amount of skin on top may be seen as unladylike. This is the perfect example of how artists can be on opposite sides of the spectrum, but still given the same label. Also, Rose openly talks about her sex life, reciting “he put his bit in my bit, now I’m “coming” on the go”. Society, both in America and especially in Africa may deem her expressive lyrics as too personal or explicit for a woman.
Overall, both femcees are going against the grain in their own ways and paving the way for future female artists to openly and freely express themselves however they want because tha’s what hip hop is all about.
The moment I heard Gigi LaMayne’s “Fees Will Fall” another well-known female rapper came to mind. Hailing from the U.S is Angel Haze, who’s image and flow I was reminded of when I watched LaMayne’s video. Both artists give off this masculine-feminine vibe. In Fees Will Fall you can see LaMayne wearing what appears to be a sequined dress, with her hair in a bun and wearing make-up, what is deemed to be a feminine appearance. However, her flow and delivery is hard and she uses “masculine” hand gestures to get her point across. In Angel Haze’s video for “Werkin Girls” you can see similar aspects. Haze is dressed in pants and a crop top, with her hair long and straight and makeup. All of these details giving Haze a feminine feel, however, when she starts to rap the way she delivers her bars and the hand motions make Haze appear hard and more like her male counterparts in the game. Not only that but what she says has a manly appeal, especially when she makes references to her bitches and talks about males turning into bitches, insinuating that these males are exhibiting “female” behavior. Both videos are also in very muted color, LaMayne’s being in complete black and white. This gives both videos a very stoic and cold feel to them. One of the only major differences between the two femcees is the messages behind the videos. In “Fees Will Fall” LaMayne’s purpose is to bring awareness to being who you are and claiming your freedom. It is positive and political, touching on how “they” (the government or possibly white America) put on a front and act as though they understand what black America has been through. In “Werkin Girls” the main message Haze is trying to deliver is that she is all about her money and that she is not one to be played with nor underestimated. Although both artists are spreading different messages in these particular videos, they both exhibit being “inside” and also “outside” the box.
Ghanaian artist: C-Real
Senegalese artist: Didier Awadi
Instantly I could detect differences between these two artist. C-Real has the ” harder ” sound though he is trying to spread a positive message just like Awadi. C-Real’s song title, “Hewale”, in the link that I have attached translates to strength. “Hewale” is about being strong and staying strong and follows the old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In summary, “Hewale” is about not letting your bad experiences or struggles define or break you, but rather growing from them as a person. This can be taking politically because he’s probably referring to his environment or possibly those power being the forces trying to break him. Although some of the lyrics and even the video do not so much reflect that. Awadi’s song, on the other hand, is clearly for the people and is about making a stand. In the video you can see him traveling through the town and interacting with the civilians like a “man of the people”. Although Awadi does not rap in English, based on the title we know that he is rapping about a revolution, a revolt by the population against authority causing a change in political power usually occurring in a short time. His video doesn’t really express this idea in an extreme way but subtly him showcasing where he is from, the conditions the people are living in and how close they are supports his message. In conclusion, C-Real’s song is a good representative of a lot of Ghanaian hip hop music. It’s political, however, it also focuses on other topics and isn’t as direct. Whereas Awadi, the Senegalese artist, makes music about his people and the progression of his home. The Senegalese music seems to be more religiously-inclined in some ways. Both artists touch on social struggle, but lyrically and in terms of the videos they have two clearly different approaches.
Country: Sierra Leone
Artists: Kao Denero and Sierra Leone Underground Rappers
Both artists are categorized as hip hop artists or rappers. However, they have very different sounds which makes one question, is there such a thing as “real hip hop”? Does one qualify as hip hop or rap more than the other? The artists in both links all incorporate the three basic components of rap which are content (what you’re saying or the “bars”), flow (rhythm and rhyme), and delivery (how you present each bar). They all used key elements of what is referred to as hip hop, as well. Kao Denero used rapping and DJing, whereas the Sierra Leone Underground Rappers used rapping and beatboxing. The Sierra Leone Underground Rappers have a more raw and more “gangsta” approach, lyrical and also visually in terms of the video too. They’re speaking from experience, growing up in their environment and about how the streets of Sierra Leone are, while also praising their mother land. Their lyrics could be deemed as more negative, mainly focusing on their struggles and violence. The video itself is edited in black and white, perhaps to add to the simplicity of the video or to add it’s “grimey” or hard appearance and each artist in the cypher is rapping over someone beatboxing with no other music or vocals present. Kao Denero, on the other hand, is rapping about a woman he loves and/or lusts for and the title “Hakuna Matata” translates to no worries, which is fitting to the theme of the video. The setting is in what seems to be an island paradise where they are surrounded by beautiful women, drinks, they have their bikes and it appears as though they haven’t got a care in the world. The instrumental alone shows a disconnect, because he has a beat, instruments and vocals and is upbeat. Many would say that Kao Denero is more hip hop meets pop culture or that his music has been commodify, whereas, the Sierra Leone Underground Rappers are real, authentic rap artists. In my opinion, the issue is up for debate and I believe depends on the individual listening and what they consider to be hip hop. Both artists showcase many of the elements of hip hop, however, I expect Kao Denero’s song to attract a larger listening audience because it does somewhat blur the line between hip hop and pop. The Sierra Leone Underground Rappers are more “hip-hop head” friendly and probably wouldn’t attract the same crowd. The views on each video support my theory alone. Overall, I enjoyed listening to all the artists but personally I’m more about lyrics which is why I think the cypher was more interesting to me. Kao Denero’s Hakuna Matata is a song I would listen to for the music rather than what he’s actually saying, but both are still enjoyable just in their own ways