M.anifest’s “Coming to America” and the Diaspora

M.anifest’s song “Coming to America” tells us a lot about the African Diaspora. The song mentions many things that Africans struggle with and it also mentions some of the things that African immigrants in America face. The reading “Payback is a Motherland” says that many African immigrants see hip hop as a way to connect with their home countries. In this class we have studied many African artists who are now in America and use their music to connect with home. M.anifest mentions things about the immigrant experience like missing home and family, trying to find a good job, and sending money home to support his family. He also mentions having to do things like constantly put money on phone cards so he can call home. He also mentioned the pressure from family and parents to get a degree and be successful. From other songs , we learned that the immigrant experience can be lonely and depressing at times. In “Payback is a Motherland”, M.anifest states that he did not know that there was a such thing as African rap at first. Once he discovered this, he began to incorporate his mother tongue into his music more often. This connected him to his home country and it also makes his music more relatable and likable amongst Ghanaians. His song makes many immigrants able to relate to him because it tells a true story and gives a realistic perspective of what immigrants go through. Many immigrants have a hard time adjusting to a new country and a new culture but songs like “Coming to America” let them know that they are not alone and that their experience is shared by others. The songs is very enlightening and inspiring. It makes people more aware of what people who are not native to a country go through and also how hard they work to get what they have.

Stella Mwangi x Lady Leshurr

The first video I watched was “stella stella stella” by Stella Mwangi. Stella Mwangi is a femcee from Kenya. The video for this song is a bit raunchy but not distasteful. She is giving the rebel girl look and feel in this video with her outfits, her lyrics, and the props in the video. She is not over sexualizing her self or exposing her body. In the “girl power or overpowered” reading, they discuss women in hip hop submitting to men and being inferior to men. In this video, Stella is showing that she is equal to a man and can do everything a man can do. Several things in the video shows that she is fighting the stereotype of being inferior to men and being “ladylike”. In the video, she is smoking a cigar, which is known to be very masculine and she is also grabbing her crotch which is often something men do to exert their masculinity. She is challenging the stereotypes of women in hip hop in this video. Her lyrics to the songs are also kind of raunchy as she mentions stepping over bitches and taking other peoples’ boyfriends, the lyrics to the song are not very empowering to women but the songs and the chorus are both very catchy and I really like the song overall. The second video I watched was “Queen’s Speech ep. 4” by Lady Leshurr. Lady Leshurr is a femcee from the U.K. Her video gives a west coast/ Cali vibe and so does her outfit. Her style is very trendy in the video. Her lyricism is great. Her metaphors and punchlines are impressive. She is not over sexualizing herself in the video nor is she overexposing her body. Both songs are good but very different. Stella’s song is very catchy and Leshurr’s song is full of clever punch lines. Neither song is very uplifting to women in particular but at the same time neither song degrades women.

Corazon vs. Pills and Potions

  The two videos I chose to focus on for this comparison are “Corazon” by South African artist Rouge and “Pills and Potions” by American artist Nicki Minaj. I will not be comparing rap styles because these two artists are completely different and are at different points in their career I will just be speaking on the videos. Both videos were very simple and both were released in 2015.

            Rouge is a South African artist who raps in English. Her video for “Corazon” was very simple. There were only three people who appeared in the entire video; Rouge, , and a girl dancing. The video consisted of Rouge rapping with a plain background that switched between black, red, and white. The only objects in the video were a couch and a few balloons. The song was upbeat and had a bit of a techno feel and it sounded very American.

Nicki Minaj is the biggest female rapper in the United States. Her video for “Pills and Potions”, unlike the rest of her videos, was actually very simple. The video consists of Nicki rapping alone in front of plain backgrounds that are different colors. The only two people in this video are Nicki and the Game who was the male model in this video. The video was very simple and plain with her as the center focus.

  Both video were very simple with simple concepts. The outfits worn by both women were simple and there were minimal props in each video, with the artists as the center of attention. I liked both videos and songs. Both women have unique styles of artistry. The videos were simple yet attention grabbing and enticing. Both artists have very different styles and sounds but the videos for these two songs were surprisingly very similar in concept and execution.


M.anifest -B.E.A.R

The video that I watched was from a Ghanaian artist named “M.anifest”. The name of this particular song is “B.E.A.R”. Even after watching the video and listening to the song I’m still not quite sure what B.EA.R stands for but i definitely liked the video. This video is fairly new; it was posted to YouTube in January. I actually really like the song and the video. The songs was ultimately about how many people count him out and underestimate him but he’s going to prove them wrong. He mentioned some of his recent accolades like him speaking at different colleges and having so many shows. He also has really creative  and clever metaphors. Many of the aspects of the video were unique and other aspects reminded me of music videos from U.S. artists. The opening scene of the video really grasped my attention. At first glance you would think it was a bunch of men holding what appear to be army rifles. When taking a closer look you realize that what looks like guns are actually musical instruments like trumpets and trombones which I thought was really creative because they were holding them like you would hold a gun. He also made several American references in the song when he mentioned Funk Flex, Tupac, and Complex magazine. One of his outfits was more American while his other outfit was more African and I liked how he brought both styles together. I also think it’s cool how he switches up his languages constantly throughout the song. His has a really good ability to smoothly transition from one language to the other without messing up the flow of the song. The song is really  upbeat and the chorus is really catchy. M.anifest is a perfect example of a Ghanian artist who is americanized but also stays true to his culture and is constantly representing his country.


South African Artists

The first video I watched was by a popular South African hip hop artist named Tweezy. I watched the video for his 2016 hit “Ambitions”. I found it very interesting how many aspects of his video reminded me of American hip hop artists. His designer belt and unbuttoned Versace shirt along with his “cooking” dance moves reminded me of current artists like Future and Migos. It was interesting to see how he used so much American slang but also consistently switched up and used his native language as well. I also noticed that the beat on the song was similar to a few American songs I’ve heard recently. The uptempo beat that goes in and out with the siren type sound effect has definitely been a trend in the U.S lately for many “Trap” and party songs made by hip hop artists. Tweezy is definitely and artist that seems to have adopted many aspects of modern American hip hop culture and if he was to ever bring his talents to the U.S he would fit right in. The second artist I watched was a South African pop artist named Layla. I watched the video for the song she has with DJ Ganyani called “Talk to Me”.Layla has a sound that is not neccessarily R&B but more so disco/techno-pop. Her sound is comparable to American artists like Icona Pop. L the video for “talk to me” was unique in many aspects. The concept for her video was unique I cannot say that I’ve seen it many times in American music videos. the video stars Layla and an old man who fantasizes about her. Layla’s style is also unique in the video. Her different looks in the video are not looks that are popular amongst American artists but they looked good on her and make her unique. The links to both videos are posted below:

Tweezy- Ambitions : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWZ4G1jTYPk

DJ Ganyani ft Layla- Talk to Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TABrgS9SC_k