This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. This episode is a conversation between Dr. Msia Kibona Clark, the author of Hip-Hop in Africa, and moderator Dr. James Pope. Dr. Pope is a professor at Winston Salem State University and an organizer with the Africa World Now Project. The conversation took place at the legendary Sankofa Video Book and Cafe in Washington, DC. The event was sponsored by the following organizations Africa World Now Project | Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, & Dignity | Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) | Sankofa Books
If you are listing to the podcast on a platform other than the blogsite, you can access some of the images from the evening’s event on our blogsite: hiphopafrican.com.
Color: the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.
From my knowledge and experience, colors captivate not only the eye, but evoke specific emotional and psychological responses in human beings physically. For decades, the urban youth have utilized blends of hues to express sentiments, awareness and inner passions in the form of graffiti. On Saturday, April 7th at in front of Trinity College’s Mather Hall, I visited a beautiful graffiti exhibition which showcased gifted artists from all over the world as part of the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival.
The installation included two large cubes which featured graffiti paintings on each of the four visible sides of each cube (eight paintings). Each piece showcased bright color combinations which told a story. For example, Marcelo Ment from Brazil did a piece which showed a woman with colorless parts of her face while her hair was made of a variety of bright and warm color combinations. Another side of the block showcased the turquoise, green and blue mixture of a girl’s French braids, with pink accents. The colors complimented each other and flowed like mystical water. In addition, Artists Lindaluz Carrillo, Kamil Kucharek, and Poptart from Hartford, and Yuanjie K-Ching Qian from Montreal all composed their pieces within minutes, leaving their mark for all to marvel. Their work represented a culture of conscious art which I personally revere especially at a time in which Graffiti is going extinct due to gentrification. During the exhibition, another viewer mentioned that with less spaces left unoccupied by cameras, there are less opportunities for graffiti artists to tag areas with messages. The conversation led me to further appreciate the art, not only for its authenticity, and cultural impact, but also for its endangered state.
This year’s past Trinity International Hip Hop Festival also featured a live Graffiti Exhibition at the Gates Quad, an area in front of Mather Hall. The two-cube installation was created that Saturday morning with works by Marcelo Ment from Brazil, Hartford natives Lindaluz Carrillo, Poptart, and Kamil Kucharek, Yuanije K-Ching Qian from Montreal, Canada.
The first piece that I really liked was the freestyle graffiti piece by Brazilian artist Marcelo Ment. The intricate graffiti piece features a clever combination of lines and color to create depth and emphasis of the blend of both a bookcase and cityscape setting. The use of both warm and cool colors with blue, yellow, red, green and purple hues creates further contrast. There is movement in the center of the piece with a spiral shape connecting two silhouettes facing opposite of one another surrounded by terms such as “I am one because we are one”, “life”, and “respect”. “Trinity His Hop” is written in bold white letters in the bottom corner to pay homage to the festival. The graffiti piece highlights empowerment, unity and education through its’ bold lettering and style.
Another piece I really liked was the abstract Tetris-like piece which I believe is by Lindaluz Carrillo, an artist and graduate from the University of Hartford. The piece is a 3D abstract Tetris-like shape with landscape details inside the shape. The cool blue tones go the mountains and waves inside the shape contrast with the warm pink surrounding it. The use of black inside the shape also gives it an illusion of a face. I would consider this to be quite an urban piece as abstract shapes that both makes you think and strikes emotion are very common in graffiti art.
The graffiti exhibition was an effective visual art piece for the festival. The main piece “Trinity Hip Hop” in front of the first cube was a great backdrop for some Trinity Festival photos! The bold graffiti letters against a dark background creates contrast and attracts attention to the words on the piece. The graffiti overall surrounds us around urban themes, including empowerment, courage and unity.
To rap in one language is impressive, two rap in two is incredible—but to rap in two languages at the same time in the same verse? Well that’s just called Kast, and as someone who can’t even rap in their native language, there seems no end to the impressive escapades of the Botswanan rapper. Continue reading “To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…”
We see all the time in the United States artist claim there titles. You got the King of New York or The Queen of Rap, but meet the Prince of South African Rap. Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known by his stage name AKA. AKA is a South African hip hop recording artist and record producer. Continue reading “The Prince Of The South”
You might know UK based Grime artist Jme better as the younger brother of his older sibling, Skepta. The two grew up in Tottenham, a neighborhood of North London, but the parents of Jamie (Jme) and Joseph (Skepta) Adenuga originate from Nigeria, and the brothers’ upbringing had been heavily influenced by their African background.
Stormzy whose real name is Micheal Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo is a Ghanaian-British rapper who is currently based in the UK. He has a large fan base throughout the UK with many No 1 singles and a UK No 1 album titled Gang Signs & Prayer. His album Gang Signs and Prayer is nothing short from phenomenal and inspiring. In this album, he sheds the light on living in a society where all odds are against him. But he was able to use Rap to overcome the temptations and danger that come with living in a gang prone locality. Continue reading “STORMZY”
Growing up all around the French capital and hailing from all parts of francophone Africa, the Parisian hip-hop collective Sexion d’Assaut has proven that there is power in diversity. The variety of styles present in a given track mixed in with their individual lyrical collaborations combine to form a hypnotically rhythmic creation often imparting a good deal of knowledge as well. And in keeping with their powerful lyrical presence and melodious accompaniment, their track “Africain” does not disappoint. Continue reading “Représentez Représentez”
Based in New York City, Milandou Badila aka Young Paris, is not only taking over the hip hop game but also branching out to other different genres. Paris has been acknowledged fo his incorporation of hip hop, trap, and African drumbeats along with electronic music.
Born to Congolese parents, Young Paris and his nine other siblings were all apart of a dance group in his earlier upbringing. Young Paris came into the industry not being afraid to be proud of where he is from. Along with his other siblings, they all pay tribute to their heritage by incorporating traditional dress and body paint and adding a modern day twist to it. Continue reading “Young Paris”