Stormzy’s global influence brings glory to Ghana!
Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., known professionally as Stormzy is a British born musician of Ghanaian descent. Stormzy came into popularity in the year 2014 with his freestyles and battle rapping in South London. Stormzy’s reign to popularity was interesting because not only does he rap in English, but he became one of the
HHAP Ep 82: Nigeria’s Loudbase AF Promoting Hip-Hop in Africa
This is the first episode in our Spring Series, which focuses on Nigeria this year. In this episode, we talked to Victor Uwakwe Izuchukwu, the founder of Loudbase AF Entertainment, a hip-hop community organization formed in Nigeria in 2018. Loudbase is a platform “for creatives in the hip-hop community to nurture and groom skills.” They hold a yearly Hip-Hop conference, most recently in November 2022. The conference brings together hip hop heard from around the world, especially Africa, to celebrate all aspects of hip hop culture. They not only focus on music, but also hip hop dance, DJing, graffiti, and knowledge. You can find Loudbase on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram https://www.youtube.com/@loudbasenghip-hophouse6473 https://www.instagram.com/loudbase_af/ https://twitter.com/Loudbasehip_fm
HHAP Ep. 79.5: Announcements and Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop
This is a short episode we recorded to send out a couple of announcements and to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.
‘WO KUM APEM BEBA’ – Jay Bahd and the Asakaa Boyz Lead the Drill Scene in ‘Kumerica’, Ghana
Jay Bahd is one of the figure heads of the Ghanian drill, or ‘Asakaa’, music scene. Bahd and his crew, known as the ‘Asakaa Boyz’ are changing Ghanaian hiphop – mixing US inspiration with the power of a distinct Ghanaian message.
HHAP Ep 79: Hip-Hop culture as a space where Black identities are negotiated and presented
The first episode of 2023 is a special episode on hip-hop as a cultural space where Black identities can be negotiated and presented. The research project was part of a larger seminar project with the University of Maryland College Park on African/Black Diaspora Studies. The larger project was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The overall project focused on: “the dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender, and interactions between and among first and second-generation African diaspora immigrants and native-born African Americans in the U.S.” My project explores representations of Black identities and shared experiences by African hip-hop artists in the US. The initial objective was to examine the music of 2nd generation African artists in America to understand how they Represent Black identities Discuss shared experiences Represent Africa This was done via a content analysis of their songs & interviews. The artists could be classified as Millennials and Generation Z artists. The music of these artists differed from the music produced by 1st generation African hip-hop artists. The early 2000s saw a small group of hip-hop artists who had all migrated to the US around the same time, usually for college, and would find varying degrees of success. Some of these artists stayed in the U.S., and others migrated home. Their presence was followed by an increase in African music on mainstream platforms, & collaborations between artists of 1st or 2gen African ancestry and artists of multi-generation African ancestry (African Americans). Hip-hop’s structure as a genre that is largely autobiographical lends itself to being a conduit for meaningful conversations around race, gender, sexuality, & politics. These artists were nuanced in their coverage of topics of immediate concern to other African & diaspora communities. We saw the articulation of African American & African connections among several African hip-hop artists who came to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Interestingly, many of those artists were Ghanaian. Artists like Blitz (the Ambassador) Bazawule, Wanlov the Kubolor, M3nsa, Minista of Agrikulcha, & M.anifest all arrived from a country whose place in Pan-African history had been well established. “In our simplicity we are elegant/so to us your coat and tie are irrelevant/give up my culture for your religion?, I can’t” Wanlov the Kubolor, “Gentleman” Other artists like, K’naan (Somalia), Krukid/Ruyonga (Uganda), and Shad (Kenya) also would speak to those connections. These artists may have impacted the growth of African music in the US. This growth led to the emergence of afrobeats artists like Davido, Burna Boy, Shatta Wale, & others. In looking at 2nd generation African artists, I identified 583 songs by 10 Millenial and Generation Z artists. Again, I wanted to find representations of Black identities, African identities, and shared experiences between Africans and African Americans. The artists were: Nipsey Hussle (1985): Los Angeles/African American and Eritrean parents Lola Monroe (1986): Washington, DC/Ethiopia Bas (1987): New York/Paris/Sudan Maxo Kream (1990): Houston/Nigeria Wale (1984): Washington, DC/Nigeria Amine (1994): Portland/Eritrea & Ethiopia Chika (1997): Montgomery (Alabama)/Nigeria Doja Cat (1995): Los Angeles/American and South African parents Earl Sweatshirt (1994): Chicago & Los Angeles/African American and South African parents Thutmose (1995): New York/Nigeria In the review of over 500 songs, very few had any references to African identities or shared experiences. Notable exceptions include Wale’s “My Sweetie” and Amine’s “Roots” During the research, it became clear that there needed to be a more global consideration of what African hip-hop artists are saying. There are artists in other parts of the Diaspora, especially in England, France, and Australia and they complicate Black identities even further. A more global perspective on Black identities helps us to fully understand hip hop’s role in shifting conversations around identity. Some of the European artists studied include. Sefyu (1981) France/Senegal Shay (1990) Belgium/Congo Bree Runway (1992) UK/Ghana Stormzy (1993) UK/Ghana Niska (1994) France/Congo Enny (1994) UK/Nigeria Little Simz (1994) UK/Nigeria Shaybo (1996) UK/Nigeria J Hus (1996) UK/The Gambia The songs played in this episode are “My Sweetie” by Wale “Roots” by Amine “I Want” by Enny “Woman” by Little Simz “En noir et blanc” by Sefyu “Gentleman” by M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor “Dollar & a Dream” by Blitz the Ambassador
Final Project Mixtape
Calvin Smith Identity and culture: Identity and cultural appropriation were my selected themes for this mixtape, as I thought they were one of the most critical concepts introduced throughout the given text “Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of The City and Dusty Foot Philosophers” as well as the provided lectures. My rationale for this is
Legendary artist Bas is the product of Sudanese immigrant parents making the rapper Sudanese American. He is most well-known for his affiliation with the Dreamville record label, and his popular tracks such as “Night Job” and “The Jackie”. Bas has served as an excellent example of African rappers that are not based within their country
A Symbol of Queer Peace in Zimbabwe
The song Peace by Zimbabwean artist Hanna critiques the repetitive lack of originality that is current mainstream hip-hop. The second verse of her song raps that she doesn’t “play games,” “play dumb,” “fake rap,” or “fake cum.” Considering the fact that Hanna is a lesbian artist, I took this as a slight towards straight women
CFP: Politics of Language in African Hip Hop
The question of language in African literature was debated in the 1960s and 1970s. At the heart of the debate was: who qualifies as being an African writer? and what qualifies as African literature? African authors like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Chinua Achebe weighed in on different sides of the debate. Today a similar debate is occurring in various hip hop communities in Africa. Please see the call for papers for a special issue of the Journal of African Cultural Studies on Language and Hip Hop in Africa. Abstracts due: November 8.