Posted in Africa, Diaspora, Ghana

Different Country, Same Attitude

There’s two types of people in this world: those who conform to the rules set by society and those who rebel against it. In their collaborative hp hop song “Gentleman”, rappers M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor come together to tell you that they’re the ladder and not ashamed of where they’ve come from. For today’s blog, we will look at the African diaspora and how this common African experience has translated over to the music of these two artists. Just to give you a bit of a background on each, M.anifest is a Ghanian rapper who is known to many as the king of Ghana hip hop. He migrated to Saint Paul, Minnesota back in 2001 to attend college. He even resides in Minnesota as well as Ghana currently. 

Wanlov the Kubolor is a Ghanaian-Romanian musician who moved to the US for college back in 2000. Both of these artist are very proud of their Ghanian roots and let their experiences as immigrants influence their sound.


In their collaborative song Gentleman, both rappers immediately start the song off saying the chorus immediately saying “I won’t be gentleman at all, I’ll be African man original. I wont be gentleman, won’t be gentleman at all”. They immediately set the tone for the song with their straight forward acclamation to stick to their roots despite living in a country that has a different culture. Within the song they mention a number of aspects that are associated with the men of western culture and then rejects them with their own versions that they’ve grown to live with in Ghana. Both M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor have experienced first hand what it feels like to migrate to not just a different country but an entirely different continent like many Africans for the sake of their futures. the African immigrant population between the year 2000 and 2010 increased from 800,000 to 1.6 million and of those people these artist were part of that. There’s such a big population of African Immigrants that can relate to this song and are able to not feel alone in their fight to not keep who they are while surrounded by Americans. Gentleman is a great song that compares the two cultures and also speaks to what they mean to the Ghanian rappers. It’s fun, it’s unique, and it will always be African.

Posted in Africa

Two Different Approaches

Being a female in any career that does not involve cooking or cleaning, is already met with discrimination from sexual harassment to the pay gap. However, being a female trying to make in the hip-hop industry is almost impossible. Hip hop is known to be hard, angry, and sexual and females are expected to soft, gentle, and conservative; therefore mixing the two seems unheard of. What if gender did not define our personalities? What if, as a female, I could be angry, hard, or even sexual? Due to the facts that these what if’s are actually possible, females entering hip-hop is actually plausible.

The first artist I listened to was Hold On by Medusa, an African artist from Tunisia. Her imagery was mildly boring, she didn’t really move her body, her expression was pretty much consistent throughout, and the scenery did not change until the last quarter of the video. However, once the imagery changed at the end, as a viewer who did not speak her native tongue I was able to understand the message she was trying to convey. Yet, to convey this message she did not break or fit into any stereotypes. Medusa was neither hard nor soft in the video, her lyrics were not angry and neither was her stance, also Medusa was not sexual at all. She came, she rapped, and the video ended.

The next video I watched was Stella Mwangi – Biashara. The video was extremely fun, probably to match the beat. Yet she fit into the hip-hop demands to say the least. Stella was very sexual from her moves to way she addressed her body. She was smoking with the big boy and had the male stance on point (the grabbing of the crotch with legs slightly spread, and a mean mug). Also, she had a male rapper in the video, which most people feel validates female rappers. Stella Mwangi manage to break every notion about females in general, while fitting into every notion about hip-hop artist.

The artist contrast in these two videos basically tell future female emcees that you don’t have fit in to make it in hip hop, but you can fit in if you so desire.




Posted in Africa, Female Emcees, Senegal

Impression of Senegal Female Emcee, Sister Fa

From my own search conducted online, I would like to discuss a hip hop video by Senegalese rapper, Sister Fa titled Milyamba. Sister Fa is casually deemed the queen of rap in Senegal so when I came across her video I was almost immediately drawn to the 90’s vibe of it and also how the video was edited due to the warm graphics. The artist is speaking in her native language so you cannot understand anything until you come across the chorus but due to a small description, she is mostly speaking about the hard life of women in her native land of Senegal then the video shows visuals of women working and carrying baskets on their heads. Sister Fa is a representation of all the strong women in Senegal because she is bringing awareness to what is going on in her surroundings and wants a change. Sister Fa wears a head wrap, khaki pants and shirt and a small pendant chain which is fairly different from other female rappers in other countries. Sister Fa portrays herself as a soldier ready for war and ready to take on any action that may come about for speaking out against problems that women, particularly those that live in villages,  face. It is very hard for women to have such courage in those countries. She can get her message across to different outlets without over-sexualizing herself or be half naked in her videos because that isn’t the message she is trying to send to her viewers.  Sister Fa’s deliverance is consistent and smooth, sometimes causing her to rap faster in some verses when she is getting passionate about some critical issues that are more meaningful to her. Sister Fa sings the chorus making it known that although women are going through a struggle right now, she wants them to know that everything will be alright.

Posted in Africa, Diaspora, Interview, Podcasts, Tanzania

HHAP Episode 8: Hip Hop in the Academy, in Conversation With Seth Markle

Dr. Seth Markle is an Associate Professor of History and International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Seth received his PhD in History from New York University. At Trinity College he teaches the courses Global Hip Hop Cultures and Introduction to Hip Hop. Much of his academic work has centered around Diaspora communities in Tanzania. His new book A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974 is scheduled to be released this year with Michigan State University Press.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 8: Hip Hop in the Academy, in Conversation With Seth Markle”

Posted in Africa, Student Projects


Today i’ve decided to take a look at some South African hip hop and pop, I was very excited to look into their music scene as a vocalist and just as a music lover. So for the South African pop scene I listened to a song from Afrotraction; a South African R&B and Neo-soul musician and producer. I decided to look at his song, “Ngeke” which has a beautiful meledy, and is sung in Xhosa, one of the native languages of South Africa.

 To compare Afrotraction to an American artist with a similar style,  I decided to look at a song that quickly dominated the charts in 2006, “So Sick” by Ne-yo. On this track, every song Ne-Yo hears reminds him of his lost love; it’s a love song about being tired of love songs. Ne-Yo told Billboard magazine, “A lot of heartbreak went into that song, so that’s why I think a lot of people dug it the way they did – because you can feel it.”  Just like “Ngeke” this song is a an apologetic love song with a slow tempo and a great bass line like most Rb tracks tend to have while the video portrays the singer in a low lite space, reminiscing of what used to be. Something I’ve noticed in the pop industry in South Africa is that there are similarities to what the US pop used to be as if they’re just following behind past trends. Unlike the rich rap culture in many African countries, where there are huge amounts of regional individuality and lack of similarity to the US rap game. The US has made a grave mistake of glorying the “Bling” rappers, who has the best whip, smokes the best weed, has the baddest girl and etc. Where the conscious and lyrical side of rap has become less and less popular. Rap in Africa is Revolutionary while rap in the USA is Commercial, artists in the US avoid issues of racial inequality and the treatment of their people while artist such as Keur Gui are starting movements and making music that strictly addresses these situations.


Posted in Africa, Ivory Coast

Kalakuta Music Group (Ivory Coast)

The song “Constitution” by Kalakuta Music Group

After proving that they are still heavyweights of hiphop scene in Abidjan, with his debut single”LA PATRIE OU LA MORT”; the intellectual, conscious and political hiphop group is back once again with another track: CONSTITUTION. The second single of his fourthcoming album KALAKUTA REPUBLIK. It was released on 30th October 2016, the same day of election for the approval of new constitution in the Ivory Coast.

Produced by Isidro Fortunato from Angola and mastered by 4th Disciple,the legendary producer of Wu Tang Clan.

Available for free download on

K.M.G. ( Kalakuta Music Group ) is an Independent record label based in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) focusing on HIP HOP, REGGAE & AFRO BEAT

The crew is composed of Ezzdean Duane-Fimo Capone-JelyZion- Manijahdjo-Oremi-O.B.B (original black boy), and Samory le baptist.
A political hiphop group from Africa, founded in November 2014. Veterans and new talented artists and producers with different and diverse African roots (Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Guinea). Strong believers for change through freedom and justice. Their main purpose is to raise awareness on political issues and build confidence in african youths.Inspired by freedom fighters such as Fela Kuti-Kwame Nkrumah-Thomas Sankara and Patrice Lumumba. The message is a clarion call, a weapon against social issues and things going wrong all over Africa.



Posted in Africa, CFP, Diaspora, Events

Call For Papers: Hip Hop & Migration


Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 28-30 June, 2017

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Posted in Africa, Book, Egypt, Female Emcees, Hip Hop References, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Senegal, sierra leone, South Africa, Tanzania

Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati

Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati

by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster

Now available in paperback & on Kindle

This book examines social change in Africa through the lens of hip hop music and culture. Artists engage their African communities in a variety of ways that confront established social structures, using coded language and symbols to inform, question, and challenge. Through lyrical expression, dance, and graffiti, hip hop is used to challenge social inequality and to push for social change. The study looks across Africa and explores how hip hop is being used in different places, spaces, and moments to foster change. In this edited work, authors from a wide range of fields, including history, sociology, African and African American studies, and political science explore the transformative impact that hip hop has had on African youth, who have in turn emerged to push for social change on the continent. The powerful moment in which those that want change decide to consciously and collectively take a stand is rooted in an awareness that has much to do with time. Therefore, the book centers on African hip hop around the context of “it’s time” for change, Ni Wakati.

Continue reading “Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati”