This episode features the music of several MCs from across Africa. We depart from the interview format and bring you music from some of our favorite (women) MCs. This is essentially a mixtape of diverse female voices in African hip hop. These MCs live in different countries, seek different languages, and speak on diverse topics. In each of these songs, the artists performing deliver strong, hard hitting lyrics that are both classic hip hop and representative of African styles of hip hop. See the artists’ social media pages for more information. Additionally, some of the artists have their work on iTunes. Those links are provided.
Following in the spirit of World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21), a string of days in the calendar dedicated to encouraging and reminding people to use their imagination for social transformation, CGTN Africa spoke to expert hip hop professor Msia Kibona Clark on the rising trend of hip hop and what the genre means to Africa’s youth.
Rapping in African music is a tradition that stretches far back, and over time has enjoyed plenty of recapitulations and shifts. The modern trend, blended with the attitude of rap from the West, has recreated a neo-hip hop style – spreading throughout the continent with a brash energy and passion that has arguably kickstarted a musical and cultural revolution amongst Africa’s youth.
The frustration, anger, poverty, joy, and spirit which young rappers have expressed through their lyrics have transformed the minds of millions of African youth, who are able to relate to the messages and stories being told.
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Next month we’ll be doing an entire episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast dedicated to the works of female MCs from all over Africa. If you are an African female MC and would like to have your music included, or you know of someone that needs to be included, email us at email@example.com
Meanwhile, check out our YouTube playlist of the African women MCs we know about so far.
This post is dedicated to the comparison of two talented female emcees, from two different countries that share a first name. Nadia Nakai and Nadia Rose both speak on the fact that no one can step to them, whether lyrically or otherwise. With upbeat rhythms and fast rap patterns one could definitely draw a comparison between their styles of delivery and topic choice, however the visuals to accompany the video could not be more different. Nakai brought the b-girl aspect of hip hop to her video, whereas Rose’s Station is literally at a train station saying that she has the go. Station starts with a uptempo boom-bap pattern beat, and a song that would leave you understanding that she won’t be in the same position, space or even place as she is always on the go. Meanwhile, you cannot forget Nadia Nakai, nor can you get close to have the relentless flow that she professes to use throughout the track. Typical in Nakai fashion Nadia flaunts what she has and challenges anyone who thinks that they can step to her about it.
Meanwhile, Nadia Rose calls out fans who talk about her as if she wont talk about it to their face, and when they do reply they want to keep up and if it weren’t obvious at this point, they cannot. Even down to the more specifics of the beats that they decided to use for the songs are tough, as Nakai’s beat for Like Me sounds like a Swiss beats classic and, Rose’s beat selection sounded like a Neptune’s sound. The overall message trying to be conveyed as previously mentioned is that you cant step to these talented ladies with anything short of amazing. Both Femcees also defy the standard representation of what’s ladylike for an emcee, with the overaggressive crumping in Like Me, and to the aggressive styles in which she tells you that you can’t see her in Station.
Branco’s Turnt is what I would classify as a party song, as the song title suggests. While listening to the song I wanted to dance because of the contrast between a smooth and hard beat. Branco is direct in his lyrics and his message is plain and simple, he is living his life, working hard and making money.The style of the song reminds me of some of the mainstream hip hop in America, celebrating success. To my knowledge, many American hip hop artist come from a struggle or did not have the easiest life. It is very well possible that Branco is no different, as he raps about his daily llife of working hard and getting money.
Although the intent of the song was to be a “club banger”, I cannot dismiss the language used. Women were referred to as b*tches and vulgar language also had a strong presence. I am not attacking the artist’s word choice, as this is not uncommon in hip hop, but women are often objectified and sexualized in music and this song reinforces that. In this course, we discussed gender identity in hip hop as well as sexism . The culture of hiphop is the art of expression. The controversy surounding hip hop music relates to the lack of respect for women, the lack of concious art, as well as the presence of violence. In attemoting to disect the song, I got, live your life and care less about what others have to say. Turnt, put simply, was a song that was meant to be used to turn up and be care free. I think Branco did a pretty good job at tackling that. Because hip hop is an art for expression, the music you make should be represenative of what is important to you at the moment in addition to how you see the world. I think it is safe to assume that Branco is younger and therefore right now he is just enjoying life, as we all should. Stay Turnt!
“Turnt” – Branco
The song I chose to analyze is M.I.A by Sammy Vomits, a South African hip hop artist. The song begins with a period of straight rhythm, no words just beats. Immediately you begin bobbing your head. Then in comes Sammy Vomits, “They say I’ve been missing in action,” at just the right moment. In M.I.A Vomits addresses and denounces the rumors that he has been slacking, while those around him have been busy grinding. Vomits states that he hasn’t been missing but instead he is keeping his plans on the low. Yes, he’s putting in work but he’s not on scene stunting and flaunting all that he’s doing. This song is Vomits way of flexing on his haters: putting in work, by producing music, and still and still belittling his critics. While others are busy focusing on what all he is doing and accomplishing, he’s making moves whether they see notice them or not. I believe Sammy Vomits embodies all that in the delivery of his song. His voice is rough, harsh, and it beats up the track. Vomits is letting all those who ever doubted him know it is not appreciated. I am a fan of roguish, hard music so I really took a liking to Vomits’s song. I especially liked the fact there was a reason to the rhyme, his message served a person. Sammy Vomits did not just wake up one day and decide to brag about all that he’s accomplished, he woke up one day and decided enough was enough. It’s time they know what I’ve accomplished, time they know that I’ve been putting in work. I believe sometimes is to speak your truth when so many of peers believe otherwise. I also believe that’s what hip hop is for, for black people to speak their truth.
True to the form of South African hip hop, Holy Key (Remix) by DJ Khaled ft. Kendrick Lamar and South African artist ShabZi Madallion, is an example of conscious rap. As the song opens, ShabZi Madallion immediately erupts, issuing a powerful first verse laced with metaphors and ill punchlines. Madallion talks about the corruption of prominent people in positions of power and how they are taking advantage of the citizens. But, he even discusses how sometimes it is not the rich and powerful, but merely are own peers who sell us out for profit or gain, yet in reality all they obtain is a loss a freedom. Madallion’s verse highlights many of the key issues that plague the black community. First, we (the black community) are our own worst enemy. In his verse, Madallion states “they breaking even with demons,” illustrating that greed is the seed of all evil. Continuously it us who send our own people to their demise, trying to increase our own social status. Next he discusses how those in power are manipulating and deceiving the people, which has in turn led to anger and mistrust. Soon, there will be no more obedience amongst citizens. Madallion acknowledges that the black community is fed up with government corruption and will soon decide to discontinue being misled and mistreated. Finally, ShabZi Madallion highlights how the churches are exploiting the black community, fooling them to believe they have their best interest at heart but instead are contributing to the success of the exact leaders that are taking advantage of the community. Overall, I believe Madallion’s verse was the best on the song. He made me really feel everything he was saying. It was powerful, real, and the delivery was impeccable. Even though his lyrics were conscious, they were still engaging and riveting.