Posted in Africa, Female Emcees, Hip Hop African Article, South Africa

Nadia Nakai – Like Me vs Nadia Rose – Station

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.

Nadia Rose – Station [Official Video]

Nadia Nakai – Like Me

Posted in Africa, Hip Hop References

It’s A Party : A Review of Turnt by Branco

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

Posted in Africa, South Africa

Sammy Vomits – M.I.A

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.

Posted in Africa, Diaspora, South Africa

ShabZi Madallion Holy Key

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.

Posted in Africa, Diaspora, Ghana, Podcasts, Student Projects

Student Project: “Where’s Your Head at Man” Hip Hop Podcast

Links to songs (feature order) in podcast:

Kendrick Lamar – Fear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vugzjmC-7U

Joey Badass – World Domination (#7, 1999) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNat6iJB5So

Manifest ft Wanlov – Gentleman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36ZSEp_aTTA

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.

Wanlov

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.

 

 

Reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7OcGS6sV8E&index=10&list=PLB0CHpQ4oP8JEP_BPID8TDBGEe24SeV0B

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmzV3AXKp88&index=9&list=PLB0CHpQ4oP8JEP_BPID8TDBGEe24SeV0B