African Hip Hop Film Series

This winter California State University, Los Angeles is holding an African Hip Hop Film Series. The films feature hip hop scenes from all over Africa, including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. All films are free and open to the public. For more information contact Msia Clark @


Hip Hop & Diaspora: Connecting the Arab Spring

Hip Hop & Diaspora: Connecting the Arab Spring by Lara Dotson-Renta

Every evolution has a certain style of music connected to it. The recent and still on-going pro-democracy movements now popularly known as the “Arab Spring’ has been accompanied by a very strong musical components, and it has been hip-hop that has become the most iconic and widespread soundtrack of the Arab Spring and, interestingly, it is having the double effect of helping to mobilize activists in the countries directly impacted by the pro-democracy movements while also solidifying links between Arab diasporic communities in the West with those still residing in the ‘homeland.’ The article also examined the now infamous song Rais Lebled by Tunisian rapper El Général in detail.

Can hip hop change Africa?

Contrary to the popular opinion in the US that hip hop is dead, when it comes to hip hop in Africa, it represents a totally different sentiment.  While corporations like Viacom created a rap culture which has no purpose and looks outside of itself for direction, if you look at any major African country like Senegal and Kenya, you will find the music as it once was in the USA. Due to its newness of the music form and growing accessibility of it, hip hop is now the voice of the new generation of Africans and youth have begun to adapt and use it as a vehicle to change the world around them.

African Hip Hop and Politics of Change in an Era of Rapid Globalization

The article written by Mwenda Ntarangwi titled African Hip Hop and Politics of Change in an Era of Rapid Globalization shows how African hip hop artists address social and political issues in their songs. The writer gives credit to globalization for the emergence of hip hop in Africa. The writer writes how African hip hop has gained popularity because the youth comprise a huge percentage of the total population of Africa. The youth, the author says, use hip hop “…to express and represent their lived experiences, to formulate the relationship between Africa and the West, to challenge the practices and policies of their own governments, and to paint a picture of the kind of society in which they desire to live.” Hip hop gives the youth the empowerment and representation they lack due to the African culture already in place that marginalizes them. The author also recounts the evolution of African hip hop from being an imitation of American hip hop to being a culture of its own and the various factors that shaped it.

Ntarangwi, Mwenda. “African Hip Hop and Politics of Change in an Era of Rapid Globalization.” History Compass 8.12 (2010): 1316-1327.