Exploring Lyrical & Artistic Feminism: Botswana’s Hip-Hop Star, Sasa Klaas

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The Hip-Hop industry, like many others within patriarchal societies, remains male-dominated. However, the growing presence of talented female artists who challenge and question the status quo and defy gender roles with their lyrics lends hope to a future of non-gender-biased music. Sarona Motlhagodi, more popularly known as her stage name, Sasa Klaas, is a hip-hop star from Botswana who embraces her femininity and sexuality, while dispelling negative or limiting conceptions about women. Continue reading “Exploring Lyrical & Artistic Feminism: Botswana’s Hip-Hop Star, Sasa Klaas”

Botswana’s Hip-hop Star, Enigma Pushes for Social Change

Although many understand hip-hop as simply a music genre consisting of rap and electronic beats, in actuality, hip-hop is an urban art form that depicts reality in the form of skillful lyricism designed to expose social issues and produce political change. The candid nature of hip-hop propels artists to shed light on pressing issues, and challenge, chastise, or address society’s shortcomings. Botswana’s Lebo Tsiako, more popularly known by her stage name, Enigma, is a talented hip-hop artist and emcee who both confronts and defies the stereotypes and prejudices which are embedded into a male-dominated society. Continue reading “Botswana’s Hip-hop Star, Enigma Pushes for Social Change”

Apollo Diablo’s ‘Rep Ur Hood,’: Representing Botswana and Hip-Hop Culture

In the 1970s, Bronx, New York, a city heavily saturated with people of color birthed a vibrant and meaningful underground movement of conscious rap, now known as ‘hip-hop.’ Decades later the movement has spread throughout the globe, mixing and meshing with different cultures and creating lively lyrical art all over the world. African hip-hop is a particularly unique fusion of cultures, harmonizing the African-American culture which retains heavy African influences with the African narrative. Botswana’s very own Apollo Diablo portrays hip-hop culture in his music, all the while representing his own Botswanan culture and celebrating his roots. Continue reading “Apollo Diablo’s ‘Rep Ur Hood,’: Representing Botswana and Hip-Hop Culture”

To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…

To rap in one language is impressive, two rap in two is incredible—but to rap in two languages at the same time in the same verse? Well that’s just called Kast, and as someone who can’t even rap in their native language, there seems no end to the impressive escapades of the Botswanan rapper. Continue reading “To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…”

Botswana’s Dramaboi & His Artful Command of Language

Within the heart of African Hip-Hop lies a blend of cultures and traditions reflected through artful use of smooth mixtures of languages, both native and foreign, and tongues both intimate and mainstream. Thuto Ricardo Ramphaleng, more commonly known by his stage name, Dramaboi, is a young Botswanan Motswako hip-hop artist from the townships whose fluid mastery of the English language and command of his mother-tongue Zulu as well as various pigeon dialects allow him to skillfully relay deep and touching sentiments, even to those who do not fully understand all the languages spoken. In Dramaboi’s 2017 hit, Conversation with Mama, the young rapper recreates a hopeful heart-to-heart between he and his mother, switching from English to Zulu to slang with ease, always using the right phrasing, language, and dialect to make his music flavorful and his message heard. Continue reading “Botswana’s Dramaboi & His Artful Command of Language”

F E M A L E

How does an Under Armour commercial display the full potentiality of feminine athleticism and power? They could set the whole video to a Sampa the Great song, for one.

A Zambian-born, Botswanan-raised artist with a point to prove, Sampa the Great has distinguished herself as not only one of Africa’s great female MCs, but one of the world’s great MCs— female or not— and her music serves to support this claim. Embracing the role of feminist inspiration and all-around skilled MC, Sampa the Great’s F E M A L E possesses a powerful and uplifting message about the power of women around the world. Its lines acknowledge just how much respect women deserve in a society that constantly allows accomplished females to go unrecognized. She also mentions the power in African women, and the importance of recognizing our roots and how they contribute to our strength. She mentions the power of women struggling economically, the power of women fighting everyday to reach their goals, and the power of women to get out and continue to achieve more. Continue reading “F E M A L E”

Gendered Representations of Enigma’s “Hard on Flow”

Botswana artist, Enigma Tsiako, is a woman MC that has risen to the forefront of hip-hop in the past decade. Much like the method by which other female MCs, Enigma has been featured in cyphers in order to showcase her skill. Additionally, Enigma has a repertoire that shows her pride in being a woman with lyrics about body positivity, being proud of where she is from, and encouraging words that combat patriarchy. The versatility of her work shows her ability to go against what women are stereotypically considered to be. She does not shy away from profanity, talking about her “African Bum,” and actively calling out men in hip hop in her country. Continue reading “Gendered Representations of Enigma’s “Hard on Flow””

A Luta Continua in “African Time”

In anticipation for Zeus’s fourth album “Pieces of the Now” after signing with Sony Music Africa in 2017, let’s roll back the clock a little…
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With his third album, “African Time” (2013), Botswanan-born emcee Zeus (AKA Game Goabaone Bantsi) established himself as a true conscious hip-hop artist. Throughout the album, Zeus’s verses, predominantly delivered in English and Setswana, brim with current and intellectual and allusions. In a 2015 interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Edu, Zeus professed his desire to end the xenophobic social traditions that continue to haunt the South (e.g. South African and Botswanan relations) and embark on a new path of African brotherhood and unity. Continue reading “A Luta Continua in “African Time””

Social Message in “Pula” by Steez ft. King Tux

Artist from Botswana, Steez, has become synonymous with prideful but critical messages in his rhymes. The late artist, was able to share some of these messages in many of his songs prior to his recent passing. The song titled, “Pula” is introduced during the 50th celebration of Botswana’s independence. Pula, meaning blessings, is a representation of the pride that the citizens of Botswana should have, and appreciate the accomplishments that have been made in the present semi centennial. The first indication of the appreciation of Botswana culture, is the use of Tswana language with a mixture of English. Using both languages is symbolic of uniting cultures that used to be opposed, or a result of Botswana being a protectorate of Great Britain. This tradition of Motswako rap has been a key characteristic of connecting to one’s own roots while still delivering a unifying message.

Continue reading “Social Message in “Pula” by Steez ft. King Tux”

Ozi F Teddy: Connections between hip-hop and local culture in “Ring the Alarm” music video

As a young, but seasoned, artist from Botswana, Ozi F Teddy has been responsible for hits for many years now. One of his most recent projects, Lord Summer, features a mix of beats and context that attracts global fans. The young artist has no doubt shown that his music transcends Botswana and local cultures by remixing songs from American artists, and using similar trends in the realm of fashion, lingo, and visuals. Continue reading “Ozi F Teddy: Connections between hip-hop and local culture in “Ring the Alarm” music video”