HHAP Episode 26: Hip Hop Studies at Black Universities in the U.S.

This episode is an African Studies palaver on teaching hip hop related courses at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The discussion focused on approaching hip hop studies from African centered perspectives, as well the impact of those courses being taught at HBCUs on their structure and content.

Leading the discussion are hip hop professors/activists who are teaching hip hop related courses and participating in important dialogues within hip hop studies.

Greg Carr @AfricanaCarr‏ Howard University

Tewodross Melchishua Williams Bowie State University

Jared Ball @IMIXWHATILIKE  Morgan State University

Moderator: Msia Kibona Clark @kibona Howard University

The event was held at Howard University and was sponsored by the Department of African Studies and the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center.

Music by Sa-Roc: http://sarocthemc.com | @sarocthemc | facebook.com/sarocthemc/

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 26: Hip Hop Studies at Black Universities in the U.S.”

HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity

This interview with Ugandan artist Ruyonga, formerly known as Krukid, is an in-depth discussion on the artist’s perspective on the Black experience, relations between African Americans and Africans in America, his issues with the Black Panther film, being a Christian MC, and his perspective on laws and politics in Uganda.

Ruyonga studied in the U.S. in the early 2000s. He began rapping in Uganda before coming to the States, and he established an underground career in the U.S. and became known for his distinct sound and strong lyrical ability. After almost a decade in the US, Ruyonga returned to Uganda. He changed his name to Ruyonga and built his career as a Christian rapper.

After a long stay Ruyonga has an interesting perspective on being an African immigrant in America, and the tensions between African and African American communities. He talks about those tensions from an African immigrant perspective, and comments on the diverse racial and ethnic dynamics he saw in different parts of the United States. The conversation turns towards pop culture and race and Ruyonga has strong feelings about the Black Panther and the representations of Africans in the film, and Hollywood’s presentation of the Black experience.

Ruyonga also opens up about his views on race, Black pride, and feminism, as well as his views on the ways different groups of people have been pitted against each other. Part of the conversation includes the artist’s views on some of Uganda’s more controversial laws regarding women and sexuality, especially the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Still a strong lyricist, Ruyonga now uses Christianity as the vehicle with which to express his lyricism. His latest release is Voice Of My Father, and follows an impressive body of work that spans over 10 years. Ruyonga is on

BandCamp at https://ruyonga.bandcamp.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ruyonga/482094271

Twitter: @ruyongamusic

Episode Breakdown
7:30 “African American, American African”
9:30 “Pearl City Anthem”
11:45 “Hand of God”
12:40 Background and move to the US
14:00 The Black Experience
15:15 African & African American relations
23:42 The Black Panther movie & Hollywood
29:33 Black pride, feminism
32:00 The return to Uganda
35:45 Language
37:18 Christianity & politics

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity”

Episode 23 Promo

13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival: Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest”

Hip hop, music genre developed in the 1970s by inner-city African Americans from the Bronx, New York city, consists of conscious lyrics which often bluntly address social, political, or economic issues. The nature of hip hop is explicit, authentic, and genuine, and now after decades of diffusion and cultural spreading, the art form perseveres to survive even in areas where censorship and limitation of expression run deep. On April 6th 2018, during the Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” at the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, Howard University’s Dr. Msia Kibona Clark moderated a group of hip hop artists from all over the world who discussed the condition of media censorship of hip hop in the realm of social change and political discourse.

Dana Burton, a hip hop pioneer and influencer in China asserts that the supposed ban on hip hop in China was simply “fake news.” Burton went on to explain the reaches of Chinese censorship, exemplifying the Chinese ban on the ‘Free Tibet movement.’ In summary, anything that violates national integrity remains off limits in China. For example, videos which include the Tibet flag are banned and individuals are forbidden from using the word ‘Tibet’ in public or media settings.

Another panelist, MC Puos is a hip hop journalist who cofounded china’s first hip hop magazine, Bang. He discussed his upbringing in Detroit and referenced his understanding of words, communication, and censorship, and the unspoken rule of limited self-expression as a youth. A person could lose their life by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person: a realization that showcased the strength of words.

Panelist Emile YX?, a journalist, author, playwright, b-boy, and member of Black Noise, (one of the first hip hop groups in South Africa) discussed the current censorship is South Africa. As a solution to the suppression of black voices in South African Media, YX? proposed that black people create their own markets and industries. His project, Heal the Hood focusses on dismantling the Eurocentric monopolization of the capitalist society by supporting our own businesses. Overall the event was an enlightening intellectual experience.

One Year Later: Wale’s “Fine Girl” is Still a Hit!!

It’s been about a year since Wale has released his 6th studio album SHINE and one of his main singles “Fine Girl” still resonates with me. I love the song so much because the Nigerian-raised artist really represents his roots here. The term “fine girl” is often used in Nigerian and other African cultures to describe a beautiful woman. Wale definitely has ‘endless fine girls’ in his video as it is filled with myriad beautiful women from the Diaspora in a variety of shades and sizes wearing Ankara attire, showing off their killer dance moves as they wave their flags from Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia and other African countries. Continue reading “One Year Later: Wale’s “Fine Girl” is Still a Hit!!”

Wale’s “My Sweetie” and the blending and mixing of the African Diaspora

African identity and culture remain omnipresent and inescapable in all aspects of life, pervading even Eurocentric spaces of art, music and self-expression. As a result, African artist within the diaspora reflect their roots consciously, and often even subconsciously, as Africa presents itself within any channel. Born and raised in Northwest, Washington, D.C, the Nigerian-American hip-hop artist, Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, popularly known as Wale, proudly embodies his Nigerian heritage as well as his culture as a black man of the African diaspora in the music video of his 2010 hit, My Sweetie, through his lyrics, beats, mannerisms, and cast choice. Continue reading “Wale’s “My Sweetie” and the blending and mixing of the African Diaspora”

Liberian’s American Based Artist Stays True to the Diaspora

Liberia’s well known hip hop artists Mdot, migrated to the United States when he was just four years old. Although he left his native country at a young age, he uses his platform in Philadelphia to recount the horrifying nature of the Liberian civil war.

In a sense, Mdot serves as a voice for those who struggled during the conflict and afterward. He mainly raps in standard English, rather than  koloqua(liberia’s local patois), so both Liberians and Americans are able to enjoy his music. His sepia colored memory of the continent and his experiences in America helps to shape his lyrical purpose. Mdot’s themes about Liberia, his impoverished environment in Philadelphia, and the daily struggle of being black in America, creates highly relatable lyrics that resonates with a wide audience. Continue reading “Liberian’s American Based Artist Stays True to the Diaspora”

Little Simz Reflects On Her Struggles in “Gratitude” Visual

UK-based rapper, Little Simz, chronicles the struggles both herself and her community face in the video for her 2015 single, “Gratitude.”

Little Simz, originally from Nigeria, connects with her African heritage throughout the video. She utilizes clips of student protests that took place in Cape Town in 2015 to further emphasize the abstract idea of struggle. In one of the clips, a protester is saying that “education is not a privilege, it is a right.” In 2015, students at South African universities protested against the increase in tuition fees and demanded that they be cut by at least 11%. In “Gratitude”, Little Simz says:

“Put my feet in the studio and call it my home
While others have got no way out/”

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Diasporia Artist – Jidenna’s Long Live the Chief

Other diaspora artists like Wale and Skepta seek to incorporate aspects of their family’s culture to the culture that they have grew up in. For example, Wale’s identification as a DMV artist does not stop him from incorporating elements of go-go music, while making references to Nigerian culture in his songs. However, Jidenna is markedly different from other diaspora artists because he not only integrates his Nigerian culture into his music, but into his fashion and entire image.  Continue reading “Diasporia Artist – Jidenna’s Long Live the Chief”

Nigerian Tings

You might know UK based Grime artist Jme better as the younger brother of his older sibling, Skepta. The two grew up in Tottenham, a neighborhood of North London, but the parents of Jamie (Jme) and Joseph (Skepta) Adenuga originate from Nigeria, and the brothers’ upbringing had been heavily influenced by their African background.

Continue reading “Nigerian Tings”