Stormzy’s global influence brings glory to Ghana!
Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr., known professionally as Stormzy is a British born musician of Ghanaian descent. Stormzy came into popularity in the year 2014 with his freestyles and battle rapping in South London. Stormzy’s reign to popularity was interesting because not only does he rap in English, but he became one of the
“Shad” the Storyteller
Poignant storytelling and vulnerability are two of the core building blocks of hip hop. In my opinion, a tasteful incorporation of both factors lay the groundwork for honest, healing conversations across the diaspora. Not only this, but they also make for raw, honest lyrics that strike a nerve whenever they are heard. It is this
HHAP Episode 46: Rwandan-Canadian MC, Shad, on the Evolution of Hip Hop
Shad is a Kenyan born, Rwandan hip hop artist, who hails from in London, Ontario, in Canada. With an eclectic sound, that blends musical influences, and a unique lyrical style, Shad made a name for himself in the Canadian hip hop scene, winning a Juno in 2010 for his 3rd album, TSOL. In addition to being an MC, Shad also hosted three seasons of the hip hop documentary series, Hip Hop Evolution, which can be seen on HBO Canada and Netflix. The series delves into the history, and evolution, of hip hop culture in the United States. In this interview we talk about Shad’s experience growing up as a Rwandan-Canadian hip hop head and MC. He talks about his career, beginning with his 1st album When This is Over (2005), to his more recent projects. He talks about the different cultural landscapes in Canada, which ultimately influences Canadian hip hop. Shad also talks about the influence of hip hop artists like Drake and K’naan on the international reach of Canadian hip hop. Both very different artists, but both have influenced the visibility of hip hop in Canada in different ways.
Shad also talks about hosting Hip Hop Evolution, the artists he’s interviewed, and some of the insight into hip hop culture that he gained in working on that project. He also talks about his approach to music, as well as the influences of his background and experiences in his music.
The intro song in the podcast is “FamJam”, the closing songs are “Magic” and “The Fool Part 2 from his most recent album, A Short Story About A War.
Shad is on social media at
HHAP Episode 41: Teck-Zilla Talks Hip Hop, Str8buttah & Afropop Breakbeats
The DJ, producer, or beat maker is an important element in hip hop. The beat is the first thing we hear when a song starts, and it is the first clue that our favorite song is about to come on. Hip hop producers usually work with several artists, and some of the more well known producers have their signature styles. In Nigeria, one of those producers is Teck-Zilla, as well as other producers in the Str8buttah camp. Teck-Zilla is a hip hop producer and co-founder of Str8buttah, a hip hop collective that consists of several producers and MCs. In this episode Teck-Zilla talks with us about his own career & influences, the beginnings of Str8buttah, and his approach to beat production. Teck-Zilla has a distinct style. Listen to his beats on his BandCamp page and you will hear his diverse musical influences, from soul and R&B, to Afrobeat, to hip hop. After DJing a breakdance battle in Nigeria, Teck-Zilla produced an entire mixtape of break beats, B-Boy Zilla (A B-Boy Breaks EP) in 2017. In the EP Teck-Zilla turns Afropop tracks into break beats! His BandCamp page also includes remixes and tributes dedicated to artists like Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5, and Nigerian music legends Fela Kuti and Sade. In addition to beats and remix EPs, Teck-Zilla’s work includes production projects with several established and upcoming hip hop artists. Teck-Zilla moves between Nigeria, Canada, & the UK regularly. We were able to catch him while he’s in Lagos working on some new projects. We start the episode with his beat “Dear Summer”, then “Skelewu B-Boys” from the B-Boy Zilla EP. We end the episode with his beat “Summer Zilla” from his EP of the same name. Teck-Zilla also teamed up with Modenine for the recently release album Esoteric Mellow. All of these are available on his BandCamp page: https://str8buttah.bandcamp.com Teck-Zilla is also on social media SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/teck-zilla Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Teckzilla/ Twitter https://twitter.com/TeckZilla108 Instagram https://www.instagram.com/teckzilla108/
HHAP Episode 38: Keko on Hip-Hop V. The Politics of Sexuality in Uganda
Keko is a Ugandan MC and filmmaker who became involved in Uganda’s hip hop scene over than 10 years ago. Her career eventually took her to international audiences, in Africa and in Europe, and included a 2012 deal with Sony. In our conversation, Keko discusses some of the challenges she experienced while living in Uganda. Those challenges revolved around her gender, her sexuality, her international recognition, and her 2012 deal with Sony. We discuss the impact of patriarchy and homophobia on her ability to live and to work. Keko is now living in Toronto and is pursuing a career in filmmaking. Keko insists that she is not trying to be an activist, and is definitely not anyone’s “poster child” for gay rights in Uganda. However, Keko’s music, films, and her coming out are her unapologetically living her life. As a Ugandan woman, she is also using her own lens & perspective to contribute her voice as a creative. Keko is on Twitter at @KEKOTOWN Her film works can be found on VIMEO at https://vimeo.com/user85283017
K’naan: Voice of the Diaspora
15 minutes away by K’naan is a song that many immigrants especially those from the African Diaspora can relate too. It talks about the struggles that people endure in foreign countries while trying to create a better life for themselves. The basis of this struggle is emphasized when K’naan dives into the stress of waiting
Shad the Storyteller
Representation and roots are the foundation for hip hop. Without representation, hip hop would arguably not exist. Further, with culture, comes language. So when Shadrach Kabango, also known as “Shad,” was born in the early 1980s in Kenya, representation too played an integral part not only in his upbringing as a Canadian citizen, but also as a award
Ugandan Rapper and Queer Icon Keko Finds New Home in Canada
Keko Speaks to the Media. Photo from Autostraddle.com The Ugandan rapper and icon Keko raised eyebrows in an interview she gave with PRI during 2017in which she announced that she was queer. This notably garnered international attention as at the same time the crackdown on the queer community by president Museveni was gathering international headlines.
Diaspora based artists like K’Naan, Blitz the Ambassador, M3nsa, Wale, and French Montana, and Tabi Bonney have been covered heavily in this blog. There are several other first and second generation African MCs around the world who have not been covered as much in this blog. As students in the Hip Hop and Social Change
K’Naan – Somalia
KNAAN is an artist who came to the United States as a refugee at the young age of 14. His homeland is the country of Somalia. He is an artist who does a great job of balancing both his African roots as well as his roots in America as an immigrant. The song that I