In terms of style and delivery AKA is almost synonymous with Jay Z in that their familiar rap patterns let you know that this track is about to be amazing. Meanwhile Drake has developed his own sound within Young Money under Lil Wayne and with a similar connotation to the naming of the tracks we can see that Thank me Now would be just as effective as Congratulate me. In Congratulate me AKA has to take the time to congratulate himself for how far he’s made since he started, Meanwhile, Drake in thank me now comes of as a little more cocky and prepared, thanking the listener directly and giving them ample opportunity to thank him for a song well done. While the topics are very similar, as previously dictated in the post, the way they give permission to give them thanks and a pat on the back for a job well done, couldn’t be any more different in their delivery. “Hold your applause, this is your song, not mine,” “On the bed, on the floor, now congratulate me.” The songs are also a critical look at self from Drake and AKA analyzing the lives that they lead up to this point in their respective careers. As can be expected of any performance art there are times that an artist can perform in front of 40 people or 400 people either way they need to perform as if they’ve packed out Maddison Square Garden. There is also the process of becoming a household name which takes not only time but proper preparation and relationships. Now that AKA can be heard on the radio as well as Drake, at least in the context of this post, you can feel the similar motif which is simply support and congratulate both artist on a job well done.
The power of women on the hip hop scene is growing each day in Africa. Female hip hop artist often struggle to get there music and art pushed into the mainstream of a genre that has been historically male dominated. I believe this is the reason that these women are producing more revolutionary hip hop art. Two artist that have made particularly creative music videos are Little Simz, who hails from London but is born to Nigerian parents, and Patty Monroe, who was born and raised in South Africa. These artist show very different sides of the artistic spectrum in the themes they convey and hopefully this blog can give some insight into their messages.
“Tonight” by African American and Ghanaian artist Prince Kofi is the perfect club bop. As the song came on and the beat dropped, I could not fight the urge to want to dance. The beat rose and fell in all the right places to make your hips move with it, and the way Kofi’s melodic voice danced over the track only made me want to dance more. The song describes an amusing, eventful night that is centered around a tale of cat and mouse. Kofi asserts that he is in need of a particular someone, a need he plans to satisfy by the end of the night. While listening to this song I couldn’t help but picture a man and a woman in a club, both distantly lusting over each other while seemingly having the time of their lives. It made me feel like I was in the club, staring my lover in the eye, daintily asking him to save me from whoever it is I’m “enjoying” at the moment. The song is fun, lively, and describes the perfect weekend experience. It is the song you turn on when it’s Friday and your finally off work or out of school and are ready for for the surprises the night will bring. “Tonight” is not a “woke,” conscious song that speaks about social injustices, which is not outside the norm for Ghanaian artist. But, one thing I could not help but notice was the similarity to U.S. artist, which probably can be attributed to the fact that Prince Kofi is African American. Kofi’s song sounded like an everyday tune, something you hear playing on the radio or as you are browsing through department stores. It’s that feel good, get out of the slumps, and sing to the top of you lungs type of song.
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.
This is episode 10 of the podcast, and the second in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode was a panel titled “Independent and Political Hip Hop in Cuba” with Pedro Vidal of the Cuban Soul Foundation in Miami, Florida and hip hop artists David D Omni and Escuadron Patriota, who live in Cuba. The panel was an interesting discussion on hip hop and the state in Cuba.
The two videos I selected for my fourth blog was Kisses by Fifi Cooper and Skwod by Nadia Rose. Fifi Cooper was born in South Africa and Nadia Rose was born in London, England. I selected these two artists for very specific reasons. They were chosen as the focus of my post because of the ways differences in the ways in which they express their womanhood. Fifi Cooper upholds the roles of what many would expect from women throughout the world. Cooper constantly sings about love. However, Nadia Rose, on the other hand, in the song Skwod displays a very hardened and masculine image, often frowned upon in many societies. In the videography, Rose wears a jump suit, as she raps about her crew. In her lyrics she states that she has the capacity to kill anyone with her flows, and that her rap verses are like punch lines. Rose was not afraid to tell people that she was their worst nightmare.
Society often forces people into particular boxes. Those who do not agree with or are unable to fit within these categories can become ostracized and judged for their decisions. Women all around the globe often find themselves considering the impact of their decisions on their friends, family, and society. This same pressure is often not placed on men, who are frequently encouraged to act on their impulses and enjoy the wonders of life. Rose strays very far from traditional ideologies of womanhood, but comfortable in her aggression and independence. The artist, Cooper, differed entirely from Nadia. as deemed for women. Even her style differs from Rose, she spends time to ensure she appears beautiful and even wears clothing to show her body; this differed significantly from Rose who style of choice was loose clothing and sneakers. Even in Rose’s musical lyrics she discusses hanging with her crew and getting into fights, this is behavior Cooper would never agree with. On the alternative, Cooper discusses love and kisses, throughout her entire song.. In the opening seen of Cooper song Kisses, she is applying lip stick and constantly looking at herself in the mirror. They even emphasize her vanity by showing her with a telephone shapes as a pair of lips. When comparing the two women, Cooper seems to comply to societies typical gender norms, which describe women as being emotional creatures, unable to separate their emotions from their normal day to day activities. These two videos were both very interesting to compare, as they showed differences in gender roles within society.
For the purpose of today’s blog post I analyzed “Nothing to Lose” by K’naan ft. Nas. “Nothing to Lose” is basically of story of how both artist, K’naan and Nas, have overcame the adversaries of there childhood and, therefore, have nothing to lose because they came from nothing. Throughout the song K’naan constantly mentions the roguishness of Somalia. He alludes to the Somalian civil war and what it was like growing up in the streets of Somalia. In “Nothing to Lose” K’naan outlines the life of a childhood soldier. In his first verse he begins talking about how, who I believe is, himself and how he got caught with cocaine. He goes on to state “Hut, hut to the block soldiers, buck, buck to the cop vultures, nope, no I don’t know pilots, nigga I know pirates, violence the islands, shout out to my idrens, put your hands up like it’s a mother fuckin’ siren.” These few lines almost completely summarize how K’naan views Somalia. He sites a chant commonly said amongst soldiers, “hut, hut,” portraying the war taking place on his block. He alludes to the police flocking to retrieve the numerous dead bodies and the retaliation the people showed to them. He acknowledges the poverty of Somalia, stating “no I don’t know pilots,” highlighting that the country is too poor for aircrafts. Yet, he knows pirates, which is formally defined as a person who attacks and robs ships at sea. And finally, K’naan calls the children to action, portraying the village aspect of their community and how the youth are the pillars of change, but unfortunately also showing how the vicious cycle continues. The chorus of “nothing to Lose” asserts that K’naan has nothing to left. What he is saying is, Somalia gave him nothing. K’naan represented how his country took so much from him, but in the end offered nothing in return.
Diaspora is the dispersion of any people from their original homeland.
When coming to America, and being treated as an outsider it is to want to assimilate to America culture. So many people and artist are willing to sacrifice their culture to ensure they “make it” in the music industry. It takes a very strong artist and a very proud artist to remain true to him/her self through the adversity. M.anifest is one of those rappers! He came to America to get an education and was faced with much adversity, from the way he spoke to the way he dress. M.anifest stayed trued to himself and respected his homeland through his entire career and time at the university. His music stays true to his heritage, while at the same time describes his experiences with American culture yet relates it back to his home culture.
In his song, “Coming to America”, Manifest uses his lyrics to paint a picture of his hometown in a way that makes you feels like you are there. He talks about the way his mother used to cook and smile at him. The customs in his community and the ideals he is used. M.anifest even describes the way he grew up and how happy, human, and free he felt in Ghana.
Next, his song “Cupid Crooked”, describes the Ghana ideals and perspective on social issues. In order to honor his homeland and his origins, he dresses traditionally in all of his music videos. Secondly, he stays true to culture with his dances and innuendos. No matter what song you are listening to, you can feel and see that he is a Ghana man to the core.
M.anifest shows the next generation of Ghana rappers to be proud of where they come from. He teaches Americans that there is so much more to Africa than the disparity posted on our screen. Most importantly he teaches everyone that you can remain to true to yourself and still prosper.