We sat down with 2 groups of young hip hop artists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The first interview includes Mukimala, Salma, & Catalyst. The second interview includes HIM, Victor the Traveler (who is a producer), & Sima. Both groups have different styles and approaches to hip hop culture. But both groups are among a new generation of Tanzanian MC’s rapping in English, instead of Swahili.
Next month we’ll be doing an entire episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast dedicated to the works of female MCs from all over Africa. If you are an African female MC and would like to have your music included, or you know of someone that needs to be included, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, check out our YouTube playlist of the African women MCs we know about so far.
This post is dedicated to the comparison of two talented female emcees, from two different countries that share a first name. Nadia Nakai and Nadia Rose both speak on the fact that no one can step to them, whether lyrically or otherwise. With upbeat rhythms and fast rap patterns one could definitely draw a comparison between their styles of delivery and topic choice, however the visuals to accompany the video could not be more different. Nakai brought the b-girl aspect of hip hop to her video, whereas Rose’s Station is literally at a train station saying that she has the go. Station starts with a uptempo boom-bap pattern beat, and a song that would leave you understanding that she won’t be in the same position, space or even place as she is always on the go. Meanwhile, you cannot forget Nadia Nakai, nor can you get close to have the relentless flow that she professes to use throughout the track. Typical in Nakai fashion Nadia flaunts what she has and challenges anyone who thinks that they can step to her about it.
Meanwhile, Nadia Rose calls out fans who talk about her as if she wont talk about it to their face, and when they do reply they want to keep up and if it weren’t obvious at this point, they cannot. Even down to the more specifics of the beats that they decided to use for the songs are tough, as Nakai’s beat for Like Me sounds like a Swiss beats classic and, Rose’s beat selection sounded like a Neptune’s sound. The overall message trying to be conveyed as previously mentioned is that you cant step to these talented ladies with anything short of amazing. Both Femcees also defy the standard representation of what’s ladylike for an emcee, with the overaggressive crumping in Like Me, and to the aggressive styles in which she tells you that you can’t see her in Station.
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.
Today on The Hip-Hop African Blog we analyze the comparison between Nigerian rapper Davido’s song “Coolest kid in Africa” featuring, awesome, South African rapper Nasty C and Kenyan pop singer/rapper Stella Mwangi’s song “Koolio.” Both songs are exciting and begin with catchy beats, however, where Davido’s “Coolest kid in Africa” starts low and slow, with heavy bass and a sick trap beat drop, Stella’s “Koolio” picks up the pace with a faster electro-hop beat that is reminiscent of Pitbull’s I” I Know You Want Me.”
In Davido’s song “ Coolest kid in Africa” he describes that the reasons that he is the coolest are that he is both rich and connected, has enough money to change your life, if you let him, and because of the amount of women who choose to accompany him wherever he goes. Whereas, Stella in “Koolio” describes her “Koolness” as a product of her awesome life, which you should already know about, because of her gangsta style, though she does profess to not be a gangsta. Additionally, she suggests that you should not try to hinder her style or movements, because she keeps her Kool cooler that Coolio, which is not only a metaphor for being the pinnacle of coolness, but also a reference to famous 90’s Hip Hop Artist Coolio, who was known for not only his Coolness but his gangsta lifestyle, point of reference “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
The biggest comparison between the two can be found in Nasty C’s verse on the “Coolest kid in Africa” which connects the party vibe of knowing how cool he is, much like how Stella professes her coolness as a fact before the song, to the concept of finding out how cool he is like Davido suggests throughout the song. Two braggadocio songs professing to how cool the other is based on previous memory of their exploits.
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.
*This is a student podcast that was done as a final project on the topic of feminism in hip hop.
A Podcast from Reese Hood and Joseph Wilson.
A femcee is a female rapper. She is no different than anyone else, except she is a woman brave enough to step up to the mic in such a male dominated industry. Hip hop is hyper masculine and feeds on the over sexualization of the Black woman. In hip hop, women are seen as sexual objects or mere accessories to the tough emcees for braggadocious purposes. Having to deal with the negative societal characterization of Black women and then to turn to the art form especially for Black expression where the negative objectification of your being is done by your so called “brother” in the struggle can be a hard path to navigate. But Femcees like Nadia Rose and Stella Mwangi are reclaiming their sexual power and using hip hop as their medium of expression and redefining the role of Black woman in hip hop.
Nadia Rose is a London born, Ghanaian descent femcee. Her video “Skwod” is filled with bright colors, and an all female dance crew that are bopping down London streets. Mixed with a funky beat and lyrics that focus on how Nadia Rose is the best rapper and she’s the realest. She preaches sisterhood by being the protector of her “skwod.”
Stella Mwangi is a Kenyan femcee. Here video “Bad As I Wanna Be” is filled with her being just that, Bad! (but in a good sense!) Kenya and East Africa as a whole is a very conservative area where the norms for women are very strict, and Mwangi challenges this as she dons shorts in the video and uses profanity.
Both femcees are wearing very casual, American type clothing that is feminine but not making their bodies the object. They both employ the use of a creative background scenery to add to the overall image of their song. Mwangi uses the back drop of the “hood” in Kenya and Rose takes us on a stroll around the block in London. Both artists are confident in who they are. They know who they are, are going to continue being who they are, and don’t care if anyone doesn’t like it.
Female emcees in Africa are challenging the traditional roles of Women in hip hop while also changing the direction of the feminist/womenist movements through their lyrics, and sexuality. Different artists have taken different approaches to challenging these norms. Some embrace the power of hyper- sexuality while some shy away from it, and take a more subtle approach to expressing their sexual liberation.
In Eva Alordiah’s video “Double Double” she challenges many gender norms often inflicted upon female emcees. Her half shaved hair cut, and gold chains definitely make a bold statement, also her camo shirt and bright purple lipstick shows that she is somewhat neutral in her expression of her sexuality. While she is not parading around scantily clad she is still exuding a sense of femininity while spitting solid bars. Her confident delivery may be perceived as being un-ladylike, her wide stances and hand gestures are not typically viewed as feminine. Alordiah’s lyrics are witty without being raunchy. Her use of the rihanna sample of “pour it up” makes the song a nice mix between hard core rap, and a more pop vibe.
In Patty Monroe’s video for “High Fashion” she adheres more to the conventional roles of female sexuality in hip hop. She is wearing more form fitting and slightly revealing clothes while doing things that bring more attention to certain areas of her body. Monroe is very upfront with her use of her sexuality, her lyrics include many sexual innuendo’s which at the same challenges some of the gender roles that assume sexually explicit lyrics are mutually exclusive to male emcees. Eva Alordiah and Patty Monroe both challenge the traditional roles assumed for female emcees through their lyrics, and different displays of female sexuality. They go against the grain in order to continue to excel in their craft in a male dominated field.