Reggie Rockstone is one of the pioneers of hiplife in Ghana. In this conversation, he discusses how as a Pan Africanist, his perspective influenced his participation in hip hop culture in Ghana. He talks about the importance of popularizing the use of African languages through music, and how he helped to popularize the use of Twi in Ghanaian hiplife and hip hop. He discusses the importance of African languages in reaffirming pride, breaking colonial mentalities, and bridging class divides. Reggie Rockstone also talks about his own Pan Africanist upbringing, and the impact of his Diaspora experiences, as well as those of his father and African American mother.
Scientific was born in Bong County, Liberia but he grew up in Ghana in a refugee camp due to the first and second civil wars happening in his hometown. Like your average school kid, the young rapper once aspired to be a doctor but it was not until high school that Scientific found passion and purpose in hip-hop. He became infatuated with artists like Nas and Biggie Smalls, so much so that he wrote down their lyrics and memorized them. He believed that if he studied them close enough he could figure out what it takes to become a rapper of high rank, essentially they set the standard for the work he was looking to produce in his rap career.
At the brink of his artistry, Scientific’s first success as a rapper was in high school where he won best lyricist in a rap competition. Shortly after that he held titles like best street rapper and Africa’s best rapper.
It was only a matter of time before Scientific rose to fame. He has been consistently growing in his career and has won countless awards. By the time of 2016, the rapper had claimed his third LMA ( Liberia Music Award) for best hip hop artists. The rap artist went from aspiring to be like Nas, to dropping hit singles, to opening shows for multiple notable hip hop icons like Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Akon and other artists who performed in Ghana, and is still producing work for his Liberian fan base and fan base around the world.
Taking a look at where the rap artist is now, according to one of Scientific’s latest hits, he ‘ain’t got time this year’.The song provides insight to some of the struggles the rapper has had to face growing up in Africa and suggests that he has prevailed through the all things he has been exposed to, “ This life taught me a lesson, 0 to 100, it’s a blessing”.
In this interview M.anifest talks about his return to Ghana and his experiences in both the US and Ghana. As an artist whose music reflects Ghanaian, African, and Diaspora experiences and cultures, M.anifest brings an important level of intellectual complexity to hip hop culture. When I point these things out in the interview, M.anifest says that he does not want to “be an alternative to the mainstream, but to be an alternative in the mainstream”. In the interview M.anifest talks about how his return (& his experiences in both the US and Ghana) has been reflected in his music. He discusses the music industries & creative scenes in the US and in Ghana, African MCs in the US hip hop scene, his impact on the hip hop & music scene in Ghana, and his collaborations with other artists, including the late South African hip hop artist, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP).
In this episode we begin with a look back, musically, at Manifest’s career. We begin with the song “Africa Represent” from his 2007 album Manifestations, then “Motion Picture” from the 2011 album Immigrant Chronicles: Coming to America, and his 2016 single “God MC”. We will end the show with the song “Hand Dey Go, Hand Dey Come” from his 2016 album Nowhere Cool.
Website: http://manifestmc.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manifestations/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/manifestive Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/manifestmc Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manifestive/ iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/m-anifest/1377111213
In this episode we speak with Ghanian-born, U.S. based artist Laura Lora. In the interview, Laura Lora talks about her experiences an artist, navigating between Ghana and the United States. Growing up in Los Angeles has definitely influenced her music and style, as she talks about being Ghanian and American. Laura Lora, who majored in Black Studies in college, also talks about her experiences in the African American community, and with the divide between Africans and Africans Americans in the United States.
Her music and work has also placed her in conversations around gender and sexuality, where she chooses to confront ideas on how African, or Ghanian women should dress and behave. In this interview she also addresses ideas of beauty and femininity, which she has also chosen to challenge.
Laura Lora is very conscious and intentional about her music, and the messages she wants to send. She is very intentional about her confrontations with gender and identity. Her most recent video for the song “Rebel” blends hip hop, femininity, Ghanian ascetics, and American sounds and visuals. The colorful video is clear in its expression of all of these identities.
You can find Laura lora on:
The song BRKN LNGWJZ by FOKN Bois is a song that really embodies the discussion revolving around the use of different languages in social settings. FOKN Bois is a Ghanaian rap group that consists of Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa. In this song, Wanlov and M3nsa talk about what makes them who they are and what things are important to their identity. Throughout the song they rap in english as well as simultaneously using a dialect of english, Twi (a dialect spoken in Ghana) words. The use of language in this song is to aid them in revealing their identities. Continue reading “Dialects of Hip-Hop”
Every artist from Ghana has their own special kind of style. I came across Sarkodie and instantly became very interested in his particular sound. Sarkodie has a way of entwining English and Ghanian slang together with such a nice flow that makes you think oh snap let me hear something else. One song that stuck out to me the most was Adonai, he talks about the powers of God the almighty, how he was saved from his troubled past by the lord. Continue reading “Sarkodie”
Crowned King of Ghana Hip-Hop in 2017, M.anifest is nothing to play with. He is known for being a triple threat in the music business, as he is a rapper, singer, and songwriter. In most of his crafts he incorporates both his native tongue and English. An example of this is from one of his new songs, his single, Me No Woa (You and I) feat. King Promise. From the looks of it, this song is speaking about his grind interfering with his relationship. Apparently, he’s been gone for some time, focusing on his music career, living the life of a popular musician and neglection is surfacing… Continue reading “M.anifest Touches the Heart with New Single ‘Me Ne Woa’”
Blitz the Ambassador was born in Ghana. Growing up he idolized Nas. After gaining notoriety after recording part of the song “Deeba”. One of his songs, recorded in the states, “Dikembe” is a clear ode to his heritage. While he employs Nas-like verse form and style, his lyrics clearly put Africa in the spotlight. A critical line in the song is: “The African attack, Yese wo kum apim a apim beva, chale koko da, let me translate: you can’t fuck with us” is subtly saying “back off” to European/the west in general. He means that Africa has something important to offer and its artists should be valued. In the music video he wears African fabric on his shoulders, making it known that he is proud of his heritage. Another line that has fantastic historical meaning is inserted into his song: “spitting at these lames, watch them touch down in Africa, get snatched for their chains.” This lyric has many layers. One of them might be the fact that Africans and black culture are rarely credited and recognized. Too often their work is stolen or used without mention of its influence. Chains can refer to the stereotypical rapper sporting gold chains, but it also alludes to slavery and the diaspora itself. Blitz the Ambassador clearly knows that his success is partly due to his move to the United States. While his lyrics in this song might not show it, he demonstrates American influence through his clothes. In this video he wears a baseball cap, jeans, and a black shirt. He combines this with an African print scarf, which shows a blending of two worlds. He also references another famous African figure that is popular in the US, Dikembe. Dikembe Mutombo is a basketball player in the United States and is known for his Internet meme. Blitz the Ambassador shows he knows how music is transnational and crosses borders with this line: “I’m in Morroco, penning another classic for the masses.”
Stormzy whose real name is Micheal Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo is a Ghanaian-British rapper who is currently based in the UK. He has a large fan base throughout the UK with many No 1 singles and a UK No 1 album titled Gang Signs & Prayer. His album Gang Signs and Prayer is nothing short from phenomenal and inspiring. In this album, he sheds the light on living in a society where all odds are against him. But he was able to use Rap to overcome the temptations and danger that come with living in a gang prone locality. Continue reading “STORMZY”
Recent performer in the March for Our Lives, Ghanian-American Victor Kwesi Mensha or Vic Mensa is an exemplary figure of the African diaspora, utilizing his voice to express discontent for issues of his disenfranchised people. Since debuting in 2013 on the Chance the Rapper mixtape (his childhood friend) Acid Rap, Chicago native has earned a top spot on XXL Magazine’s 2014 freshman class and released two albums—The Autobiography and There’s A lot Going On. Continue reading “It didn’t start with the March for Our Lives…”