Posted in Events, Tanzania

Lyricist Lounge in Tanzania

This Saturday (25 of March) is the 3rd anniversary of Lyricist Lounge in Dar es Salaam. Lyricist Lounge celebrates 3 years of spoken word, poetry, and lyricism by bringing to the stage a lineup of international MCs, poets, and DJs. 

This year features some of the finest poets & MCs in TZ, including MCs like Mukimala from Wanaitwa Uhuru and Wakazi. 


This year there will also be a set by DJ Kaka Kahlil, by way of California & Puerto Rico. LL will also feature legendary NYC graffiti artist Kool Koor. You can see more of Koor’s work at http://koolkoor.wix.com.

Lyricist Lounge TZ

Posted in Events, South Africa

Hip Hop vs Pantsula Dance Competition in Joburg 

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Publication

The latest dance competition in South Africa takes over Joburg City from the 8th of April 2017!

The inaugural HVP (Hip Hop vs Pantsula) Dance Competition is the platform where the latest sounds like – Babes Wodumo’s “Wololo” will meet Nasty C’s “Hell Naw”, Gqom vs Trap as Hip Hop dancers & Pantsula dancers compete for the prestigious HVP best dance competition.

Continue reading “Hip Hop vs Pantsula Dance Competition in Joburg “

Posted in Ghana, Hip Hop African Article, South Africa, Student Projects

M.anifest – “Cupid’s Crooked Bow”

Immediately, M.anifest’s “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” begins with a smooth, African drum beat, fused with South African artist Nomisupasta’s unique voice – a kind of tone that is completely original but also, to me, sounds like a mix of Adele and Erykah Badu’s voices (especially when Nomisupasta sings in English). M.anifest raps in English, creating a familiar sound that that reminds listeners of classic, slow-beat American hip hip. Because of the elegance of his lyrics, M.anifest’s rapping style is a kind that likens that of American artist Common, with the way he describes and admires his encounters with a woman.

The video is in a pleasant high quality, and the images offer watchers a relaxed, night scene that includes an abundance of dancing and some drinking. The refraining lyrics in the song “There’s something special about you”, along with M.anifest’s nostalgic verses offer a sentimental mood to the song, easily making it an admirable one with its use of piano and occasional electric guitar licks.

The use of guitar makes “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” a song heavily rooted in Ghanaian music, because Highlife – a Ghanaian genre that predated hip hop in Africa – consists of European instruments and is especially guitar-heavy. Because M.anifest includes this in this piece, he is able to be a true representative of hip hop and decidedly remains close to this distinctly Ghanaian sound.

dancer2

After the 3 minute mark on the video (around 3:06, to be exact) “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” suddenly takes on a “trap beat” – something especially prominent in modern rap music, and very unlike the African drum beat that is present throughout the majority of the song. This is a profound artistic touch because by adding this trap beat, M.anifest displays the growth and diversity of African hip hip music – over the years – through his song (beginning with traditional African sounds and ending with a mainstream rap beat, used worldwide). As soon as this beat appears, a girl simultaneously appears in the video and begins to dance while holding a strong eye-contact with the camera. Her dancing is representative of West African dancing styles, and is therefore another significant cultural element of the video.

Watchers of “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” see and hear it all at once: the Highlife elements, the classic slow-rap style, the traditional African rhythmic beats, the West African style of dancing, and the Western music elements. They are able to identify all of this; and because of it; the song is sophisticated, easily admirable, and is an undeniably good track.

Posted in DJs, Hip Hop African Article, Nigeria, Student Projects

Nigeria’s Modern Day Musical Renaissance

With widespread popularity of music artists from Nigeria to other countries it is no surprise that Nigerian’s music scene is experiencing a rebirth in it’s own right. A musical renaissance of sort.

Popular artists such as Wizkid, Patoranking, Tekno and alike blend a range of different elements to create a type of cross over music that can appease any crowd and is versatile in nature. This blend includes pop and traditional african instruments coupled with hip hop flare. This type of music has been dubbed a modern day take on “Afrobeats.”

Two videos are linked in this post. The first is Nigerian rapper Boogey freestyling to Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba.” The second video is of Wizkid’s original track of the song.

Both have different styles entirely. Boogey in true emcee form is freestyling. One of the most striking things about his video is that he is simply rapping in the entirety of the video. Boogey isn’t worried about melodies or pop appeal. Furthermore,  you can trace his rhymes by the story he tells like a modern day African griot. He also touches on his skills as a lyricist and how he can enlighten us to, “a main verse, one that [we] have never heard.”

In comparison, Wizkid’s song “Ojuelegba” lyrics shed light through his struggle of working hard and giving thanks to God always. With careful inspection I found the lyrics interesting due to the fact that I’ve listen to this song many times never knowing the message of the song. The song’s upbeat tempo and melodies contrasts with the seriousness of the message of the song. In the song he covers tough topics such as people in Nigeria suffering yet still having such tremendous faith in God and praying for blessings.

Although some may argue that this modern day “Afrobeats” genre is susceptible to sponsorship and turning into a commercialized entity, it is important to note the vast benefits this could have for African countries such as Nigeria. This genre can be used as a stepping stone, bridging western and African culture. With this bridge more interest in African music will lead to a pathway of understanding and tolerance for a more globalized and interconnected world.

It is crucial however, that these artists remain true to their musical messages and do not fall prey to capitalistic nature of the music industry. African artist can use their music to advance compelling messages that will invoke social change. They can use this modern Afrobeats genre as worldwide platform to reach many with whatever message they choose. In the end it is up to these artist as to which message they will send across the world to their millions of listeners. We will be waiting and listening.

Posted in Female Emcees, Hip Hop African Article, South Africa, Student Projects

Miss Pru’s “Ameni” and Gigi LaMayne’s “Isgubhu”: Truly Modern Hip Hop and Pop

“Ameni” Music Video

When I first clicked on the YouTube link to listen to Miss Pru DJ’s “Ameni” music video; featuring so many artists like Emtee, Saudi, Sjava, Fifi Cooper, A-Reece & B3nchMarQ; I was pleasantly surprised to hear African drums and percussion implemented into the electronic melodies and beats of the song. The mere fact that this hit’s DJ is an African woman artist, Miss Pru, made me even more excited to listen to it – as I am a huge fan of woman MCs and DJs.

I truly appreciated the diversity of rapping styles of all artists in the song, and the mix of this intricacy with the familiar “trap-style” or modern rap-style elements (trap-style beats, electronic beats, voice modulation of rappers) of the U.S., absolutely made the song one to remember. The various visuals in the video, itself, makes the song (even more) distinctly African – with displays, actions, items, and dress that reference South African cultural practices – despite even the Zulu language primarily used throughout the length of the seven-minute piece. So, if hip hop should have its origin in the MC’s community, then all the rap artists featured in the song, “Ameni”, definitely adhere to this requirement of authenticity.

“Isgubhu” Music Video

Though Gigi Lamayne is rapping in this song, I would not consider the song as such. In music video “Isgubhu”, Lamayne primarily speaks English – something that is not bad (in the slightest) but is something more commonly representative of popular culture – unless a piece of music is coming from an English-speaking country. Though English is popular worldwide, it is not an African language. Therefore, Gigi Lamayne is not rapping for her community, but is trying to reach a more global audience by rapping this way.

Aside from this, the song itself is about shaking booties – giving the song a playful and fun vibe. As hip hop usually attempts to have the best rhymes, original sounds, and some sort of intellectual meaning behind it; “Isgubhu” stands out and strays away from those principles – making it less of a hip hop song. Pop music, however, shares elements from other artists, simplifies those musical elements, uses simple (English) lyrics, and strives to be popular above all else.

The beat in Gigi Lamayne’s “Isgubhu” reminds me of YG’s “My N*gga”, in the sense that they are basically share the same beat (but Lamayne’s song is sped up [probably for the proper booty-shaking tempo]); the songs even share the same exact key (E-flat minor scale). Since YG’s song was so popular, with over 225 million views on the song’s YouTube music video, Lamayne’s song sounds familiar, making it more likely to be enjoyed by listeners. The song is the same, but simultaneously different – like nearly every modern pop music. The way Lamayne talks about booties , along with her intonation, in this song also reminds me of Nicki Minaj and a number of her songs – yet another all-too-familiar aspect of “Isgubhu”.

In conclusion, we can better understand the line between today’s (or modern) hip hop and pop music. Because hip hop is so popular, worldwide – regardless of where you go, it is often difficult to distinguish what is merely pop and what is true hip hop music. Through this analytical review, I have identified that true modern hip hop attempts to be original and intellectually driven, while pop music strives to be popular above all else.

 

Posted in Africa, CFP, Diaspora, Events

Call For Papers: Hip Hop & Migration

CALL FOR PAPERS: “RAP, SLAM AND SPOKEN WORD: THE MIGRATION, POST-MIGRATION AND SUPER-DIVERSITY EXPERIENCES IN SOUNDS, WORDS AND IMAGES”

Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 28-30 June, 2017

Continue reading “Call For Papers: Hip Hop & Migration”