This episode features the music of several MCs from across Africa. We depart from the interview format and bring you music from some of our favorite (women) MCs. This is essentially a mixtape of diverse female voices in African hip hop. These MCs live in different countries, seek different languages, and speak on diverse topics. In each of these songs, the artists performing deliver strong, hard hitting lyrics that are both classic hip hop and representative of African styles of hip hop. See the artists’ social media pages for more information. Additionally, some of the artists have their work on iTunes. Those links are provided.
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.
Young and Talented African Hip Hop Artists to Keep an Eye Out for in 2017
Each year, a new crop of hip hop artists break out of obscurity and make significant waves in the scene. Some of the qualities that endear these rookie performers to fans are their fresh sound, their distinctive voice, and, of course, their brilliant perspective of music in general.
It’s difficult to predict who will burst from the underground scene and create an impact instantly, however, more often than not, these unbelievably talented musicians sprout up from nowhere. It also helps to have modern technology expediting the process, providing the mainstream with the latest hip hop stars.
A couple of years ago, Hip Hop African’s Msia Kibona Clark wrote a feature on the role of technology in Tanzanian music production. The writer underlined the importance of targeting a specific audience, listeners that rely heavily on social media websites, mobile apps, and other digital pursuits. Gaming Realms, creator and operator of online gaming giants Spin Genie, claims that since consumers have altered their media consumption habits, many technological firms have followed suit. They also pointed out that 80% of their revenues now come from mobile, thus industries like music are now seeking mass promotion on mobile-friendly mediums.
When it comes to the entire African hip hop scene, the majority of upcoming artists utilise technology to either produce music, promote their brand, or both. Thanks to technology, they now have plenty of platforms to share their unique voice to the world. Having said that, here are some of the young and talented hip hop artists to keep an eye out for in 2017.
Frank Casino (South Africa)
There’s no denying: Frank Casino is the face of African hip hop as of this moment. Music Unites Africa even wrote a piece that previews his upcoming LP, Something From Me, and tells readers why he’s the real deal. Frank Casino can even be credited for the growth of the South African hip hop culture.
Courtesy of: youtube
Lorine Chia (Cameroon)
Lorine Chia is a rare talent. She’s one of those exceptional artists who not only has a powerful, soulful, and smooth voice, but can also play a slew of musical instruments. Her unbelievable aptitude in music opened the door for collaborations with famous hip hop artists such as The Game and Chance the Rapper.
Courtesy of: youtube
More than a so-called “YouTube sensation,” Tekno seems to have what it takes to go the distance. His song, Pana, has over 20 million views on YouTube, which gave it a place at the top of the Nigerian music charts. In addition to YouTube hits and chart rankings, Tekno has the looks and the talent that attracted American record label, Columbia Records.
Courtesy of: youtube
Phy made the most of winning the first season of Maisha Superstar, an East African music talent competition similar to The X Factor and The Voice. She has that distinct sultry yet silky voice, making her stand out in a sea of new artists. Her debut album, Phylosophy, garnered praise from the big wigs in the industry, which prompted her to release a seven-track EP featuring covers of classic Kenyan songs a year later.
Courtesy of: youtube
Roden Y (Uganda)
There’s nothing quite like the stage presence of Ugandan artist, Roden Y. He has a certain stage presence that makes his audience stand in awe of him. Roden Y’s most popular single, Number Emu (Kabbako), truly represents his overall image: enigmatic, energetic, and wild.
Courtesy of: youtube
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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.
The first video I watched was “stella stella stella” by Stella Mwangi. Stella Mwangi is a femcee from Kenya. The video for this song is a bit raunchy but not distasteful. She is giving the rebel girl look and feel in this video with her outfits, her lyrics, and the props in the video. She is not over sexualizing her self or exposing her body. In the “girl power or overpowered” reading, they discuss women in hip hop submitting to men and being inferior to men. In this video, Stella is showing that she is equal to a man and can do everything a man can do. Several things in the video shows that she is fighting the stereotype of being inferior to men and being “ladylike”. In the video, she is smoking a cigar, which is known to be very masculine and she is also grabbing her crotch which is often something men do to exert their masculinity. She is challenging the stereotypes of women in hip hop in this video. Her lyrics to the songs are also kind of raunchy as she mentions stepping over bitches and taking other peoples’ boyfriends, the lyrics to the song are not very empowering to women but the songs and the chorus are both very catchy and I really like the song overall. The second video I watched was “Queen’s Speech ep. 4” by Lady Leshurr. Lady Leshurr is a femcee from the U.K. Her video gives a west coast/ Cali vibe and so does her outfit. Her style is very trendy in the video. Her lyricism is great. Her metaphors and punchlines are impressive. She is not over sexualizing herself in the video nor is she overexposing her body. Both songs are good but very different. Stella’s song is very catchy and Leshurr’s song is full of clever punch lines. Neither song is very uplifting to women in particular but at the same time neither song degrades women.
by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster
Now available in paperback & on Kindle
This book examines social change in Africa through the lens of hip hop music and culture. Artists engage their African communities in a variety of ways that confront established social structures, using coded language and symbols to inform, question, and challenge. Through lyrical expression, dance, and graffiti, hip hop is used to challenge social inequality and to push for social change. The study looks across Africa and explores how hip hop is being used in different places, spaces, and moments to foster change. In this edited work, authors from a wide range of fields, including history, sociology, African and African American studies, and political science explore the transformative impact that hip hop has had on African youth, who have in turn emerged to push for social change on the continent. The powerful moment in which those that want change decide to consciously and collectively take a stand is rooted in an awareness that has much to do with time. Therefore, the book centers on African hip hop around the context of “it’s time” for change, Ni Wakati.
Hip Hop As Critical Consciousness by the Africa World Now Project (AWNP)
AWNP is a radio program where the hosts have discussions with activists, scholars, and artists on a number of social and political issues impacting the African world. The AWNP
Africa World Now Project airs Wednesday @ 7 PM on WSNC 90.5FM, a broadcast service of Winston Salem State University.
This two part series focuses on hip hop as critical consciousness.
This episode features a conversation with Kenyan hip hop artist Hustlajay Mau Mau. A conscious hip hop artists from Mombasa, Kenya who is part of an informal collective of conscious hip hop artists in East Africa. These artists, based in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya; in Kampala, Uganda; and in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Tanzania continue to build on more than a decade of East African collaborations, forming grassroots organizing collectives and working on hip hop based initiatives that work with youth in those areas.
Nasambu was born into a Kenyan Immigrant family. She is a Kenyan Afro-Soul Sing-songwriter. Nasambu was Barasa was producer and founder of the international band, The Mystic Nomads. This lady has attracted people with her own style. A combination of Jazz, Soul, Latin and African rhythms. Nasambu’s original music has been featured in soundtracks for several films and documentaries and in TV episodes on multiple stations. You Can even find her on The Africa Channel. Nasambu has toured and performed in a number of festivals at universities, museums and performance halls throughout the United States, Africa, and Europe.
In the song Rhyme Like A Girl they talk they about life in Congo. They said put yourself in someone else shoes for a minute. In April 2012 nearly 1 million Congolese had been displaced. Mothers sleep in holes in the ground at risk of getting raped while there kids are sleep. They felt they needed a total emancipation of the country. In 1959 Patrice Lumumba was certain thing where going to work perfectly. The Congolese Independence does not mean kicking the Belgian out. All they wanted to was build a sovereign country. Then they talked about how to the government came knocking and taking kids away. They were also how in 1996 over 6 million Congolese have perished. In the hook of the song it says “Can you face the truth of the Congo” are you going to ignore whats going on or make a change. This sound was used to spread the word about what was going on and break the silence of reality.
If you are a lover of hip hop, which you must be since you are on this blog, it is imperative that you know Shukid.
Oh, you don’t? Allow me to help!