Wakazi is a bilingual Tanzanian hip hop artist. He grew up in Dar es Salaam, but spent several years in the United States, where he was active in the Chicago hip hop scene. Like many MCs who spend several years abroad, when he returned to Tanzania he had to prove himself on the local scene. He was able to craft his brand, largely by harnessing the power of social media. In this interview, Wakazi talks about his experiences in Chicago, with the local hip hop scene and how his experiences there have impacted his career. He discusses his return to Tanzania, the reception he faced on his return, and how has managed to build his career. Wakazi, who is fluent in English and Swahili, also talks about multilingualism, and the use of other Tanzanian languages in hip hop. Wakazi also reflects on some of the struggles within the hip hop community, some of which he feels is largely due to a lack of mentorship by the first generation of Tanzanian hip hop artists. He also discusses perceptions & understandings of African American culture in Tanzania.
Wakazi’s music can be purchased on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wakazi/928220403
Nomadic Wax Super MC: https://nomadicwax.bandcamp.com/track/super-mc-v2
Wakazi is online at
Twitter @Wakazi: https://twitter.com/Wakazi
Facebook @wakazimusic: https://www.facebook.com/wakazimusic/
Instagram @wakazimusic: https://www.instagram.com/wakazimusic/
Youtube @wakazimusic: https://www.youtube.com/user/WakaziMusic
Jovi’s street anthem Et P8 Koi (So What?) shows the use of Cameroonian language in hip-hop as means of depicting identity in a globalized music industry. Jovi is known to put out “multilingual bangers” with backing tracks from various musical disciplines. The creativity in production is mirrored by his dynamic lyricism that transcends cultural and musical boundaries. He raps in French and English – languages inherited from former colonists – to “bridge the gap that exists between anglophones and francophones” in Cameroon. Note that the French and English in the song don’t entirely mirror that of Europe, but rather include Cameroonian slang and dialects – known as Camfranglais, the mix of French and English native to Cameroon – which makes the music more representative of the Cameroonian identity. Continue reading “Surprise! Another blog bout Jovi”
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”
Nowadays, it seems like it is so easy to reach stardom; and in some cases it is! Let’s be honest, living in the digital age has left so many chances to become rich and famous. Two things are for certain: if it’s Hip Hop in anyway, you can go viral, if it is a child showing their talents, you can go viral. Continue reading “Dizmo, a New Zambian Star”
Born in Bakau in The Gambia in 1989, Jerreh Jallow, popularly called Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo is a dancehall and rap artist. He majors in rap but occasionally sings dancehall. He sings in three West African languages namely Fula, Mandingo and Wolof. In his song Alagie he mixes English with one of the three languages mentioned before. Like bars like “She feeling the nigga mom muneh man ma koh deh joh lum buga / Hold up ma nigga mak yow bokunu level ma nigga / Am way up my nigga feeling so blessed no complaino ma nigga”. Continue reading “Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo”
Christoph, Liberia’s upcoming hipco (Liberian hip-hop) artist is gaining popularity with his crisp style and hot verses. Aside from his attractive looks and charismatic personality, he has made great contributions to the Liberian hip-hop community. He stays true to his identity by rapping in koloqua (Liberia’s Local dialect) so that his people can understand his music. Continue reading “Hipco Artist Christoph stays true to his native liberian dialect”
Raj (Okemwa Rajiv) is a Kenyan Rapper that raps in his native language Kisii. The Gusii language (also known as Kisii or Ekegusii) is a Bantu language spoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya, whose headquarters is Kisii town, (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania). His unique style of rap is a mixture of Kisii, a blend of English, and Swahili which is his Kisii flow. Historically, Kenyan hip hop was initially in Swahili and English. But Raj feels that it would be great if everyone was rapping in their own native language. Raj raps about relatable issues and want to be an inspiration to youth going through the struggles they face everyday. He said in an interview that “We need to embrace our African culture including the language.” https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/5-questions-kenyan-rapper-raj. In February 2015, he was signed to Kaka Empire Management which he eventually left. Now he owns a studio called Music Bank where he produces his own songs. He has been inspired by artists, including Kenya’s Nyashinski and Sauti Sol, Nigerian Wizkid and South Africa’s AKA. Continue reading “Rapping In A Native Language”
Once again we visit Kao Denero in order to gain a better understanding of Salone culture. Kao Denero and Del Vaqyo join forces to present “Fresh Faces”, a song written to encourage citizens to be politically active. This song is performed primarily in English. I believe that by singing the song in English, Kao Denero is able to spread his music to a larger audience. Continue reading “Universal Politics”
To rap in one language is impressive, two rap in two is incredible—but to rap in two languages at the same time in the same verse? Well that’s just called Kast, and as someone who can’t even rap in their native language, there seems no end to the impressive escapades of the Botswanan rapper. Continue reading “To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…”
Many African artists travel overseas to places such as the United States and Europe to expand their careers and, sometimes, to live a better life. Some artists return back to their home countries to with new ideals and a new outlook on other cultures to implement into their own music. Liberian rap artist Christoph the Change uses both West African slang and African American Vernacular English in his 2016 song “Gbanna Man”.
The name of the song itself uses West African slang and is repeated through out the song. The term, Gbanna, is a West African term that simply means marijuana. In West Africa, marijuana is considered taboo by many and others believe the use of it is a western culture thing that African youth is trying to copy. Gbanna is used as a decoy for the actual term.
Christoph uses African American slang in his song alongside the West African slang. In the song, he says:
I ain’t no player baby/
I’m a cool guy/
Chillin’ in the crib/
Me and all my men/
In another verse, he says:
You know I gotta spit it raw/
She say that I should hit it raw/
The use of “ain’t”, “spit”, and “chillin'” are common phrases in African American slang. It can be assumed that Christoph has awareness of western slang and its appropriate usage. In my opinion, the use of both African American Vernacular English and West African slang in “Gbanna Man” emphasizes the taboo of marijuana in West Africa, and how it’s labeled as a part of western culture.
Overall, the song was executed perfectly. I definitely enjoyed the song, and I look forward to hearing more of Christoph the Change’s music.