Stanley Ebai Enow is a Cameroonian rapper, radio and TV presenter, and voice actor. He is the co-owner of the record label, Motherland Empire.
Born in Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, with family from Bayangi, located in the Southwest Region, Stanley Enow’s nickname “Bayangi Boy” reflects the importance regional origins for the young rapper. Coming from the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Stanley Enow chose to rap in Cameroonian Pidgin English and Cameroonian slang as a way to translate his culture in his music. Continue reading “When Cameroonian slang meets African Hip-Hop”
South Africa has eleven official languages; Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Ndebele, English, and Afrikaans. With Zulu and Xhosa being the most commonly spoken languages throughout the country it stands to reason that the rap created therein would also adhere to that trend. Granted some of the more mainstream South African artists, say Cassper Nyofest or Shane Eagle, rap in languages such as English in order to draw in more international attention. No judgement from me – secure the bag and do what you gotta do. But on the inverse of this there is a noticeable, conscious decision and trend of artists across the continent to rap in their native tongue; to make a concerted effort to speak to the people in the closest proximity to them.
And that – that’s pretty cool. Enter stage right: Zuxole Ngetu also known as Lolo Vandal.
My last article discussed Youssoupha’s album NGRTD. While reading the lyrics of his song entourage, I realized Youssoupha discussed many of the same themes MC Solaar touches on in his early albums produced some 20 years ago. While you could write a novel on the thematic similarities of African hip hop produced two decades apart, there was one distinguishing factor of Youssoupha’s newer music that, hopefully, is indicative of improvements in African communities at home and abroad: the in-your-face nature of NGRTD across a top-5 album in the French music charts. Continue reading “Excuse my Wolof”
Many times it is easy to celebrate African hip hop by viewing the many prominent and popular artists that have emerged and risen to local and global fame. From mainstream English rapping to conscious native rhymes, hip hop in Africa has completely evolved and globalized. What can be overlooked is the small section of white African rappers, specifically from South Africa. Because of its historical backdrop, its understandable how the black hip hop community in South Africa would not particularly recognize or uplift the white hip hop community. Taking an insight at South African white rap group Die Antwood allows us to clearly see the rift and distortion of hip hop between the two groups. Created in 2008, Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for “The Answer”) is formed by Ninja and Yolanda Visser from Capetown, South Africa. Their image is based on the counterculture known as Zef, which has been described by them as “you’re poor, but you’re fancy. You’re poor, but you’re sexy, you’ve got style”and is visible in their music videos and lyrics. Their electro-pop presence matched with their lyrics create a mixture of gaudy outfits and fast paced songs. Songs like “Baby’s On Fire” and “I Fink U Freeky”are as complex as their titles with lyrics like “motherfuckers get buzzed off the spice I bring/ Guess who’s got the party jumpin?/ Glow in the dark rave, aura pumping”. When looking at the large scale picture of South African rap they are certainly one of a kind. However, underneath the surface the issues with this group are all too familiar. They have left the dark and deep depth of hip hop and have just scraped the glittery surface and shoved it in their pockets. Their songs are in English and Afrikaans, a language used mostly by white Afrikaners. They’ve explained that Zef represents South Africa because “racism is somewhat obsolete and a thing of the past for South Africans”. While its true they are a form of cultural expression and may be doing “all that they know” it does not translate to fully accepting and understanding the culture of hip hop. They have taken the face and style of hip hop and used it as a surface to leap bounds with their shocking lyrics but have seemed to have left everything else behind.
Driemanskap is a hip hop group from South Africa, consisting of El Nino, Ma-B, Redondo, and Dla. They are represented on Pioneer Unit record label based out of Cape Town. This hip hop group like many other South African artists believe that hip hop is about bring attention to important issues and representing where you are from. Driemanskap are the founders of a uniquely South African style of hip hop called Spaza. Spaza hip hop combines the mother tongue of South Africa IsiXhosa, English, and Cape Town slang. The record out now is Itsho Into. Driemanskap started out performing in parks and street jams, and music festivals. Now they are performing on the same stage with some of the country’s biggest artists like Ben Sharpa, and the Archetypes.
This is an essay written by, Alex Perullo and John Fenn which can be found in the book Global Pop, Local Language by, Harris M. Berger and Michael Thomas Carroll. Since Hip Hop’s emergence in North America during the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hip Hop has become a global way for the youth to express their own local styles. This is no different in Tanzania and Malawi, two neighboring African countries. Both countries use English in their hip hop music, but Tanzania uses also Swahili and the Malawian youth use the language Chichewa. Author, Alex Perullo, states that Tanzanian hip hop in English reflects American hip hop in talking about the pleasure’s of life for example, parties, friends, and praise of the artist. Perullo then says that when the musicians use Swahili, the hip hop artist is usually conveying a message to the Tanzanian people about important social issues like lack of employment, corruption in the government, police brutality, and HIV/AIDS. Tanzanian hip hop artists have stayed away from some American themes found in rap music like violence, because it is seen as disrespectful by the Tanzanian people. Although English is the dominant political and economic language in Tanzania, it is only spoken by five percent of the population, so Swahili has become the most dominant language in the Tanzanian hip hop scene. Many Tanzanian hip hop artists use American rappers such as Tupac Shakur to learn the flow of hip hop music and once they have acquired the skills they develop themselves as Tanzanian hip hop artists. The creation of new words and the changing of the meaning of old Tanzanian words is core to the hip hop scene because this creates a common culture the youth of Tanzania are able to identify with. In Malawi, English is all over rap and hip hop music, but it is usually accompanied simultaneously by the language Chichewa. Much of the conversation about hip hop music in Malawi is done in English including newspapers, radio, and face to face dialogue, but the young hip hop artists of Malawi realize the importance of using the local Chichewa language when trying to convey certain messages in their music. The Malawian youth see hip hop as having important social functions as well as a way to effectively transmit meaning.