In one of his singles from 2017, Liberian Trapco artist Bucky Raw incorporates both Liberian colloquial and American references in “Pump Tire”. Pump tire is known as a form of punishment in Liberia where one squats up and down repeatedly until they have learned their lesson through the pain experienced. Using a bumping hip hop beat, Bucky Raw tells anyone that is broke or fronting on him to “pump tire”, as he brags about his flow and status in Trapco, using women and the hustle for money as a reference.
His chorus tells those who are broke and “gbele” to “pump tire” as they cant even afford to buy something as small as a pepper. Girls who “take money for free” and show off with the money that is not theirs can also “pump tire”. These are all common terms in Liberian colloquial. He then uses American slang in his hook by repeatedly saying “you hear me”, a phrase used after a statement to ensure the audience is paying attention to what he has to say. Continue reading “Bucky Raw Shows Us What Trapco is All About in “Pump Tire””
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”
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.
Liberia’s well known hip hop artists Mdot, migrated to the United States when he was just four years old. Although he left his native country at a young age, he uses his platform in Philadelphia to recount the horrifying nature of the Liberian civil war.
In a sense, Mdot serves as a voice for those who struggled during the conflict and afterward. He mainly raps in standard English, rather than koloqua(liberia’s local patois), so both Liberians and Americans are able to enjoy his music. His sepia colored memory of the continent and his experiences in America helps to shape his lyrical purpose. Mdot’s themes about Liberia, his impoverished environment in Philadelphia, and the daily struggle of being black in America, creates highly relatable lyrics that resonates with a wide audience. Continue reading “Liberian’s American Based Artist Stays True to the Diaspora”
Diaspora based artists like K’Naan, Blitz the Ambassador, M3nsa, Wale, and French Montana, and Tabi Bonney have been covered heavily in this blog. There are several other first and second generation African MCs around the world who have not been covered as much in this blog. As students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course this semester are discussing Diaspora based artists, here are some of the artists those students are looking at. In the coming week students will be putting up posts on these and other African MCs that are based outside of the continent. Continue reading “Diaspora Rappers”
It is not a great surprise that there aren’t many Liberian Femcees with a platform as compared to their male counterparts; after all hip hop is male a dominated genre. Many Liberian female rappers fear not being taken seriously or being seen as “valid” in the eyes of male emcees. The sad reality of this is correlated to the stereotypes about women that society perpetuates.
In almost every culture, women are ether oversexualized and treated as sex objects, or they are forced into a shell that prevents them from being sexual beings in the same way that men are. Unfortunately, women who rebel against these gender norms are heavily ostracized. Continue reading “Liberian Femcee Diamond Chanel Rebels Against Gender Norms”
According to society, women and men have different roles and expectations they are to live their lives by. Many women, for example, are expected to marry a man and have kids while the man is the provider for the family. Seems normal, right? Continue reading “Diamond Chanel Weds The Rap Game in “Bachelor Life””
Hipco artists Luckay Buckay, Takun J, JD Donzo, and Bentman Tha Don demand attention from the president with their genius collaboration in “Pot Not Boiling”, a song that aims several shots at Liberia’s corrupt regime. Each artist speaks on different aspects of the struggle, adding to a raw and collective narrative that resonates deeply with the population. Footages from the “Pot Not Boiling” video highlight the saddening reality of daily life in Liberia. Continue reading “Hipco Artists Collaborate to Expose Troubling Realities Facing Liberians”
Liberian hip-hop artist Pochano discusses the aftermath of Liberia through his 2012 song, “Product of a Failed State”. In his visual for the song, he incorporates clips from both the past and present of Liberia, including footage from the civil war. The footage of Pochano rapping is shot in a run down hotel called “Hotel Africa”, and in the notorious neighborhood of West Point.
The overall message of the song is to place blame on the government for the conditions many in the country are forced to live in. In the song, Pochano says:
I’m a product of a failed state/
Yup, I carry the weight of the mistakes made by ex-slaves and the forefathers/
To emphasize the idea that the lives that Liberians are living is the result of a failed state, the visual has different people–ranging from adults to children–reciting the line, “I’m a product of a failed state”. These expressions reveal how much trauma and despair is left for adults and children to bare after the civil war destroyed their country.
What intrigued me most about this song and video is that it was more than just a song. The visual is a product of a documentary that was in the works at the time called called The Product of a Failed State-Liberia. This documentary is about a generation of young entrepreneurs in post-war Liberia. It also takes a glimpse at the recovery process after the war. Pochano’s “Product of a Failed State” takes on the role of activism by holding the government accountable for the way his people live. By using his influence, he promotes a platform for reform in his respective country through powerful visuals. I commend him for the video, and I definitely will be looking into more of his work.
Below is the video to Pochano’s “Product of a Failed State”:
Liberian artist Christoph the Change is one of the country’s most innovative artists that are beginning to put the Liberian music scene on the global map. He is known as a pioneer of Hipco, a native genre that incorporates Liberian English, a patois and colloquial language, with a unique rap style and traditional beats. It uses Western hip hop influences with their traditional languages and slang to create music . Continue reading “Christoph the Change Wants to Know WHAT YALL WANT!? (Liberian Music)”