HHAP Ep. 68: Edem, On Navigating the Music Industry in Ghana

In this episode, Ghanaian hip hop & hiplife artist Edem talks about the music industry in Ghana and the popularity of Afrobeats. Edem also talks about the presence of Ghanaian and Nigerian artists in shaping Black popular music globally, especially in the US and the UK. He also talks about how Ghanians have always done music according to their own rules, creating genres and trends like highlife, hiplife, and azonto; and innovating hip hop and Afrobeats.

We also talk about being Ewe and why language and identity are important in his work. Coming from Ghana’s Volta region, he’s one of the first hip hop artist to begin rapping in Ewe.

Edem’s music is a mix of hip hop, hiplife, and dancehall. He released his 1st album, Volta Regime in 2009, followed by 2 more albums and the recent EP Mood Swings released last year. Throughout his career he’s collaborated with several international artists, and has won and/or been been nominated for several music awards, including the Black Canadian Awards, the Ghana Music Awards, and the 4syte (for-sight) TV Music Video Awards.

Edem is on Twitter at @iamedem https://twitter.com/iamedem and Instagram at @iamedemgh https://www.instagram.com/iamedemgh and YouTube at @iamEdem https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXwdOmMKtY9-NXjDq-yqxYg

This episode is part of the special series that we did in partnership with Words Beats & Life. The series was recorded and live streamed with students in the Hip Hop in Africa class at Howard University and George Washington University.

Female & Southern African Rappers — Putting Themselves on the Map

A woman stepping into the male-dominated field of hip-hop is revolutionary in itself. Hip-hop was created by men like DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa,

HHAP EP. 63: Gigi Lamayne on Representation & Dismantling Respectability Politics

This is the first in a special series of episodes being recorded lives with African Studies students at Howard University and George Washington University. The series is co-hosted with Words Beas & Life, who is also live-streaming the episodes on their Facebook page (facebok.com/wordsbeatslife) on Wednesday nights at 5pm EST. The schedule is on our website at hiphopafrican.com.

A part of the “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. Rapping since high school, she released the powerful track “Fees Will Fall” just months after graduation. Considered one of South Africa’s best lyricists, her music addresses topics like Black pride, gender-based violence, feminism, sexism, and the shadiness within the music industry. We first interviewed Gigi Lamayne in 2017. She has continued to find mainstream success while addressing serious topics in some of her songs. In the conversation, she talks about her career, her views on the resilience and activism of South African women, race in South Africa, the relationships between women in the industry, and the stigmas and views around mental health in Africa.

The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC43HnRR6MNq5DePBVKZZ7LQ

Links
https://www.gigilamayne.co.za/
https://www.facebook.com/Queen.Gigi.LaMayne
https://www.instagram.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.twitter.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRvC54bgRUtn48RbCvuZJZA
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gigi-lamayne/1455356528?ign-gact=3&ls=1
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3405LTbL2jP8J0gVQK3087?autoplay=true

HHAP Ep. 61: An African Hip Hop Palaver

In this palaver, we have a lively chat with Ghanaian hip hop/hiplife scholar Dr. Nii Kotei Nikoi. We talked about the hiplife and hip hop music industry in Ghana, especially one of the country’s most popular artist’s Sarkodie. Nii discusses the structure of Ghana’s music industry, the way artists construct their images, and the role of class (and language) in Ghana’s popular music scene. We also get into an interesting conversation around collaborations between African and Diaspora artists in Beyonce’s Black is King project and the depictions of Africa in the Black Panther film.

Nii Kotei Nikoi is an assistant professor of Global Media and Digital Studies at The College of Wooster in Ohio. He studies African popular culture, and has a special focus on how popular culture reinforces and challenges existing ideas around race, gender, and sexuality. His work is influenced by his background in graphic design and documentary photography. Currently, his research examines development discourse in Ghanaian popular culture.

Check out his latest article, “Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life.” in the International Journal of Communication  14 (2020): 19.

He also hosts the podcast Our Culture. Season 1 of the podcast includes on several reflections on a range of topics.

EPISODE CONTENTS
1:50 The performance of material success in popular music in Ghana
8:08 The popular use of Ghanaian languages and clothing in the Ghanaian music scene
15:00 An analysis of the class divides and language choices in the beef between Sarkodie and M.anifest
26:20 The participation of women in hiplife
33:17 African scholars doing (hip hop) research at home
48:03 I try to get Nii to take the bait and engage in the discussion on Nigerians “borrowing” music from Ghana
52:52 Beyonce & the collaboration with African artists on the Black is King project
1:03:03 Black Panther & the homogenization of Africa, and the presence of Africa film industry in general

Hip Hop African Podcast Episode 58: The Tanzanian and Diaspora Artists Behind The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape

The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape Volume 1 is a project that brings together Tanzanian and Diaspora singers, rappers, and poets. The project features artists that are internationally known, as well as artists just starting their careers.

In this conversation with seven of the artists, we talk about the evolution of the project and how the project reflects hip hop and popular culture in Tanzania. We also discussed the message the project sends to the music industry in Tanzania, which has tended to only promote one style of music.

We talked about the collaboration between English and Swahili performing artists, the lack of East Africa representation in recent projects like Black Panther and the Lion King, and how this project shows East Africa’s engagement in Pan African projects as well.

The seven artists interviewed in this episode are
Mike Tareto/IG: @miketareto
Joe Legendary/IG: @joelegendary
Shamsa/IG: @vikombeviwilivyakahawa
Fete Jen/IG: fete_jen
Ronny aka Ty Charls/IG: @ronnycharlz
Mex Cortez/IG: mex.tz
FG Tony/IG: @fg__tony

The episode begins with “Tougher” by Lo SayAloha Ski and Mex Cortez and “Wale Wale” by Zenji Boy. The episode ends with “No Time For Trash” by Mex Cortez.

The video version of this episode can be found on our YouTube Channel

The mixtape can currently be streamed on the following platform:
https://soundcloud.com/fete-jen/sets/the-lounge-mixtape-vol-1

The artists on the project are
Mex Cortez
Frankie Maston
Joe Legendary
Chi
Lufu
Mike Tareto
V.I.C.
Zamdazitta
Lo SayAloha Ski
Zenji Boy
Sima
FG_Tony
Ty Charlz
Mteganda
H
Shamsa

Celebrating Tanzania’s new Generation of Sound: The Lounge Tanzania releases its first mixtape

The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape Vol. 1: The Modern Voice of Bongo in 17 Tracks “The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape is an amazing body of work. The

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