It’s been about a year since Wale has released his 6th studio album SHINE and one of his main singles “Fine Girl” still resonates with me. I love the song so much because the Nigerian-raised artist really represents his roots here. The term “fine girl” is often used in Nigerian and other African cultures to describe a beautiful woman. Wale definitely has ‘endless fine girls’ in his video as it is filled with myriad beautiful women from the Diaspora in a variety of shades and sizes wearing Ankara attire, showing off their killer dance moves as they wave their flags from Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia and other African countries. Continue reading “One Year Later: Wale’s “Fine Girl” is Still a Hit!!”
Twenty-nine year old rapper Olamide, has been hot on the scene since his debut album Rapsodi. Recording mostly in his native tongue, Yoruba, Olamide reaches out mostly to native Nigerians and the youth of Nigeria, even though most of his songs are perceived as controversial. Continue reading “Olamide Reaches All Yoruba Speakers”
Nina Simone has famously been sampled by several American heavy weight rappers such as Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Common and many more. Nigerian rapper Erigga, also known as Paperboi, took a note from the greats and included Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let be Misunderstood” to serve as the background on his track “Death Bed”. Continue reading “Erigga Samples Nina Simone on “Death Bed””
African identity and culture remain omnipresent and inescapable in all aspects of life, pervading even Eurocentric spaces of art, music and self-expression. As a result, African artist within the diaspora reflect their roots consciously, and often even subconsciously, as Africa presents itself within any channel. Born and raised in Northwest, Washington, D.C, the Nigerian-American hip-hop artist, Olubowale Victor Akintimehin, popularly known as Wale, proudly embodies his Nigerian heritage as well as his culture as a black man of the African diaspora in the music video of his 2010 hit, My Sweetie, through his lyrics, beats, mannerisms, and cast choice. Continue reading “Wale’s “My Sweetie” and the blending and mixing of the African Diaspora”
UK-based rapper, Little Simz, chronicles the struggles both herself and her community face in the video for her 2015 single, “Gratitude.”
Little Simz, originally from Nigeria, connects with her African heritage throughout the video. She utilizes clips of student protests that took place in Cape Town in 2015 to further emphasize the abstract idea of struggle. In one of the clips, a protester is saying that “education is not a privilege, it is a right.” In 2015, students at South African universities protested against the increase in tuition fees and demanded that they be cut by at least 11%. In “Gratitude”, Little Simz says:
“Put my feet in the studio and call it my home
While others have got no way out/”
Other diaspora artists like Wale and Skepta seek to incorporate aspects of their family’s culture to the culture that they have grew up in. For example, Wale’s identification as a DMV artist does not stop him from incorporating elements of go-go music, while making references to Nigerian culture in his songs. However, Jidenna is markedly different from other diaspora artists because he not only integrates his Nigerian culture into his music, but into his fashion and entire image. Continue reading “Diasporia Artist – Jidenna’s Long Live the Chief”
You might know UK based Grime artist Jme better as the younger brother of his older sibling, Skepta. The two grew up in Tottenham, a neighborhood of North London, but the parents of Jamie (Jme) and Joseph (Skepta) Adenuga originate from Nigeria, and the brothers’ upbringing had been heavily influenced by their African background.
Rejjie Snow is a twenty-four year old Hip Hop artist from Ireland. With a Nigerian father and Irish-Jamaican mother, Snow grew up in Dublin with a double education of the culture, both from the Diaspora and from the Motherland. He released his first EP, “Rejovich,” in June 2013 and it immediately topped the iTunes Hip-Hop chart. One of his tracks, “1992,” went on to surpass one million YouTube views, along with the previously released song, “Lost in Empathy.” In June 2015, Snow released his official debut single, “All Around the World.” The video, featuring Lily-Rose Depp, was played five hundred thousand times in its first week. In 2016, Snow signed with 300 Entertainment, with good reason. With a short, but impressive list of accolades in his pocket, and a recent album produced by grammy award- winning producer Rahki, Rejjie Snow has the potential to add a notable new sound to the rap game. Continue reading “Rejjie Snow”
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”
Wale once kicked off a track rapping the line “allow me to introduce me, my name Wale don’t say Wally.” 11 years ago that was my introduction to him. As a new resident to the DMV area at that time the magnitude of what he represented to its denizens was lost on me. Only now 11 years later am I beginning to consider and comprehend a modicum of the magnitude that his identity as a Nigerian-American rapper meant not only to the American hip hop culture but also to the burgeoning hip-hop scenes across the continent of Africa and specifically to his homeland of Nigeria.