HHAP Ep 72: A Conversation on South African Popular Music with Sipho Sithole, p. 1

Dr. Sipho Sithole is a Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (University of Johannesburg) and holds a PhD in Anthropology, a B.Sc in Political Science and International Relations, and an M. Sc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Dr. Sithole’s research revolves around language identity, culture, migration, and integration. Sithole has a long career in hip hop & is the founder and owner of an important and multi-award-winning music production house, Native Rhythms Productions, & Native Rhythms Records.

Sithole has is credited for helping mainstream hip-hop in South Africa when he signed Skwatta Kamp in 2003, the first group to achieve platinum sales. He held what he says is the 1st African hip hop summit in 2005 He is also a producer, winning awards for his production work on Thandiswa Mazwai’s debut album, Zabalaza (2004).

In this interview, he talks about his involvement in the growing hip hop scene in South Africa in the early 2000s. It was a time when kwaito’s mainstream popularity was declining, and Sipho Sithole talks about the decision to begin working with hip hop artists. He also talks about the role of the township in producing and shaping the South African hip hop scene, as well as social consciousness.

In part 2 of this interview, we delve into a discussion of race and identity in South African hip hop, and the spaces within hip hop that Black and Coloured South Africans occupy.

HHAP EP 71: Multiple Diaspora Cultural Experiences Influencing the Creativity of Sampa the Great

Born in Zambia, Sampa the Great lived in the United States, Australia, and Botswana. With multiple African and Diaspora experiences, her music and style are very Pan African. Her work is Pan African in a very organic way. It does not claim to be conscious or preach about Pan Africanism, it just is. Because of this, as a listener, there is joy in listening to music that speaks to our multicultural Black identities. In this interview, she talks about existing as a Black person in different cultural spaces and her interactions across the continent and in the Diaspora.

Sampa the Great also talks about her experiences with racism and self-identification while studying in the US in the early 2010s, and later after she moved to Australia. She also talks about the differences between racism in the US and racism in Australia. She delves into the differences in the social unity of Black people in the US and in Australia, where in the US there is a division between Black immigrants and multi-generation-US-born Blacks and in Australia there is an understanding of the importance of Black unity in the face of living in societies that are held up by institutional racism.

As an artist, Sampa the Great released her first mixtape in 2015 while living in Australia. Several singles, EPs, and mixtapes later, she released her debut solo album, The Return, in 2019. The album peaked at No. 12 on the Australian music charts. She went on to win Best Hip Hop Release at the 2019 and 2020 ARIA Music Awards, Australia’s top music award. In 2020, she also won the ARIA award for Best Female Artist and Best Independent Release.

Sampa the Great has been very outspoken about racism in Australia through her music and performances. She has also been outspoken about the role of women in hip hop and the importance of representation as an African artist on an international stage.

Sampa the Great in Instagram and Twitter as @Sampa_The_Great

This episode is the last 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.

HHAP EP. 69: Industry Vet Buddha Blaze on the nature of the music industry in Kenya and Beyond

Buddha Blaze is a Kenyan blogger, podcaster, and music industry insider with over 20 years of experience. He has worked throughout the continent and the diaspora with artists and producers from around the world. He was a major part of the British Council’s WaPi (Words & Pictures) initiative, which showcased hip hop, poetry, fashion breakdance, and graffiti culture in Nairobi. He has also consulted numerous artists in the business and worked on several projects with international artists and producers.

A major figure in the Kenyan hip hop scene, he was recently seen on the Nairobi-based What’s Good Africa?, the only show on P. Diddy’s RevoltTV to focus on hip hop culture in Africa and one of the only shows airing on a US network to focus on hip hop culture in Africa.

In this conversation, Buddha Blaze talks a lot about the changes he’s seen in the industry over the years and some of the skills artists need to navigate the industry today. He also talks about his involvement in the growth of the cultural scene in Nairobi, which has grown to become the largest music, film, and contemporary art scene in East Africa.

Buddha Blaze is Twitter @ItsBuddhaBlaze and Instagram @buddhablazeworld

Intro and outro beat by Nigerian producer @teckzilla108

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.

HHAP Episode 57: Octopizzo on Hip Hop, Refugees, and POlice Brutality in Kenya

An MC, activist, and actor, Octopizzo was born in Nairobi, in the notorious Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in the world. His mixtape and album releases include: The Come Up V 1 (2008; Mixtape), El Classico (2014; Mixtape), Chocolate City (2014; album), LDPC (2015; album), Refugeenius (2016, album), and Next Year (2018; album).

He addresses a lot of social issues, including poverty, ethnic tensions, corruption, and the legalization of marijuana. He is also one of the few MCs to seriously and consistently address the issues around refugees. Kenya is home to a lot of refugees from surrounding conflicts, including people fleeing violence in the Congo, Sudan and Somalia.

On the album Refugeenius he collaborated with 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps in Kenya.

Octopizzo is the founder of the youth group Y.G.B. (Young, Gifted, and Black), which is a collective of MCs, poets, graffiti artists, graphic artists, and dancers. He founded his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation in 2015 and through the Foundation, he tries to use culture and sports to reach the youth.

More recently he has joined other activists addressing police brutality in Kenya, and drawing parallels between police violence in Kenya & the US. Recently he was involved in protests in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, holding up a sign of people killed and injured by the police. Recently, there have ben reports of over a dozen deaths at the hands of the Kenyan police supposedly trying to enforce a dusk to dawn curfew put in place to slow the spread of Corona.

The songs featured in the episode are “Nu Afrika” in the opening and “Another Day” in the closing.

Octopizzo can be found at: http://octopizzo.com/ | @OCTOPIZZO on Twitter & Instagram

The video version of this episode is on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ZOu5ILtZ-Vc

HHAP EPISODE 56: LORD EKOMY NDONG ON GABONESE HIP-HOP & FRENCH POLITICS (Video)

This is the video of our interview with Lord Ekomy Ndong. The video was originally posted on our YouTube channel.

HHAP EPISODE 55: HIP HOP PALAVER, V.2 (Video)

This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. It is a collaboration between the HHA Podcast and the Global Hip Hop Exchange (GHHE), which is an online network/community of hip hop creatives who are primarily from, or based in, Africa.

Featuring: Hustlajay Mau Mau, Fete Jen, Mikko of Planet Earth Planet Rap, & Msia

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