HHAP Episode 31: Wachata Crew on Graffiti & Hip Hop Culture in Tanzania

Wachata Crew is the biggest, and oldest graffiti crew in Tanzania. With more than a decade of experience, the members of Wachata Crew are established and respected members of the hip hop scene in Tanzania. The members of Wachata are Local Fanatics, Kala Singa, Medi, and Mejah.

We met up at their studios at Nafasi Art Space (nafasiartspace.org) in Dar es Salaam and talked about graffiti culture in Tanzania. We discussed the origins of Wachata Crew with WAPI (Words and Pictures) at the British Council in Dar es Salaam back in 2007. Wachata Crew sheds light on how many Tanzanians see graffiti culture in Tanzania and the connections between graffiti and hip-hop culture in Tanzania.

Graffiti culture differs all over the world, the members of Wachata Crew talk about the cost and qualities of spray paint cans in Tanzania, v. other places. The artists also discuss their connections with graffiti beyond Tanzania, and the participation of women in graffiti culture in Tanzania.

You can find Wachata Crew on Instagram @wachata07 and each member at @muabaka, @kalasinga24, @mejahmbuya, @localfanatics

HHAP Episode 30: Hip Hop Producer Duke on Boombap & Hip Hop Production in Tanzania

This is an interview with Tanzanian hip hop producer Duke, founder of M Lab records, Tamaduni Muzik, and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). The interview is mostly in SWAHILI, but we switch back & forth a lot. The Hip Hop African podcast celebrates the various elements of hip hop, but this is our first interview with a hip hop producer.

Duke talks about how he became involved in hip hop in Tanzania, his involvement with the founding of Tamaduni Muzik and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cyphers) they used to host. These cyphers used to bring hundreds of youth from around Dar es Salaam to listen to the DJs, hear MC rhyme, participate in cyphers, buy hip hop fashion made by local artists. Duke also talks about issue of copyright and the art of sampling and the role of the producer in hip hop. We also discuss sounds, the role of the boom bap sound, as well as chopping up other sounds to create a unique sound that represents Tanzanian hip hop. He also talks about the top five artists outside of Tanzania that he would love to work with, as well the directions he sees hip hop in Tanzania going today.

Haya ni mahojiano na Duke, prodyuza wa muziki wa hip hop Tanzania, mwanzilishi wa M Lab Records, Tamaduni Muzik, na Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). Mahojiano yako zaidi katika SWAHILI, lakini tumechanganya na English kidogo. The Hip Hop African Podast inawakilisha nguzo mbalimbali za hip hop, lakini haya ni mahojiano yetu ya kwanza na prodyuza wa hip hop.

Duke anazungumzia jinsi alivyohusika katika hip hop nchini Tanzania, kushiriki kwake na kuanzishwa kwa Tamaduni Muzik na Hip Hop Kilinge. Kwenye Kilinge, vijana vyengi kutoka Dar es Salaam walikuja kusikiliza muziki uliochezwa na DJs, kusikia sauti ya MC, kushiriki katika cyphers, kununua bidhaa za mitindo ya hip hop. Duke pia anazungumzia suala la hakimiliki na sanaa ya sampling na jukumu la prodyuza katika hip hop. Tulizungumzia pia sauti ya boom bap, na pia kuchop sauti nyingine ili kutengeneza sauti ya kipekee ambayo inawakilisha hip hop ya Tanzania. Pia anazungumzia kuhusu MCs watano wa nje ya Tanzania ambao angependa kufanya kazi nao. Pia tulizungumzia muelekeo wa Hiphop ya Tanzania katika nyakati hizi.

HHAP Episode 29: Ghanaian Hip Hop Scholar Joseph Ewoodzie on Hip Hop in the South Bronx

Ghana born, Bronx raised hip hop scholar Joseph Ewoodzie has published the book Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop’s Early Years, a book that uncovers details of hip hop’s early years in the South Bronx. Ewoodzie’s book provides rich details of hip hop’s history in the South Bronx. In this interview he discusses his decision to write the book and touches on some of the major themes the book addresses. For example, Ewoodzie talks about the social economic environment in the South Bronx that gave rise to hip hop, environments that mirrored the environments that gave rise to hip hop in Africa.

In the interview we also cover the book’s

Discussion of the link between gang culture and hip hop
The controversies around Afrika Bambaataa
The rise and decline of the visibility of the DJ in mainstream hip hop
The connection between hip hop culture and Africa’s oral tradition
The connections between music in Africa and the Diaspora
South Bronx Ghanaian immigrants in the development of hip hop
The origins of the masculinization of hip hop
The book can be purchased at: uncpress.org/book/9781469632759/break-beats-in-the-bronx

Joseph Ewoodzie can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/piko_e

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HHAP Episode 28: Politics & Hip Hop from the Children of Sundiata

This episode is a conversation with Malian hip hop artist and activist Amkoullel L’enfant Peulh on hip hop and politics in Mali. Amkoullel has been involved in hip hop culture in Mali for many years, and he’s been vocal about politics inside and outside of the country. Having lived in France and the United States, Amkoullel is back in Mali where he remains involved in the hip hop community. He is also involved in mentoring artists and working in TV and radio production and distribution in Mali.

A strong voice in Malian hip hop, in this conversation we discuss the political nature of Francophone rap in West Africa, specifically in Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. Amkoullel traces how hip hop artists in Mali developed their own lyrical identity, based in large part on their own oral traditions and cultural identities. 

In discussing the past and current political events in Mali, Amkoullel talks about the roles of artists in social change and the importance of artists  representing the voice of the people when they use their platform on the international stage. Amkoullel also discusses the impacts of the media’s misconceptions of Mali within the country, as well as the impact of political events in Mali on Malian hip hop.

We begin the episode with one of Amkoullel’s early songs, “Farafina”, which was released in 2010. 

The next song is “Maliko”, which was recorded by several Malian musicians, including Amkoullel. The song is a call for peace and an end to violence against women.

Amkoullel is on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amkoullel_a.k.a._ez_ba/ 

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HHAP Episode 27: Laura Lora on the Politics of Gender & a Ghanaian American Identity

In this episode we speak with Ghanian-born, U.S. based artist Laura Lora. In the interview, Laura Lora talks about her experiences an artist, navigating between Ghana and the United States. Growing up in Los Angeles has definitely influenced her music and style, as she talks about being Ghanian and American. Laura Lora, who majored in Black Studies in college, also talks about her experiences in the African American community, and with the divide between Africans and Africans Americans in the United States. 

Her music and work has also placed her in conversations around gender and sexuality, where she chooses to confront ideas on how African, or Ghanian women should dress and behave. In this interview she also addresses ideas of beauty and femininity, which she has also chosen to challenge. 

Laura Lora is very conscious and intentional about her music, and the messages she wants to send. She is very intentional about her confrontations with gender and identity. Her most recent video for the song “Rebel” blends hip hop, femininity, Ghanian ascetics, and American sounds and visuals. The colorful video is clear in its expression of all of these identities.

You can find Laura lora on:
lauraloramusic.com
SoundCloud @lauraloramusic
Facebook @Lauraloramusic
Instagram @Mslauraloa
Twitter @akaDeviantLady 

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HHAP Episode 26: Hip Hop Studies at Black Universities in the U.S.

This episode is an African Studies palaver on teaching hip hop related courses at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The discussion focused on approaching hip hop studies from African centered perspectives, as well the impact of those courses being taught at HBCUs on their structure and content.

Leading the discussion are hip hop professors/activists who are teaching hip hop related courses and participating in important dialogues within hip hop studies.

Greg Carr @AfricanaCarr‏ Howard University

Tewodross Melchishua Williams Bowie State University

Jared Ball @IMIXWHATILIKE  Morgan State University

Moderator: Msia Kibona Clark @kibona Howard University

The event was held at Howard University and was sponsored by the Department of African Studies and the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center.

Music by Sa-Roc: http://sarocthemc.com | @sarocthemc | facebook.com/sarocthemc/

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HHAP Episode 25: Klein Fortuin on Hip Hop in Mitchells Plain & Rock the Mic

This conversation with Rock the Mic winner, and Cape Town MC Klein Fortuin took place at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in April 2018. Klein Fortuin won the Rock the Mic competition held by Heal the Hood, a Cape Town based hip hop community organization. 

In the conversation Klein Fortuin talks about his career and hip hop in the Mitchells Plain township in Cape Town, South Africa, which is home to a legendary hip hop scene and the birthplace of South African hip hop. Klein Fortuin talks about what makes that township such an epicenter for hip hop culture in South Africa.

Klein Fortuin also talks about his win in Heal the Hood’s Rock the Mic competition and commercial and underground rap scenes in South Africa.

Klein Fortuin is on SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/klein-fortuin) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kleinfortuin/)

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HHAP Special Episode: Hip-Hop in Africa Book Talk

This is a special episode of the Hip Hop African Podcast. This episode is a conversation between Dr. Msia Kibona Clark, the author of Hip-Hop in Africa, and moderator Dr. James Pope. Dr. Pope is a professor at Winston Salem State University and an organizer with the Africa World Now Project. The conversation took place at the legendary Sankofa Video Book and Cafe in Washington, DC. The event was sponsored by the following organizations Africa World Now Project | Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, & Dignity | Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) | Sankofa Books
 
If you are listing to the podcast on a platform other than the blogsite, you can access some of the images from the evening’s event on our blogsite: hiphopafrican.com.

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HHAP Episode 24: Free Speech, Censorship, and Protest in China and South Africa

This podcast is the panel discussion titled “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest”, that was held at the 13th annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. The discussion addressed issues of censorship and free speech in hip hop, in both China and South Africa. The artists discussed their own careers in hip hop, and hip hop culture in their countries.

The panel featured 

MC Puos, a Chinese artist based in Shanghai. He is a co-founder of Bang, China’s 1st hip hop magazine, and a founding member of the hip hop collective DDM. He also launched a startup education technology company to promote hip hop culture in China, and recently released a documentary on hip hop in China.
Dana Burton (@DetroitShowtyme), an American artist based in Shanghai. After leaving Detroit for China, he became involved in the hip hop scene in China and created Iron Mike, a national rap battle that takes place in China.
Emile YX (@EmileYX), a South African artist based in Cape Town. He is a member of the pioneering hip hop group Black Noise, and is the founder of the hip hop based community organization Heal the Hood.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Msia Kibona Clark (@kibona), from Howard University

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HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity

This interview with Ugandan artist Ruyonga, formerly known as Krukid, is an in-depth discussion on the artist’s perspective on the Black experience, relations between African Americans and Africans in America, his issues with the Black Panther film, being a Christian MC, and his perspective on laws and politics in Uganda.

Ruyonga studied in the U.S. in the early 2000s. He began rapping in Uganda before coming to the States, and he established an underground career in the U.S. and became known for his distinct sound and strong lyrical ability. After almost a decade in the US, Ruyonga returned to Uganda. He changed his name to Ruyonga and built his career as a Christian rapper.

After a long stay Ruyonga has an interesting perspective on being an African immigrant in America, and the tensions between African and African American communities. He talks about those tensions from an African immigrant perspective, and comments on the diverse racial and ethnic dynamics he saw in different parts of the United States. The conversation turns towards pop culture and race and Ruyonga has strong feelings about the Black Panther and the representations of Africans in the film, and Hollywood’s presentation of the Black experience.

Ruyonga also opens up about his views on race, Black pride, and feminism, as well as his views on the ways different groups of people have been pitted against each other. Part of the conversation includes the artist’s views on some of Uganda’s more controversial laws regarding women and sexuality, especially the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Still a strong lyricist, Ruyonga now uses Christianity as the vehicle with which to express his lyricism. His latest release is Voice Of My Father, and follows an impressive body of work that spans over 10 years. Ruyonga is on

BandCamp at https://ruyonga.bandcamp.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ruyonga/482094271

Twitter: @ruyongamusic

Episode Breakdown
7:30 “African American, American African”
9:30 “Pearl City Anthem”
11:45 “Hand of God”
12:40 Background and move to the US
14:00 The Black Experience
15:15 African & African American relations
23:42 The Black Panther movie & Hollywood
29:33 Black pride, feminism
32:00 The return to Uganda
35:45 Language
37:18 Christianity & politics

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