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. 62: Sensai T8 and The HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights Podcast

HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was a radio show first produced on the campus of Rhodes University in South Africa in 1999, and made available on podcasting platforms in 2006. The podcast ran for about three years, releasing more than 20 episodes, some of which can still be heard on Podomatic. HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was the first regularly produced podcast on African hip hop. The show was the only place to get a variety of music from MCs across Africa, featuring early music from artists like Blitz the Ambassador, HHP, K’Naan, M.anifest, Modenine, and Yugen Blakrok. The show was also pioneering in that it played hip hop from all over Africa, from major hip hop scenes like South Africa to lesser-known hip hop scenes like Equatorial Guinea. The show was on podcasting platforms before most hip hop artists in Africa had a solid social media presence, and before podcasting became part of hip hop culture. While today there are streaming services, like Planet Earth Planet Rap (PEPR) Radio, there is still a void in terms of podcasts one can download to hear what’s happening with hip hop across Africa. In this episode I talk to Sensai T8, one of the founders of HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights, about the show’s start and its evolution into a podcast. We discuss some of the artists that appeared on the show’s playlist, and the show’s legacy in documenting African hip hop during that period in time.

Sensai T8 can be found on Instagram at @Sensaitate
The podcast can be found at hiphocalypse.podomatic.com

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

HHAP EPISODE 59: Moonaya on Dakar’s hip hop collectives, hip hop Pan Africanism, & Western imperialism in Africa.

Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.

Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in “Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.

Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.

“We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!”

Moonaya
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.

We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.

Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.

To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKkp-gOdxcmRBV7faC7w0Q
https://www.instagram.com/moonaya221/
https://www.facebook.com/MoonayaOfficiel
https://twitter.com/moonamuzik
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/moonaya/1435034416

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

1 2 3 12