HHAP Episode 48: Elom 20ce on The Role of Hip Hop in the Struggle for Pan Africanism

Togolese hip hop artist Elom 20ce is a multitalented artist, activist, and Pan Africanist. He brings Pan African ideals to his music and his art, and this episode Elom discusses studying international politics and working with the United Nations, and how his studies and experiences influenced his music. After witnessing the hypocrisy around international development and politics, he felt compelled to speak on it in his music. In his music he talks about the importance of Pan Africanism and the current state of neocolonialism that many African people find themselves living in. He stressed that neocolonialism is not just about what Europeans are doing, but it is also about our lack of unity. In the interview we also discuss hip hop in Francophone Africa, and how it differs from hip hop in Anglophone Africa. Elom explains that a lot has to do with Francophone Africa’s colonial history. The French had a system of direct rule, meaning that they were much more involved in not only economic control, but also influencing and transforming the culture of their colonies. The French maintained control over their colonies, even after independence. Elom believes that as a result, Francophone Africans are still struggling for their independence.

Elom 20ce also talks about his “Arctivism” project, and the importance of activism and hip hop. He talks about being introduced to the works of George Jackson, Frantz Fanon, and Cheikh Anta Diop, and others through hip hop. Through Arctivism, he hosts programs and workshops that facilitate dialogues around freedom of speech, development, and Pan Africanism. 

Elom 20ce is online at

HHAP Episode 47: Lola Monroe, Representing Ethiopia in Mainstream American Hip Hop

Model, video vixen, MC, BET Awards nominee, & reality TV star: Lola Monroe is an Ethiopian artist who has found success in the mainstream music industry in the United States. Going by many names, including Queen Roe, Lola Monroe was born Born in Ethiopia & raised in Washington, DC. She started her career in entertainment as a model & “video vixen”, and later moved to music. In 2011, she was nominated for BET’s Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and she also became the first woman to join Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang label. Throughout her career, she’s worked with hip hop artists such as Wiz Khalifa, King Los, Trina, and others. She has also appeared in films & on TV, including the reality show, The Platinum Life on the E! network.

In this interview we spoke about growing up rooted in both Ethiopian and African American communities, and representations of Ethiopians in the entertainment industry in America. She also discuses her decision to go vegan, and choices she has made regarding her health and diet. She also discusses her experiences in the music industry, and the relations between women MCs in the industry.

The episode starts with her single “Blah Blah”, and ends with her song “Grime”. Lola Monroe can be found on all social media & streaming platforms.

Instagram: @Iam_QueenRoe
Soundcloud: Iam_QueenRoe
Twitter: Thee_LoLaMonroe

HHAP Episode 46: Rwandan-Canadian MC, Shad, on the Evolution of Hip Hop

Shad is a Kenyan born, Rwandan hip hop artist, who hails from in London, Ontario, in Canada. With an eclectic sound, that blends musical influences, and a unique lyrical style, Shad made a name for himself in the Canadian hip hop scene, winning a Juno in 2010 for his 3rd album, TSOL. In addition to being an MC, Shad also hosted three seasons of the hip hop documentary series, Hip Hop Evolution, which can be seen on HBO Canada and Netflix. The series delves into the history, and evolution, of hip hop culture in the United States. In this interview we talk about Shad’s experience growing up as a Rwandan-Canadian hip hop head and MC. He talks about his career, beginning with his 1st album When This is Over (2005), to his more recent projects. He talks about the different cultural landscapes in Canada, which ultimately influences Canadian hip hop. Shad also talks about the influence of hip hop artists like Drake and K’naan on the international reach of Canadian hip hop. Both very different artists, but both have influenced the visibility of hip hop in Canada in different ways.

Shad also talks about hosting Hip Hop Evolution, the artists he’s interviewed, and some of the insight into hip hop culture that he gained in working on that project. He also talks about his approach to music, as well as the influences of his background and experiences in his music.

The intro song in the podcast is “FamJam”, the closing songs are “Magic” and “The Fool Part 2 from his most recent album, A Short Story About A War.

Shad is on social media at

HHAP Episode 45: Phlow, Navigating Hip Hop & Representation in Nigeria

In this episode of The Hip Hop African Podcast, we speak with Nigerian hip hop artist, Phlow. We talk about the impact of Afropop on hip hop culture in Nigeria, and the choices artists often make between hip hop and Afropop. Speaking of Afropop, we also discuss the possible opportunities for Nigerian hip hop in the wake of one of Nigeria’s fastest growing exports: pop music.

Phlow also talks about the struggles with longevity for women in the Nigerian hip hop scene, as well as the term “femcee” and the evolution of attitudes towards the term among women artists. In the conversation Phlow discusses the media’s focus on her ascetics, especially the reference to her as a “babe that can rap” by some media outlets. She discusses the pressure within the music industry that would like her to highlight her looks as a way to market her music. Phlow also points out that it is not only within hip hop that she experiences this type of objectification. She discusses being referred to as a “babe”, or a “beauty” in both hip hop circles and in her 9 to 5 job.

Phlow also tells us about her writing process and the inspirations for her material. Phlow discusses being a member of Str8buttah and the plans she has for her music. She is specifically interested in the question of representation, and allowing her music to speak to who she is. She speaks on incorporating different music styles, as well as the possibility of performing in other languages.

Songs

  1. “Hip Hop” (feat. MC Bravado) – Single
  2. “Fall” – Gloria – EP
  3. “5 Pages” – Gloria – EP

Phlow Online

HHAP Episode 44: From Gabon to the US: Ya Minko on his Experiences in American Hip Hop Culture

Gabonese artist Ya Minko came by campus for a conversation about his experiences in hip hop communities in Gabon and the United States. We had a long discussion on hip hop culture and the business of hip hop. Every artist has to decide how to market themselves, how to speak to their audience, and how to navigate the politics of the music industry.

Ya Minko spoke to us days before his presentation at the Apple Carnegie store in downtown Washington, DC. Where he performed his song “Tired” during a workshop on hip hop lyricism.

Ya Minko can be found on social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MinkoEmmanuel

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/minkoemmanuel/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnHYdkLknAUR1z2Ma_7QECQ

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/minko-emmanuel

HHAP Episode 43: Hip Hop and Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part conversation with hip hop scholar and University of Cape Town Professor Adam Haupt and hip hop artist Bradley Lodewyk (aka b-boy King Voue) from the group Brasse Vannie Kaap, or BVK. We met up at the University of Cape Town while they were working on their book project, Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism, and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and EP In the Key of B. The book and EP can be accessed at https://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/books/neva-again. The book was edited by Adam Haupt, Quentin Williams, H Samy Alim & Emile Jansen. The #IntheKeyofB EP was produced by Adam and Bradley and features Cape Flats MCs and vocalists, such as Nadine Matthews-Nunes, Naftali Solomons, Eavesdrop, Shameema Williams (ex Godessa), Natasha C. Tafari, Emile YX? (Black Noise, Heal the Hood), Amy Brown, Imie Vannie Delf, Dirtypro Agape Tadana, Stefan Benting, Razeen Haupt, Nathan Lodewyk, Zama Jimba and Jerome Rex.  

In this episode, Bradley talks about his work with BVK and the involvement of the group in politics. BVK members were from the Cape Flats area in Cape Town,  and rapped in Kaaps, a Cape Flats dialect of Afrikaans. They released their first album in the late-1990s. The conversation in this episode looks at hip hop under apartheid, and the influence of apartheid of the development of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also discuss South Africa’s history of protest and activism. Adam and Bradley discuss the failures of the post-apartheid government to live up to the promises of the movement, and their adoption of a neoliberal economic system, which “reinforced the racialized class divide”. Within this, Adam and Bradley say hip hop became, and still is, a vehicle to expose youth to progressive ideas The topics In the Key of B EP covers include  gang violence, toxic masculinity, the failures of the state, and gentrification Adam and Bradley also discuss bringing the various contributors together for this project, and their use of social media, especially WhatsApp, to communicate. In this project WhatsApp was a space for them to engage with social and political issues happening in South Africa, which would in turn, influence their work on the project. According to Adam, “It was also a way of demystifying the academic writing about the issues”.

The opening song is “Persevere” by Monishia Schoeman, Emile Jansen, Adam Haupt with additional vocals by Razeen Haupt, and the closing song is “Trickle Down” by Emile Jansen, Stefan Benting, Agape Dirtypro Tadana, Shameema Williams, and Adam Haupt. Both are on the album In The Key Of B

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