HHAP Episode 23: 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

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

Ms. Nthabi’s “Broken Silence”

South Africa’s Ms. Nthabi 🇿🇦 has just released the mixtape “Broken Silence” on SoundCloud. Ms. Nthabi is an established emcee, and it’s good to hear her back. She has established a reputation as both a lyricist and spoken word artist. It’s not easy finding her previous stuff online, but you can find some of her powerful spoken word performances via Google searches. With a career that has expanded more than a decade, Ms. Nthabi is one of the artists newer generations of emcees often cite as a source of inspiration. Her new mixtape, “Broken Silence” is one of the few projects she’s released in a long time. It’s a 6-track, introspective project that blends her lyricism & spoken word skills. The songs address her experiences in the industry and her personal journey, offering some insight into what may have accounted for her hiatus from rap. Women are an important part of a recent surge of dope lyricism and strong hip hop content coming out of South Africa, content that departs from the country’s commercial hip hop scene. Content that is getting increasing international attention. This environment is positive for hip hop culture in SouthAfrica & may have influenced Ms. Nthabi’s new release. The mixtape can be found on SoundCloud.

13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival: Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest”

Hip hop, music genre developed in the 1970s by inner-city African Americans from the Bronx, New York city, consists of conscious lyrics which often bluntly address social, political, or economic issues. The nature of hip hop is explicit, authentic, and genuine, and now after decades of diffusion and cultural spreading, the art form perseveres to survive even in areas where censorship and limitation of expression run deep. On April 6th 2018, during the Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” at the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, Howard University’s Dr. Msia Kibona Clark moderated a group of hip hop artists from all over the world who discussed the condition of media censorship of hip hop in the realm of social change and political discourse.

Dana Burton, a hip hop pioneer and influencer in China asserts that the supposed ban on hip hop in China was simply “fake news.” Burton went on to explain the reaches of Chinese censorship, exemplifying the Chinese ban on the ‘Free Tibet movement.’ In summary, anything that violates national integrity remains off limits in China. For example, videos which include the Tibet flag are banned and individuals are forbidden from using the word ‘Tibet’ in public or media settings.

Another panelist, MC Puos is a hip hop journalist who cofounded china’s first hip hop magazine, Bang. He discussed his upbringing in Detroit and referenced his understanding of words, communication, and censorship, and the unspoken rule of limited self-expression as a youth. A person could lose their life by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person: a realization that showcased the strength of words.

Panelist Emile YX?, a journalist, author, playwright, b-boy, and member of Black Noise, (one of the first hip hop groups in South Africa) discussed the current censorship is South Africa. As a solution to the suppression of black voices in South African Media, YX? proposed that black people create their own markets and industries. His project, Heal the Hood focusses on dismantling the Eurocentric monopolization of the capitalist society by supporting our own businesses. Overall the event was an enlightening intellectual experience.

Trinity Hip Hop Festival 2018 Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” Recap

The 13th annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival was focused on censorship and activism when it comes to hip hop on a global scale. Aside from great performances and artwork from international acts, there were also discussions and panels catered to the overall theme of protest, free speech empowering the youth around the world. One panel in particular that was very engaging was the discussion on “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” which featured MC Puos and Dana Burton from China and Emile YX from South Africa on the panel that moderated by Dr. Msia Clark herself. Continue reading “Trinity Hip Hop Festival 2018 Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” Recap”

Saudi

Anele Mbisha, known to his fans as Saudi, was born and bred in one of Soweto’s townships, Senaone. Growing up in a family that loved music and had a large collection of records. The likes of Brenda Fassie, Michael Jackson and Nina Simone inspired him to pursue music as a career. The Twenty-one year old recorded his first song on an electronic keyboard at the age of 13. 2016 saw Saudi propelling to greater heights when he featured in the hit single “Ameni” by Miss Pru, which features Emtee, Fifi Cooper, B3nchmark, A-reece Sjava, and Saudi. As a producer and songwriter, Saudi talents played a role on A-reece it single “I couldn’t” and DJ Citi Lyts hit “Washa” featuring the ambitiouz family of artist. Following his first feature, Saudi’s debut single under Ambitiouz Entertainment “There she go” was released on the 15th of April as a free download. Continue reading “Saudi”

Dumi Hi Phone – Sho Madjozi

Within the African hip hop community, there are often instances in which artists leave their home country to pursue an academic career elsewhere. When they return to their country and produce hip hop, they sometimes combine their native language with English, creating a unique blend of cultural references. However, there are also times in which artists choose to rap in their native tongue, even though they possess the capability to rap English. Continue reading “Dumi Hi Phone – Sho Madjozi”

Lolo Vandal

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South Africa has eleven official languages; Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swati, Ndebele, English, and Afrikaans. With Zulu and Xhosa being the most commonly spoken languages throughout the country it stands to reason that the rap created therein would also adhere to that trend. Granted some of the more mainstream South African artists, say Cassper Nyofest or Shane Eagle, rap in languages such as English in order to draw in more international attention. No judgement from me –  secure the bag and do what you gotta do. But on the inverse of this there is a noticeable, conscious decision and trend of artists across the continent to rap in their native tongue; to make a concerted effort to speak to the people in the closest proximity to them.

And that – that’s pretty cool. Enter stage right: Zuxole Ngetu also known as Lolo Vandal.

Continue reading “Lolo Vandal”

The Prince Of The South

 

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We see all the time in the United States artist claim there titles. You got the King of New York or The Queen of Rap, but meet the Prince of South African Rap. Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known by his stage name AKA. AKA is a South African hip hop recording artist and record producer. Continue reading “The Prince Of The South”

Toya Delazy – Greatest

Several African hip hop artists have left their homelands to continue pursuing a musical career in another country. However, their roots are often present in their lyrics and music, showing strong ties to their country of origin and the dialogue of the Diaspora. This is somewhat the case for South African hip hop artist Toya Delazy, whose real name is Latoya Nontokozo Buthelezi. At just 28 years old, the influential hip hop artist’s origins are from Durban, South Africa. However, Toya Delazy is currently based in London. Despite being based in London, Toya Delazy’s music illustrates strong influences of her South African history and upbringing, as well as influences of being based in London. Continue reading “Toya Delazy – Greatest”

Nadia Rose: Lyricist

Nadia Rose, a creative young rapper from South Africa Ghana, based in England has been changing the music scene with her lyrical talent. Her unique character has been in the game for a few years now, and her style has been matched by few competitors. Rose’s legendary music video, Skwod, has caught the attention of millions on youtube and various other social media platforms. There’s very little negative to say about her skill. She has managed to combine high quality, intellectual lyricism with a dope style and flow. Continue reading “Nadia Rose: Lyricist”