Diamond Platnumz and Ne-Yo Find a Common Language in “Marry You”

Tanzanian rapper, Naseeb Abdul Juma, more commonly known by his stage name Diamond Platnumz, is perhaps the most commercially beloved hip hop artist in Tanzania today. His music always seems to reflect the Bongo Flava unique to the East African country, with Caribbean sway and Afro-pop beats. Continue reading “Diamond Platnumz and Ne-Yo Find a Common Language in “Marry You””

Vanessa Mdee Subverts Gender Norms Through Color in Her 2016 Hit, “Cash Madame”.

2016 was the year of Beyonce’s Lemonade, Rihanna’s ANTI, and the maturation of girl groups like Little Mix and Fifth Harmony. Black women dominated the charts, producing music and music videos that allowed them to express a range of emotions, from angry to heartbroken, while exuding a sense of power, confidence, and sex appeal. In the same year that black American female artists embraced these powerhouse roles, across the globe another black female artist took note.  Continue reading “Vanessa Mdee Subverts Gender Norms Through Color in Her 2016 Hit, “Cash Madame”.”

A Return to Tradition

Witnesz Kibonge Mwepec is a female rap artist from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Witnesz is considered the biggest female MC in East Africa, and this is a title that she worked hard to achieve. She is regarded as an artist with ingenuity, complexity, and an amazing sense of humor. In her videos, Witnesz typically adorns traditional East African clothing, and she raps/sings in Swahili.

Prior to translating the lyrics, I just watched the video and listened to the lyrics. I wanted to see if I could get an idea of what the song was about, solely based on the images shown in the video. I paid attention to the setting of the video, the colors used, the clothing they wore, and the overall vibe of the song. After watching the video three times, I had the idea that the song was about a return to tradition. I thought this included honoring elders, ancestors, and Tanzanian customs. In the video, Witnesz and the dancers are having a celebration, or a chama. Men play the drums, the group does traditional dances, food is being prepared, there are dance circles, and a boy comes to meet a girl. The colors in the video were vibrant, and highlighted the colors of their skin. In addition to this, all of the clothing was traditional. This made me think that the theme of this video was a return to Tanzanian traditions and customs. Continue reading “A Return to Tradition”

Tanzania’s Hottest

Ever since Rosa Ree hip the hip-hop scene she was a force to be reckoned with. Rosa Ree  was born Rosary Robert, she had a passion for music at a very young age and with the support of her family she was able to focus on music. Rosa ree use her rapping talent to express clear emotions or her experiences throughout her life, and rap is her communication medium to the world. The East African hip hop scene, similar to any other African hip hop scene, often undermines women MCs, who can be considered not strong enough to be in the rap game. It’s good that Rosa Ree’s music is not only proving them wrong in Tanzania, but across Africa. Continue reading “Tanzania’s Hottest”

A Lyrical Lecturer: Nash MC

Hailing from Dar es Salaam, Nash MC is a very thoughtful artist, who is concerned with inciting change with his music, and teaching the youth. Nash Mc is a self-proclaimed “Maalim”, or a teacher. In the song “Naandika”, Nash MC educates listeners and helps create a sense of self-awareness. In the very first line of the first verse, Nash MC raps, “Naandika kuhusu utukufu wa Mungu wangu, anayeniongoka kwenye haya maisha yangu / I am writing about the glory of my God, who leads me in this life”. The rapper makes his faith in God clear, and tells listeners that God leads him. I’m sure many listeners can relate to this, but this line has the potential to expand people’s perspectives. Nash MC describes his relationship with God in such an eloquent way, which can comfort and welcome listeners. This is an effective way to begin his verse, but the topic of the song quickly shifts. Continue reading “A Lyrical Lecturer: Nash MC”

Diamond Platnumz and Mr Flavour Re-examine what Hip-Hop Looks Like in ‘Nana’

The opening credit reads, “Somewhere in Africa”, showing a well-groomed lawn, large home, or school presumably, and a classroom that could easily be transposed into American society. The clothing worn by the students is very heavily influenced by American culture, with large headphones, sports jackets, and elaborately jeweled outfits can be seen throughout. In fact, the first noticeably “African” element of the film is the accent heard from the first female speaker. There is a heavy emphasis on materialism in this video. From the gold watches and headphones, to the cars that Diamond Platnumz and Mont Flavour lean against in their solo shots, each character has a unique style that still manages to conform to a trans-Atlantic image of what hip-hop culture should embody. Continue reading “Diamond Platnumz and Mr Flavour Re-examine what Hip-Hop Looks Like in ‘Nana’”

Tanzanian Rappers, Stamina and Professor Jay, Represent in “Nawakilisha”

In their song, Stamina (ft. fellow Tanzanian rap artist, Professor Jay) exhibit heavy American influence in their hit song, Nawakilisha. Continue reading “Tanzanian Rappers, Stamina and Professor Jay, Represent in “Nawakilisha””

We’ll Never Die – How Music Transcends Global Boundaries

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In many Tanzanian countries, MC’s typically rap in Swahili. Recently, there have been several artists that feel more comfortable rapping and expressing themselves in English. In Dar es Salaam, Simalike Musika is one of the MC’s who prefers to rap in English. Continue reading “We’ll Never Die – How Music Transcends Global Boundaries”

HHAP Episode 14: African (Women) MCs & Hip Hop Lyricists

This episode features the music of several MCs from across Africa. We depart from the interview format and bring you music from some of our favorite (women) MCs. This is essentially a mixtape of diverse female voices in African hip hop. These MCs live in different countries, seek different languages, and speak on diverse topics. In each of these songs, the artists performing deliver strong, hard hitting lyrics that are both classic hip hop and representative of African styles of hip hop. See the artists’ social media pages for more information. Additionally, some of the artists have their work on iTunes. Those links are provided.

Track List

Moona (Senegal) “Revolution” |https://www.facebook.com/moonamusic/ | https://www.reverbnation.com/moona
OMG & Mamy Victory (Senegal) “OK” | https://www.facebook.com/omgmamyvictory/ | https://soundcloud.com/djpolthescratcheer
Eve Crazy (Senegal) “Alandouti Freestyle” | https://www.facebook.com/EVECRAZYY | https://www.reverbnation.com/evecrazy
Abena Rockstar (Ghana) “Abena” | https://www.facebook.com/AbenaRockstar/  | https://twitter.com/AbenaRockstar | https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/abena-rockstar/id948100755 | https://www.reverbnation.com/abenarockztar
EyiRap (Ghana) “Beast in the City” | https://www.facebook.com/EyiRap/ | https://twitter.com/eyirap
Pryse (Nigeria) “Na Still Woman” | https://www.facebook.com/itspryse/ | https://twitter.com/itspryse  | https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/pryse/id470236867
Stosh (Tanzania) “Supa Madini” | https://www.facebook.com/fellie.stosh | https://twitter.com/stosh_fellie
Tifa (Tanzania) “Emergency” | https://www.facebook.com/HIPHODIVA | https://twitter.com/TifaFlowz
Xtatic (Kenya) and Devour Ke Lenyora (South Africa) “BIGH” | https://www.facebook.com/OfficialXtatic/  & https://www.facebook.com/Devour-Ke-Lenyora-203940089617127/ | https://twitter.com/DevourKeLenyora
Enigma (Botswana) “Hard on Flow” | https://www.facebook.com/EnigmaTsiakoBW | https://twitter.com/267enigma | https://www.reverbnation.com/enigmabw
DJ Naida (Zimbabwe) “Zvakasara” | https://www.facebook.com/DjNaida00/ | https://twitter.com/DJ_Naida | https://www.reverbnation.com/djnaida
Gigi Lamayne (South Africa) “Gigi the Great” | https://www.facebook.com/Queen.Gigi.LaMayne/ | https://twitter.com/Gigi_Lamayne | https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gigi-lamayne/id925662382
Yugen Blakrok (South Africa) “Beastleague”| https://www.facebook.com/YugenBlakrok/ | https://twitter.com/YugenBlakrok | https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/yugen-blakrok/id814084117
Kanyi Mavi (South Africa) “Ingoma” | https://www.facebook.com/kanyimavi/ | https://twitter.com/Kanyi_Mavi | https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kanyi/id535359468

This episode features the music of several MCs from across Africa. We depart from the interview format and bring you music from some of our favorite (women) MCs. This is essentially a mixtape of diverse female voices in African hip hop. These MCs live in different countries, seek different languages, and speak on diverse topics. In each of these songs, the artists performing deliver strong, hard hitting lyrics that are both classic hip hop and representative of African styles of hip hop. See the artists’ social media pages for more information. Additionally, some of the artists have their work on iTunes. Those links are provided.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 14: African (Women) MCs & Hip Hop Lyricists”