Zambian hip-hop artist The Holstar, paired with Nigerian producer Teck-Zilla, came out with the song “Past, Present And Future.” It is a sultry backdrop tune that is smooth and actually immediately remixes with the introduction of Teck-Zilla, but then reverts back to the easy beat that makes the rap easy to hear. The music video is honest with nothing fancier than a natural roof top, night time backdrop and a few backup singers who seem like they are really just there to enjoy the music. This is why the music need only speak for itself, and it is almost a representation of the authenticity that is present. There is no need to invoke frivolous imagery because The Holstar is a true lyricist. This can be affirmed by some other videos of him doing spoken word and by the pure fact that he is known as one of Zambia’s pioneers in hip-hop.
His work is evident in this song off his “The Extraordinaires” album, that his work embodies ethnicity. He seems to be conveying the fact that we are more than our current reality. He references significant events in the past, current strife Africans and the diaspora must face, and mentions extraterrestrial life. All of these are meant to serve to represent each word in the title of the song “Past, Present And Future.” It is a rather profound thought that you are more then what people may say you are because you embody these different dimensions of time within you. I feel like this message has a lot to do with the artist’s efforts to promote other Zambian hip-hop artists. I believe the narrative that is taken is more to motivate future artists and people in Zambia. It is to discuss the fact that Africans have strength in their history, therefore, a successful future.
GNL Zamba stands out in Uganda’s rap scene as the first rap artist to popularize indigenous rap, or Lugaflow. He inspired a new generation of rappers in Uganda to rap in their indigenous languages. He earned fame as a rap artist during the initial development of the hip hop scene in Uganda, where he auditioned for Hip Hop Canvas, a multi-lingual music project. He stood out because of his ability to tell local stories in Luganda through his rap. GNL Zamba came to discover his passion for music as a child, when his grandmother encouraged him to pursue it. He grew up in the slums of Kampala around a lot of poverty post-civil war, which helped GNL Zamba tell stories about socioeconomic issues in his rap. Surprisingly, he went on to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Management. He is now the founder and CEO of an independent Hip Hop label called Baboon Forest Entertainment.
GNL Zamba is most well known for using his songs to highlight
and criticize issues of sexuality, womens’ issues, domestic violence, politics,
environment, and more. He uses characters in his raps to portray instances of
these issues affecting people’s lives.
GNL Zamba is heavily involved in humanitarian and social work, both in Uganda and overseas. He has done a lot of work to promote sexual health and safety. He worked with Buzz Teenies to tour Ugandan schools, provide mentorship, and speak about safe sex. His song, “We Cry,” was a huge influence in promoting the message of safe sex to Ugandan youth. Additionally, his music video for “True Manhood” encouraged Ugandan youth to use condoms. He has also travelled to the US, and helped promote sexual health programs in Los Angeles and NYC.
GNL stands for “Greatness No Limits,” and GNL Zamba’s
greatness is easily seen in his work promoting indigenous languages as well as the
stories of Ugandan people in his music.
Macky 2 is a Zambian Hip Hop artist, that seemed to have the top hits on an American web browser search for “Hip Hop in Zambia.” Macky 2’s video with the most hits on YouTube, aside from a new music video he was featured in a month ago, is one for his song “So Much More.” The video’s icon has an enticing image of a large ocean, blue mountains in the background, two people sitting in each other’s arms, and white letter’s that spell out “Macky 2.” One person is definitely Macky 2 and the other, sitting in between his legs, is a woman. They both have white clothing on that does well to heighten the beauty of the background and themselves.
As the video starts you
hear the rush of the ocean and see several scenes of Macky 2 and the women. This
song is in English, and you see that they are on a date on the beach with wine and
Macky 2 mainly sings about her in the scenes when he is just featured. This is
clearly a love song. There are scenes of both of them clearly being in love,
Macky 2 alone, and the woman taking various beautiful poses. Macky 2 sings
about her, rather than to her, to invite the public to understand how amazing
this woman is. He really does not mention anything about her physical beauty,
and I think that is the point of the song. He talks about liking the way she
carries herself, how the world is better with her, and how she can trust him. A
lot of what he says about loving her can be considered cliché love song lines. Towards
the end of the song he switches out of English and the clothes transition with
it into more traditional Zambian clothing. A bilingual song with a universal
message anyone can understand no matter what language you speak. The message is
obvious, and the music is upbeat which is understandable why Macky 2 is dancing
the entire time. Although the lyrics are cliché, it does not take the typical
route of simply being in love with a woman’s body or good looks. It is not
nuanced, but I think people really enjoy something light and fun to listen to,
which is why it does not need to be in order to achieve the level of popularity
it has on a YouTube search of the artist.
Nowadays, it seems like it is so easy to reach stardom; and in some cases it is! Let’s be honest, living in the digital age has left so many chances to become rich and famous. Two things are for certain: if it’s Hip Hop in anyway, you can go viral, if it is a child showing their talents, you can go viral. Continue reading “Dizmo, a New Zambian Star”
According to Kabanda Slayman, a blogger for the Zed Corner blogging site, Cleo Ice Queen is apart of the top 10 sexist Zambian artist. As apart of keeping this image, she is the brand ambassador for Maximum Diva Female Condoms, she talks about it openly in her music, and even her apparel reflects her sex appeal.
How does an Under Armour commercial display the full potentiality of feminine athleticism and power? They could set the whole video to a Sampa the Great song, for one.
A Zambian-born, Botswanan-raised artist with a point to prove, Sampa the Great has distinguished herself as not only one of Africa’s great female MCs, but one of the world’s great MCs— female or not— and her music serves to support this claim. Embracing the role of feminist inspiration and all-around skilled MC, Sampa the Great’s F E M A L E possesses a powerful and uplifting message about the power of women around the world. Its lines acknowledge just how much respect women deserve in a society that constantly allows accomplished females to go unrecognized. She also mentions the power in African women, and the importance of recognizing our roots and how they contribute to our strength. She mentions the power of women struggling economically, the power of women fighting everyday to reach their goals, and the power of women to get out and continue to achieve more. Continue reading “F E M A L E”
Fumba Chama, also known as PilAto, is a Zambian rapper from Ndola. This very controversial artist doesn’t just stop at the meaning of his name (PilAto: People in Lyrical Arena Taking Over), but he has recently fled Zambia because of death threats due to his latest song, “Koswe Mumpoto” which translates into “Rat in the Pot.”https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk3zmuSvAYw The “rat(s)” just so happens to be President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front (FP). They are referred to as rats because they take everything, even things they do not need, like a rat. Continue reading “PilAto, back at it again…”
Chileshe Kasuba, widely known as Chile, is a Zambian rapper, singer, producer and sound engineer based in Ukraine. He was introduced to hip hop music through his cousins in the late 90’s and ever since then has the loved and practiced the art. Growing up on the Copperbelt region of Zambia, which is considered the HQ of hip hop in Zambia,Chile learned a handful of things about the art of music and hip hop in particular.
Chile’s sound is predominantly influenced by west coast rap, a touch of R&B/Pop and his love for house music also makes its way into some of his music. A recording artist since 2005, Chile has been recording music for a while, but just recently got into the production aspect of the art in 2013. After a move to Ukraine to further his studies he deemed it necessary to learn and acquire extensive knowledge in production and sound engineering. Ever since then he has been nominated for several awards in Ukraine and is currently signed to an indie label he co-owns called AZM.inc.
He hopes to one day share his stories, experiences, love and hope to the world through music. He wants to shine a light on Africa, a place he holds dear to his heart. I got the opportunity to listen to his single called Loud Silence. Loud Silence is a love story about deceit, hope and the painful truth. This song tells a story about how the love of his life walked out of his life one day. She made a promise that she would always come back but it didn’t turn out that way. He planned his entire life around this one person, but unfortunately nothing went as planned. I love songs that tell stories, I would listen to this when I was going through a heart-break to feel like I wasn’t going through my hard times alone. Chile is that one artist that many that have listened to his music say he does have a unique sound and the world should look out for him.
Clememtia Mulenga aka Cleo Ice Queen is a hip-hop artist that was born in Zambia.
In a 2013 article on luskatimes.com some background regarding Cleo is provided. She is 22 years old and began listening to hip hop music at age 6, and started rapping herself when she was Zambia. 11 years old.
In an interview with Slam Dunk TV (sdtv) Cleo explains that she moved from her hometown in 2007 to South Africa. In the Slam Dunk interview it is explained that Cleo moved to South Africa to attend college, which forced her to put music on hold for a while, but in 2011 Cleo decided to pursue music as a career.
Luskatimes reports that Cleo is known for working with various artists from all over Africa, and has a few hit songs in Zambia, where she was born. In her bio posted on reverbnation, she is said to have started in an all-girl trio band called South West Divas (S.W.D.) that performed a variety of genres, Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, Pop, Ragga and Dance.
It was explained that her alias “Ice Queen” was derived from her love of jewelry; in hip-hop jargon jewelry is referred to as “ice”. As a result of her love of jewelry she refers to herself as a businesswoman, because she launched a successful business selling a variety of jewelry, such as silver and water pearls.
Even though Cleo is successfully exploiting the natural resources of Africa, my impression is that Cleo strives to be compared with the popular American rappers that wear the exhibit the bling and extravagant fashions.
It seems that Cleo has some notoriety in Zambia, but she is not well-known outside of Africa. As a matter of fact the artists with who she has recently collaborated with are African artists, such as Crisis from Zambia, Hanni of Big Brother Africa, and LIC of Nigeria, to name a few.