Social and Political issues/change
For my mixtape, the following themes were selected: Social and Political change. Social and political issues continue to plague many parts of the world where corruption, police brutality, poverty, and unemployment plague many people. While this is a universal issue, the focus of this mixtape will be African rappers and the social and political issues they rap about in order to bring about action or awareness. In many of the music on this mixtape, rappers rely on lyrics, imagery, and visuals to convey their messages. The inclusion of rapper Lil Baby’s song The Bigger Picture in this mixtape shows that while the mixtape focuses on African rappers, there are rappers around the world who are also very versatile and use their platform and music to bring awareness to social and political issues. These songs result in meaningful discourse and can be used to lead to people taking action.
I will be playing the following songs: Lil Baby’s The Bigger PIcture, Falz’s This is Nigeria, Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem’s Jaga Jaga Reloaded, and Imagine Uganda by Recho Rey
Lil Baby’s: The Bigger Picture
This song opens up with a protest in Minneapolis in 2020, a year when cases of police brutality in America were made public for the public to see. Lil Baby uses a lot of figures and the lyrics/language he uses are all aimed at fighting police brutality, and imagery includes his use of the protest where many people are wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts while protesting police brutality, racism, and the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. There are also visual recordings showing police attacking Black bodies and this emphasizes their disregard for Black bodies and America’s continuous portrayal of the mindset that Blackbodies are easily disposable. He also uses the following rap verse: “Knowledge is power” where he is telling people to stay educated and not close their eyes to corruption and wrongful killings. He is telling young people to also vote, and this is another example of combat music. The song is very catchy and it has really great beats and it shows that Lil Baby and rappers in general, will rap about issues affecting society; and issues that demand the public’s and government’s attention and action. This song relates to the theme, but it also portrays the work that artists continue to do when America moves on from broadcasting social justice issues. Hip Hop will continue shedding light on the issues and demand action and bring these issues to the forefront.
Falz the Bahd Guy: This is Nigeria
This song is Falz’s use of the “This is America” song by Childish Gambino song and music video and putting a Nigerian spin on it. In this Nigerian version, Falz sheds light on the social and political issues in Nigeria. The opening statements are as follows: “We operate a predictory, neo-colonial capitalist system, which is founded on fraud and exploitation and therefore you are bound to have corruption institutionalists.” He also raps that people are still working multiple jobs, trying to make ends meet, but are called lazy by politicians and the government. The music is catchy, and he uses people, dances, props, and visuals (ex: such as violence, corruption, bribery, police brutality) to illustrate the social and political issues, and this is also something that Childish Gambino did in his song, “This is America.” The beats throughout the song and the lyrics keep readers engaged until the end. The visuals which align with the lyrics are an important piece of the message Falz is trying to convey through the song. He wants people to be aware of the political and social issues that are happening in Nigeria and the oppression powerless people continue to face. Falz continues to be a voice for political and social change in Nigeria and he uses his music to get people to take action and gain awareness of the corruption and how the turmoil that brings to the country.
Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem: Jaga Jaga Reloaded
Eedris Abdulkareem is a Nigerian hip hop artist who is known for rapping about controversial social and political issues. In his song Jaga Jaga Reloaded he raps about Nigeria’s corrupt police system, corruption in Nigeria, and his song features two other rappers who also aid in conveying his message about the corruption in Nigeria. The song includes videos of protesters and Eedris and the other male rapper featured are both wearing a shirt that says “jaga jaga,” which translates to rubbish in English. Their use of English and Pidgin allows them to reach many audiences whether they are in America or Nigeria. The song also uses lyrics call out how the government lies to its people, the lyrics also call for change and the mentioning of the Black Lives matter movement in the US is used to show that restructure is also needed in Nigeria. The video uses recorded clips from ENDSARS protests and imagery to get the message across to viewers and the music. Eedris Abdulkareem is one of many African Hip Hop artists who uses their voices to challenge political and social issues.
Imagine Uganda: Recho Rey
Recho Rey is a Ugandan rapper, singer, and songwriter. Recho Rey’s approach is one that differs from many of the artists on my mixtape because she uses cartoons and extremely vibrant colors to keep viewers engaged. In one of the scenes, there is a cartoon of what I believe is her, and the banner at the bottom of the news channel screen changes as the visuals change to show the many issues in Uganda. The rap is mainly in her Ugandan language and many artists rap in their native language depending on the audience they are trying to reach. The phrase “Imagine Uganda ” and “Uganda, my motherland..preach peace” are the only lyrics in English, and this can be used to bring emphasis to the possibilities and what Uganda can become. Translated, the song talks about a Uganda with love, peace, no hunger and poverty, and a Uganda with quality education and without corruption.