Hip Hop from Nigeria to America

In the article “Sharing Hip-Hop Cultures: The Case of Nigerians and African Americas,” author, S. Shonekan presents a thorough description of the state of hip hop as an artistic expression as a whole in the U.S. and in Nigeria. The author draws on the socio-economic conditions of African Americans who are pushed to the fringes of society through racist class oppression and Nigerians who live in one of the poorest and most deprived and dangerous places on Earth. In describing “Black Art” as a cultural expression of resistance and struggle, the author points out how many earlier hip hop artists in America such as Public Enemy, Kool Herc, Queen Latifah, Boogie Down Productions and others have been replaced by commercialized, mutated hip hop that clogs media today such as 50 Cent, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Snoop Dog and others who degrade women, promote violence and drug use and reinforce stereotypes.
Similarly in Nigeria, early pioneers of hip hop with messages of reality and resistance such as Junior, Daddy Showkey, Pretty and Baba Fryo have been replaced, overshadowed by flashy Nigerians who also mutilate hip hop. They look to American ‘pop’ hip hop for inspiration and imitation. Examples used by the author are 2Face, Black Face and others. However, within the U.S. mostly on the underground, sometimes managing to sell, are true hip hop artists like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Immortal Technique. In Nigeria as well largely shunned artists exist though they are even harder to find such as the Unsung Heros and Tribesmen, more on them to come.

Shonekan, S. Sharing Hip-Hop Cultures: The Case of Nigerians and African Americans. American Behavioral Scientist 2011 55: 9 originally published online 5 November 2010


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