Chapter Overview

This is an overview of the chapters in this book. The link to the chapters provide further details about the specific resources available in those chapters.

“Boomerang” is the song and debut album by the Senegalese group Daara J

Chapter 1: “Boomerang”: Hip Hop & Pan African Dialogues

This chapter:

  • Links hip hop rhyme, storytelling, and drum patterns to rhyming, storytelling, and drum patterns in African culture, to suggest both continuity and an understanding of hip hop’s growth in Africa.
  • Defines hip hop in Africa vis-a-vis other forms of popular music in Africa, as well as U.S. hip hop.
  • Takes on the question of “authenticity” with an analysis of the employment of established hip hop rhyme schemes found in hip hop in Africa.
  • Argues the existence of a musical relationship between the continent and the US Diaspora, as well as within the continent, through the use of sampling and collaborations.

Chapter 2: “Understand Where I’m Coming From”: The Growth of African Hip Hop and Representations of African Culture

Zavara Mponjika aka Rhymson from the Tanzanian hip hop group Kwanza Unit.

This chapter:

  • Argues that economic and political events on the continent in the 1980s and 1990s led to the development and politicization of hip hop culture
  • Details the ways in which hip hop emerged as a tool to represent social dissonance
  • Presents hip hop as a cultural representation beyond the music, specifically the use graffiti, media (film, magazines, radio), and fashion as forms of cultural representations within hip hop culture.

Chapter 3: “Lettre à Mr Le Président”: Social and Political Representations: Protest v. Combat Literature

This chapter:

  • Examines the varying relationships between the state and hip hop communities in Africa.
  • Uses Frantz Fanon’s analysis of protest and combat literature to examine the use of hip hop in social protest and social change in Africa.
  • Examines the role of hip hop in mobilizing for social and political change in the past 10 years.
  • Examines select social and human rights issues that hip hop artists in Africa have engaged through their music.
Mejah Mbuya from Tanzania’s Wachata Crew, the country’s oldest graffiti crew.

Chapter 4: “Femme de Combat”: Gendered Representations

This chapter:

  • Examines the cultural (local and global) environments in which female artists operate
  • Argues that the use of the hip hop tradition of braggadocio is used by artists to force a space for themselves in hip hop communities and serves to challenge ideas of femininity.
  • Argues that female artists present more nuanced representations of women and gendered social issues.
  • Examines the varying representations of female sexuality, sexual pleasure, and sexual identity by African female artists as legitimate representations of African womanhood.

Chapter 5: “Make You No Forget”: Representations of African migrant experiences in African Hip Hop

“Make You No Forget” is a song by Ghana’s Blitz the Ambassador.

This chapter:

  • Argues that US based African artists represent post-2000 African migrant experiences that differ from previous waves of African migrants
  • Examines African migrant artists representations of alienation, ties to home, and transnationalism
  • Argues that Diaspora-based African hip hop artists present additional considerations in the debate over “Afropolitanism” as a cultural identity for contemporary, hypertransnational African migrants.

Chapter 6: “Brkn Lngwjz”: Language, identity and cultural appropriation

“Brkn Lngwjz” is a song by Ghana’s Wanlov the Kubolor & M3nsa for the soundtrack to the film Coz ov Moni.

This chapter:

  • Argues that the use of African American Vernacular English and the employment of codeswitching by African migrant hip hop artists are representations of transnationalism among contemporary African migrants.
  • Argues that the ways in which hip hop artists use language to “represent” their identities speaks to variations in cultural identities and cultural competencies among African hip hop artists.