HHAP Episode 37: Mohamed Benloulou on hip-hop, politics, & (Black) liberation in Algeria

Mohamed Amine Benloulou is an Algerian hip hop scholar & beat maker based in Algiers. This interview took place in April, in the midst of protests in Algeria calling for the stepping down of the president and his government. Mohamed spoke about the history of hip hop in Algeria, historical connection between Algeria and Black liberation movements in the US, the influence of hip hop in historical and contemporary social movements in Algeria, and the role of racial and ethnic identities in Algerian hip hop.

Mohamed also discusses research on the connection between the Battle of Algiers film and hip hop, as well as cultural diplomacy and hip hop, as well as challenges around hip hop studies in Algeria.

Mohamed’s Soundcloud page: soundcloud.com/mohamedaminebenloulou Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DJAMINE47beatmaker/

The episode features the song “Allo le Système!” by Algerian emcee Raja Meziane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-ajCGiDlrg (w/English subtitles).
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/rajamezianeofficielleTwitter: https://twitter.com/RajaMeziane

Who is DJ Big Dris?

The world is finally taking notice of Idris Elba’s passion for music. As a man of many talents, many have recognized him as an actor, producer and director. His other long-time interests in DJing and rapping are finally getting recognition even though he has been consistent since he was just a boy. Idrissa Akuna Elba was born in London to a Sierra Leonean father and a Ghanaian mother. His father taught him how to speak Krio growing up. In his teenage years, a 14-year-old Elba began helping his uncle with a wedding DJ business. This start soon transformed into him starting his own DJ company. At this time, Elba would perform as DJ Big Driis in nightclubs. He was also known as Big Driis the Londoner. Elba has one album, four EPs and one mixtape. His features on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Dance Off” and the remix of Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul’s “Boasty” have both charted within the top 20 on the charts, with the later having over 30 million views on YouTube.

African-Americans, Africans, and Hip-Hop

In this podcast, two of the students in the Hip Hop in Africa course discuss African and African American communities. The students, one from Kenya, and the other from Nigeria, pose 3 questions: 1. What do you think causes the tension between Africans and African-Americans? 2. What role has hip-hop played in bridging that gap? 3. Why do male artists from both cultures seem to collaborate more than women?

Resources
Unah, Linus. “Not Everyone Is Happy With Nigeria’s Viral Version Of ‘This Is America’.” NPR 1 June 2018. http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/06/01/615805868/a-nigerian-rappers-take-on-donald-glover-s-this-is-america

The World’s Largest Slums: Dharavi, Kibera, Khayelitsha & Neza. (2018, September 07). https://www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk/blog/2017/12/the-worlds-largest-slums-dharavi-kibera-khayelitsha-neza/

Clark, & Kibona, M. (2018, November 01). Feminisms in African Hip Hop. Retrieved from https://read.dukeupress.edu/meridians/article-abstract/17/2/383/136652/Feminisms-in-African-Hip-Hop?redirectedFrom=PDF

Borders: What are they good for? Senegalese and Gambian Hip Hop

In this episode two students discuss hip hop in The Gambia and in Senegal. The two discuss the unique situation of The Gambia and Senegal and how the imposition of a border across the wolof culture has affected the music scene there. In the podcast, three artists are discussed: Y’en a Marre, Bai Babu, and T Smallz. The podcast begins talking about language, then moves to discussing differences in politicization of hip hop across the Senegambian region, and then wraps up with a discussion of gender rolls. Also discussed is the unique, continuing role of griot families in modern music.

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