Politics Through Hip Hop

Music has been a way to express oneself and reach to the masses for many years. For my theme, I chose songs that express rappers political concern through song. Even though each rapper is a representation of the different countries throughout Africa, they share the same sentiments through song and are working towards educating the people through their craft. 

Never Again – Prophets of Da City

Prophets of Da City released Never Again in 1994. Unlike the other songs that I’ve chosen, this one is more so celebrating the end of apartheid. Apartheid was a system of segregation in South Africa that lasted from 1948 up until the early 1990’s, well after the implementation of desegregation in the United States. The song starts off with “Never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land shall experience the oppression of one by another.” This alone, sets the tone for the rest of the song that follows afterward. They talk about the revolution and dedicate this song to those who stood up when times were rough but more importantly expressing how their efforts should not be in vain. Every effort that they worked hard for to abolish apartheid, should continue so that they are not forced to be in such a predicament in the future.

Get Out – Zubz

Zubz released Get Out in the year 2006. This song is very straightforward with its message, Zubz continuously repeats throughout the duration of the song, “Tell the oppressor (get out) and tell my people (fight).” Like Prophets of Da City, he is also from the Southern part of Africa (Zambia, relocated to Zimbabwe). He wants the people of Southern Africa to stand up and fight the oppressors that have inhabited their land. He talks about how they welcomed foreigners just to be turned on and treated as if they were the foreigners perpetrating their oppressors land.  His song has been banned from radio due to inciting anti-white violence.

Koswe Mumpoto– Pilato

Pilato isn’t new to releasing controversial songs referring to government officials. He released Koswe Mumpoto, which translates to rat in a pot, in 2017. The song was aimed at the reign of Zambian President Edgar Lungu. Throughout the song, Pilato describes Lungu as a corruptive government official (rat) who doesn’t care about the people. He talks about how Lungu and his officials are stealing money from their citizens and doing risky business with the Chinese. His song wasn’t received well by many. Just as Get Out was banned from radio, radio and tv stations were ordered to stop playing Koswe Mumpoto. This led to Pilato fleeing from Zambia due to death threats.

YVR – YoungstaCPT’s

YoungstaCPT wrote YVR in 2018. YVR stands for Young Van Riebeek is in reference to Jan Van Riebeek (Dutch colonizer) which marked the permanent settlement of Europeans in Souther Africa (Cape Town). YoungstaCPT uses this song to talk about the political state of South Africa and how government officials are putting them in the mindset of what they went through during colonization. He talks about living in a broken democracy and expresses that he wants people to revolt and stand up and take a political stance.

Hypocrite– Falz

Another artist who isn’t new to controversy, Falz. Falz released Hypocrite in 2019 which is a part of his album Moral Instruction which speaks out about issues that need to be addressed in Nigeria. Hypocrite focuses mainly on corruption within the government and religion. In the second verse he says “What about the greedy politician, acting like he really cares for the layman. And what about even you voters, wey dey act like say you only see two jokers. Recycle the same corrupt men, later you complain and say you hate the government.” He’s referring to how Nigerian politicians promise the people things during elections but never follow through pursuit. He’s also addressing the people that complain about the politicians elected but continue to vote for them every election.

To conclude, each song is unique in its own way and used as a way to open up the topic of government corruption. These artists have used their platforms to speak out and have subject themselves to being blacklisted. I hope that you enjoy the songs just as much as I enjoyed doing this project.

Mixtape Playlist : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQdydEbTk-sddGdf1_kqfYcDDoveXD-UK

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