South African and U.S Hip Hop Artists



South African hip hop artist Ben Sharpa, and American hip hop artist Kanye West are able to use their music as means of conveying similar messages while using different verbal, and visual approaches. in his music video for “Hegemony” Sharpa uses his platform as an artist to speak up about the issues of racial injustice that are being delt with in South Africa , particularly police brutality. In the first line of the song he says “why do we have a police protection service when their duty is to snatch me and the rest of my person” from the jump he is expressing his resistance  and skepticism of the system which is often how hip hop was used in South Africa, as means of communicating these issues. The video is very simple, and adds to the overall message. A majority of the video is him in a dark space rapping while clips of police brutality are being shown in between verses to enhance the message. In Kanye’s video for “Jesus Walks” he addresses a realm of different social issues such as racism, sexism, religion, and war in America. He uses religion as the foundation of his message by using Jesus as an example, and actually saying his name rather than calling  him “he” Kanye is challenging the social barriers of hip hop that were often resistant to the idea of speaking about religion in music. The video begins with Kanye in church, and as the song progresses we see clips of the different kinds of people represented in the song: Drug dealers, sex workers, hustlers etc. We also see clips of police brutality as well, and even illusions to circumstances that resemble slavery. Both artists although from different parts of the world are able to use their platforms to bring attention to issues that are important to them, and encourage resistance.

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