To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…

To rap in one language is impressive, two rap in two is incredible—but to rap in two languages at the same time in the same verse? Well that’s just called Kast, and as someone who can’t even rap in their native language, there seems no end to the impressive escapades of the Botswanan rapper. Continue reading “To be the MC that’d walk 1000km…”

“You’ll find me in the Ghetto”

Kayvo Ambalwa also known as Kayvo K-Force is a famous Kenyan rapper who has used his music to make a change. He was born on May 29th, 1989 in Nairobi, Kenya. Kayvo has been making rap music for years that people want to hear. In 2012 he took a different route and created a songs that people NEED to hear. His songs speak on the poverty and injustices in Kenya. Continue reading ““You’ll find me in the Ghetto””

From the Slums to Fame and Inspiration

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Background

Henry Ohanga is a youth activist and hip hop artist. You may not know him under this name but by the end of this blog you will know who he is not only by his born name but also his more known stage name, Octopizzo. Octopizzo was born in Kibera. Kibera is is a division of Nairobi Area, Kenya, and neighborhood of the city of Nariobi. Kiberia is the largest slum not only in Nairobi but in Africa period. But this talented artist has come very far. Octopizzo is a not a man of just one talent he is a rapper, activist, and also an actor. He founded the C.B.O, youth group Y.G.B (Young, Gifted, and Black) of Artist for Refugees with UNHRC, and also the Octopizzo Foundation. The Octopizzo Foundation is a not-for-profit. Another accomplishment he has gained is being the ambassador/representer for awareness on violence against women and girls. Continue reading “From the Slums to Fame and Inspiration”

MHD en sa Patrie

Mohammed Sylla (MHD) performed in front of thousands of Senegalese in Dakar in December 2017. This concert, staged in front of the 49-meter-tall African Renaissance Monument,  united the international phenomenon MHD with domestically-popular Senegalese hip-hop artists in an evening ripe with music, dance, and humor.  Continue reading “MHD en sa Patrie”

My Motherland Is Not A Jungle: Africa Through Say’hu’s Eyes

I decided to choose an artist whose name I did not hear much in the class. The title of Say’hu’s song, “Motherland” drew my attention because everybody has their own opinion as to what their motherland is or what the term means to them. To me, my motherland is where myself and my family originate from, Africa. Although I have never been there and the two generations before me were born here on American soil I still have this strong connection to Africa. America is not my native land, otherwise I’d be Native American. For Say’hu, Africa is also his motherland being that he was born there, lives there and is of African descent. He describes Africa as “land of the great pharaohs where the sun never leaves”. Say’hu sees Africa as a land of radiance and beauty, a place where royalty are from and people from all across come to capture his vision. However, Say’hu also mentions how certain immigrants to the land are ignorant to this view of Africa and think of it as a jungle whenever they hear her name.

Say’hu represents both his country and the diaspora because although there are people like him who are born and raised in Africa and recognize it as their motherland, you have the black diaspora, which includes myself, whom also consider Africa to be their motherland. Although many of us have never set foot on African soil, many of us do acknowledge that Africa is our country of origin, before migration and of course slavery changed all of that for the most part. Say’hu talks about how Africa needs a savior, as well. His people are dying and the leader’s priority is money, an idea that many of the black diaspora here in America can relate to. African Americans are dying at a rate much higher than other races but our government and our system is designed to ensure this happens and to profit off of it.

Overall I believe Say’hu gave an accurate respresentation of both Africa and of the diaspora by incorporating personal experience, quotations and by describing the two sides of Africa and also the different views people have of the motherland.

 

M.anifest’s “Coming to America” and the Diaspora

M.anifest’s song “Coming to America” tells us a lot about the African Diaspora. The song mentions many things that Africans struggle with and it also mentions some of the things that African immigrants in America face. The reading “Payback is a Motherland” says that many African immigrants see hip hop as a way to connect with their home countries. In this class we have studied many African artists who are now in America and use their music to connect with home. M.anifest mentions things about the immigrant experience like missing home and family, trying to find a good job, and sending money home to support his family. He also mentions having to do things like constantly put money on phone cards so he can call home. He also mentioned the pressure from family and parents to get a degree and be successful. From other songs , we learned that the immigrant experience can be lonely and depressing at times. In “Payback is a Motherland”, M.anifest states that he did not know that there was a such thing as African rap at first. Once he discovered this, he began to incorporate his mother tongue into his music more often. This connected him to his home country and it also makes his music more relatable and likable amongst Ghanaians. His song makes many immigrants able to relate to him because it tells a true story and gives a realistic perspective of what immigrants go through. Many immigrants have a hard time adjusting to a new country and a new culture but songs like “Coming to America” let them know that they are not alone and that their experience is shared by others. The songs is very enlightening and inspiring. It makes people more aware of what people who are not native to a country go through and also how hard they work to get what they have.

Not Your “Average” Females

I recall watching a Dope Saint Jude video earlier in the course. She was raw and so eclectic, so when I saw her name on the list I knew she was the first artist I would choose. Dope Saint Jude bends the norms in Xxplosive, much like many of her other videos, using her words, her clothing, and overall attitude. She can be seen wearing loose fitting or baggy clothing all throughout the video and takes this very slouchy, masculine stance. Also, she wears her hair locked, which to many aren’t very “lady-like”. As far as lyrics, she refers to women as bitches, so not only is she swearing but she’s using a derogatory term for women. Overall she has a very androgynous look vibe. Her characteristics may even make someone question her sexuality or what she identifies as, but she makes it very clear that she is all female and could care less about what you think.

The next artist I noticed was Nadia Rose in her video for “Station”. Although she doesn’t give off the same consistent masculine appeal like Jude, you can still see her slouching her posture and sporting baggy clothing from time to time. For majority of the video she’s wearing a sports bra, jacket, and form-fitting pants, which are deemed as more feminine, but the amount of skin on top may be seen as unladylike. This is the perfect example of how artists can be on opposite sides of the spectrum, but still given the same label. Also, Rose openly talks about her sex life, reciting “he put his bit in my bit, now I’m “coming” on the go”. Society, both in America and especially in Africa may deem her expressive lyrics as too personal or explicit for a woman.

Overall, both femcees are going against the grain in their own ways and paving the way for future female artists to openly and freely express themselves however they want because tha’s what hip hop is all about.

Inside and Out

The moment I heard Gigi LaMayne’s “Fees Will Fall” another well-known female rapper came to mind. Hailing from the U.S is Angel Haze, who’s image and flow I was reminded of when I watched LaMayne’s video. Both artists give off this masculine-feminine vibe. In Fees Will Fall you can see LaMayne wearing what appears to be a sequined dress, with her hair in a bun and wearing make-up, what is deemed to be a feminine appearance. However, her flow and delivery is hard and she uses “masculine” hand gestures to get her point across. In Angel Haze’s video for “Werkin Girls” you can see similar aspects. Haze is dressed in pants and a crop top, with her hair long and straight and makeup. All of these details giving Haze a feminine feel, however, when she starts to rap the way she delivers her bars and the hand motions make Haze appear hard and more like her male counterparts in the game. Not only that but what she says has a manly appeal, especially when she makes references to her bitches and talks about males turning into bitches, insinuating that these males are exhibiting “female” behavior. Both videos are also in very muted color, LaMayne’s being in complete black and white. This gives both videos a very stoic and cold feel to them. One of the only major differences between the two femcees is the messages behind the videos. In “Fees Will Fall” LaMayne’s purpose is to bring awareness to being who you are and claiming your freedom. It is positive and political, touching on how “they” (the government or possibly white America) put on a front and act as though they understand what black America has been through. In “Werkin Girls” the main message Haze is trying to deliver is that she is all about her money and that she is not one to be played with nor underestimated. Although both artists are spreading different messages in these particular videos, they both exhibit being “inside” and also “outside” the box.

Hewale and Revolution

Ghanaian artist: C-Real

Senegalese artist: Didier Awadi

Instantly I could detect differences between these two artist. C-Real has the ” harder ” sound though he is trying to spread a positive message just like Awadi. C-Real’s song title, “Hewale”, in the link that I have attached translates to strength. “Hewale” is about being strong and staying strong and follows the old saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. In summary, “Hewale” is about not letting your bad experiences or struggles define or break you, but rather growing from them as a person. This can be taking politically because he’s probably referring to his environment or possibly those power being the forces trying to break him. Although some of the lyrics and even the video do not so much reflect that. Awadi’s song, on the other hand, is clearly for the people and is about making a stand. In the video you can see him traveling through the town and interacting with the civilians like a “man of the people”. Although Awadi does not rap in English, based on the title we know that he is rapping about a revolution, a revolt by the population against authority causing a change in political power usually occurring in a short time. His video doesn’t really express this idea in an extreme way but subtly him showcasing where he is from, the conditions the people are living in and how close they are supports his message. In conclusion, C-Real’s song is a good representative of a lot of Ghanaian hip hop music. It’s political, however, it also focuses on other topics and isn’t as direct. Whereas Awadi, the Senegalese artist, makes music about his people and the progression of his home. The Senegalese music seems to be more religiously-inclined in some ways. Both artists touch on social struggle, but lyrically and in terms of the videos they have two clearly different approaches.

 

 

Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati

by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster

Now available in paperback & on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Hip-Hop-Social-Change-Africa/dp/1498505805

This book examines social change in Africa through the lens of hip hop music and culture. Artists engage their African communities in a variety of ways that confront established social structures, using coded language and symbols to inform, question, and challenge. Through lyrical expression, dance, and graffiti, hip hop is used to challenge social inequality and to push for social change. The study looks across Africa and explores how hip hop is being used in different places, spaces, and moments to foster change. In this edited work, authors from a wide range of fields, including history, sociology, African and African American studies, and political science explore the transformative impact that hip hop has had on African youth, who have in turn emerged to push for social change on the continent. The powerful moment in which those that want change decide to consciously and collectively take a stand is rooted in an awareness that has much to do with time. Therefore, the book centers on African hip hop around the context of “it’s time” for change, Ni Wakati.

Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati

by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster

Now available in paperback & on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Hip-Hop-Social-Change-Africa/dp/1498505805

This book examines social change in Africa through the lens of hip hop music and culture. Artists engage their African communities in a variety of ways that confront established social structures, using coded language and symbols to inform, question, and challenge. Through lyrical expression, dance, and graffiti, hip hop is used to challenge social inequality and to push for social change. The study looks across Africa and explores how hip hop is being used in different places, spaces, and moments to foster change. In this edited work, authors from a wide range of fields, including history, sociology, African and African American studies, and political science explore the transformative impact that hip hop has had on African youth, who have in turn emerged to push for social change on the continent. The powerful moment in which those that want change decide to consciously and collectively take a stand is rooted in an awareness that has much to do with time. Therefore, the book centers on African hip hop around the context of “it’s time” for change, Ni Wakati.

Continue reading “Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa: Ni Wakati”