The Prince Of The South

 

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We see all the time in the United States artist claim there titles. You got the King of New York or The Queen of Rap, but meet the Prince of South African Rap. Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known by his stage name AKA. AKA is a South African hip hop recording artist and record producer. Continue reading “The Prince Of The South”

South African Culture and Hip Hop

DJ Vigilante, K.O (Mr Cashtime) and AKA are no strangers within the South African hip hop community. The three prominent hip hop artists came together in April of 2013 when they released the music video for the single “God’s Will”. After watching the music video and reading through the lyrics, it is clear that there are many intersections between what is being said and what is being shown in the video. Additionally, this arguably presents connections between the local culture and broader hip hop community. The entire video appears to be shot in an empty, desert-like setting, which could possibly be somewhere in South Africa. But despite being in the middle of the nowhere, the artists in the video are wearing famous designer brands which almost pop out from the empty background. The stark contrast between the music video setting and the images the artists are portraying arguably illustrates a blend of hip hop and local cultures. Continue reading “South African Culture and Hip Hop”

AKA – Congratulate Vs. Drake – Thank Me Now

In terms of style and delivery AKA is almost synonymous with Jay Z in that their familiar rap patterns let you know that this track is about to be amazing. Meanwhile Drake has developed his own sound within Young Money under Lil Wayne and with a similar connotation to the naming of the tracks we can see that Thank me Now would be just as effective as Congratulate me. In Congratulate me AKA has to take the time to congratulate himself for how far he’s made since he started, Meanwhile, Drake in thank me now comes of as a little more cocky and prepared, thanking the listener directly and giving them ample opportunity to thank him for a song well done. While the topics are very similar, as previously dictated in the post, the way they give permission to give them thanks and a pat on the back for a job well done, couldn’t be any more different in their delivery. “Hold your applause, this is your song, not mine,” “On the bed, on the floor, now congratulate me.” The songs are also a critical look at self from Drake and AKA analyzing the lives that they lead up to this point in their respective careers. As can be expected of any performance art there are times that an artist can perform in front of 40 people or 400 people either way they need to perform as if they’ve packed out Maddison Square Garden. There is also the process of becoming a household name which takes not only time but proper preparation and relationships. Now that AKA can be heard on the radio as well as Drake, at least in the context of this post, you can feel the similar motif which is simply support and congratulate both artist on a job well done.

AKA – Congratulate

Drake – Thank Me Now

Composure and Fake Love

Drake is one of America’s top artists at the moment. He’s constantly creating narratives that are relatable to all his listeners, fans, and even his counterparts. While critics says he’s lost touch of his original style that made him even more relatable, he embraces this style with “Fake Love”.

As discussed academically, rap is a product of the environment, perfect to convey a large spectrum of emotions about it. As an expression of numbness, realization and standoffish feelings, Drake uses “Fake Love” to convey how the music business makes him feel. He states that “They smile in your face, whole time they want to take your place”. Perhaps speaking on his own development as an artist, his way of approaching people within his industry which monetizes an art that’s based off of feeling, is by treating folks with a long stick because it isn’t about respect, or perfecting your art, it’s about trying to take what they have and where they are at.

In his video, it begins with a lot of unrelated material, almost laughable situations that sort of depict how the music scene has been saturated with remnants of a highly dramatized life style. Drake argues with Tyra Banks in a restaraunt, behind in a strip club, a guy in a cowboy hat makes demands of his strippers saying that there’s an 80/20 split (20 for the girls), and after all that they go out to dance for Drake. All in all, the music seems to be the very last thing the video cares about, which is sort of a symbol as to how it works in the American Music industry. Purposefully or not, Drake made a statement visually.youtube.com/watch

As hip hop took the world by storm, it’s very obvious that America has always been the standard for style and brand development. However, South African artists have always been about the music and while the vibe of the artists may be similar, they always manage to show their “woke” side while still being marketable. One such artist is AKA and his disussion of the industry is very similar to Drake’s however he speaks about how he’s living his dreams and not concerned about who’s trying to take his place. He remarks the “N***AS get touched when you the real thing” and that “It’s more than Drake and Meek Mill s**t”. He sees how the industry gets people up in arms and how confict arises easily, just because it’s how it is to desperately fight and do anything to stay on top. It’s become less about being an artist and more about competing to create the most marketable image. The irony is that his sound is very much like Drake’s (sonically and message wise) however, his video doesn’t have much an intro and only has him behind a changing black and white backdrop. youtube.com/watch

Message wise, AKA was deeper and understood that in order to musically succeed over others, you have to look past their moves for your place create your own. Drake took the approach that you have to stop messing with people, and call them out on their “Fake Love”

South African & American Hip Hip: Brothers From another Mother

There are many similarities between the history of South Africa and the history of North America. From white supremacy to black/colored people fighting for their rights. Because of these parallels, its very understandable that hip hop music for both countries have similarities in sound and style. Today we’re going to be looking at two hip hop songs, one from America and another from South Africa. AKA is an award winning South African hip hop artist and producer from Cape Town.

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In his song Composure, you immediately notice the trap music sound that sets the mood for the song and music video. AKA appears to be in a studio for a photo shoot while he raps. The flow is very similar to that of an American rapper. Even the auto tune-like chorus is very common to modern American hip hop. The first thing that I thought of when seeing this was Drake. Just for consistency, I’ll give a little background on who Drake is. He’s an award winning American rapper from Canada who’s resume includes acting in a Canadian teen drama between 2001 and 2009 . drake-ftw

In his music video for Energy, Drake sort of has the same sound and feel as AKA’s Composure song. For Composure, it seems as though AKA is talking to someone directly about them doing him wrong which is pretty synonymous with Drake talking about all the people in his life who have done him wrong. This is a pretty common trait found in rap songs. I find it to be really cool how the culture of these two different countries aren’t completely the same but when it comes to hip hop and its sound/ style you start to really notice the similarities. The significance of hip hop can be seen in the ways that it brings our people together and this is just another example of that.

Contrast of Cultures

Today I’m revisiting one of my favorite South African Hip Hop artists AKA in an effort to compare his song messages and visual presentation with Drake. This is the second time I’ve written about AKA. I’ve subconsciously find myself gravitating toward his music because he spits in English which is more attractive to me as an American hip hop fan. He also embodies physical and talent similarities to Drake which is why I’ve chosen to compared the two. His track Composure is a braggadocios exclamation point on his ability, appeal and success. With Composure the listener is exposed to the usual formula of success we have come to expect from him. The young MC understands that he has worked his way up to a platform as being a “king” in his own right and Composure is his way of reminding his competition. The visuals for the most part are simplistic yet complex. There are a myriad of effects that can be seen in the video. For example there are over 10 different transition effects in the photo shoot scene yet in the mirrored image scene there are 5 different effects. The result is an earlier AKA at his best.

In 2010 Drake came into his own with his much anticipated album Thank Me Later. The track features an exciting feature from the legendary then incarcerated Lil’ Wayne. The  track features a confident early Drake ready to take on all challengers much like AKA above. They both are confident and braggadocios which has been the formula for hip hop since its creation in the late 70’s. Both Artists have similar messages in a sense of their confidence and willingness to succeed without the help of others that initially denied them.  Both tracks were released at the beginning of the rise of each artist respectively and the messages in both promise success in their careers.

US vs South African Music Video

The two music videos I will be comparing is All Eyes on Me by AKA and Pop That by French Montana. The striking similarity in both videos is appalling. Both music videos take place at a mansion. Both videos feature scenes in an outdoor pool as well as scantily clad women. In addition both videos show an abundance of name brand alcohol. This could be due to endorsement deals which highlights the topic of the commodification of hip hop we covered in our class readings. Ciroc Vodka for example is featured in the Pop That music video there is a part where the camera even zooms in on it. The content of the music primarily talks about women, money, and partying. The music doesn’t provide actual substance or talk of anything of meaning. Both songs are clearly meant for party music.

A great amount of the United States rap scene is made up of a type of “fast rap” rap music that is catchy and has a killer beat, but two weeks later is considered old and not played in the club/party circuit any longer. I think that this extremely common of rap music in the US especially “trap music” or “turnup music” It is important to be aware of the quality of these songs, even if the beat and production of the song is great the lyrics or message might not be.

One difference that I did find in the videos was the tone of the videos. Even though both videos featured the same concepts the way these were executed were very different. For the Pop That video the whole song seemed natural and an actual party the women in the video were playful and even running across the camera during a rappers camera time. For the All Eyes on Me the women in the video were careful to keep their distance and not interrupt that rapper’s camera time. They were featured as props rather than the main source of video entertainment. In the Pop That video I would argue that the rappers relied heavily on the influence of the women to make the video entertaining.

Sounds of South Africa

Here we have a more Hip Hop sounding track from some of some of the most traditional sounding hip hop artists South Africa has to offer.  The Track “Baddest” explodes with a flavorful beat and hard hitting lyrics from AKA, Burna Boy, Khuli Chana & Yanga combining their talents for an almost cipher like collaboration. Everything about the glamorous video from the production quality, style of dress, flashy jewelry (gold bottoms) pays homage to the traditional look of hip hop.  As the track flows effortlessly from MC to MC neither of them lose the catchy rhythm or a beat. Africa has firmly planted itself in Hip Hop and songs like “baddest” deserve more attention in the States.

Toya Delazy brings her listeners a unique grungy pop synth sound with her 2011 track Pump it up. I immediately noticed a distinct difference in her overall sound influence as well as her instrumentation. Her fashion and music style is completely different as compared to AKA. She brings an alternative view of the music coming out of South Africa that deserves as much attention. And Although Toya’s style is completely different compared to AKA & company its more than equally as good and deserves as much praise. What she lacks in the rawness of a traditional hip hop MC Delazy makes up for in creativity as she effortlessly combines a myriad of different sounds and inspirations creating something distinctive and awe-worthy.  He sounds transport me to a time in the 90’s where all of the music coming out of the States was different in its own right. Everyone was attempting to find their own sound as they bravely experimented with new styles colors and sounds and I think Delazy has successfully and stylishly captured a decade of soul searching and experimentation in one track.

The Battle Between Hip-Hop & Pop

Our assignment was to find one hip-hop artist and one pop artist from Africa and compare their videos based on style and lyrics. I chose to look at South African hip-hop artist Kiernan Forbes, better known as AKA. In contrast, I chose to look at Nigerian pop artist Yemi Alade. After watching more than one video from both artists, I decided to analyze AKA’s “Bang” and Yemi Alade’s “Tumbum”. Both artists are extremely talented, but you could see distinct differences in their styles and lyrics which groups them in their categories of pop and hip-hop.

AKA’s “Bang” has an old school hip-hop beat with a feature from South African artist Khuli Chana. One of the first things I noticed about AKA is that although a South African artist, he raps mainly in English. I was expecting him to incorporate the South African culture into his lyrics more either by using the slang or having an accent as he rhymes. If you listen to him without watching the video or doing any research, you would believe he was an American hip-hop artist. The first thing I thought when watching the “Bang” music video was that he reminded me of Drake.  To me, you can see through the music video how American hip hop has influenced him. For one, his music video is very flashy and incorporates brands similar to that of America hip-hop videos. In the video, he’s driving in the car with his friends in a BMW. Many brands and corporations will implement themselves into hip-hop videos as a way of promotion in American videos. BMW being the signature car in this video shows that same promotion being used with African hip-hop as well. Another item I noticed is that although from South Africa, he’s not wearing any traditional African attire. He’s wearing Western clothes and has shades on which is typical of American hip-hop artists to wear shades in music videos. Lyrically, “Bang” is not a political song. Hip-hop is known for being an art form that uses daily life struggles to speak to the masses. “Bang” does not demonstrate any political or social consciousness, but it is just a feel good song. Despite not having meaningful lyrics, AKA does display the beauty of Africa in his music video paying homage to Africa. Also, AKA featuring artist Khuli Chana is also another way of paying homage to South Africa by incorporating another South African artist in his music.

Yemi Alade’s “Tumbum” is a pop song that infuses African culture. For me, although unable to understand and keep up with most of the lyrics, the song allows you to disregard that aspect due to the beat and makes you want to dance. The beat is fast paced incorporating African drums that automatically makes you want to dance. Generally, pop lyrics are not meaningful lyrically, but are what is considered “feel good,” dance songs. “Tumbum” exemplifies this exact aspect and the addition of a lot of dancing in her video places it in the category of pop. Pop videos typically incorporate more high-energy and dancing in music videos as opposed to hip-hop artists. Yemi Alade also did a better job than AKA with incorporating African culture. From the attire, song title, dancing, and more the video is reflective of Africa and her Nigerian roots. In all of her videos, Yemi Alade never fails to incorporate where she came from whether it be lyrically or in her music videos. By using an uptempo beat and fun lyrics, I can easily see how Yemi Alade is a force to be reckon with in the pop music scene.

 

 

 

 

South African Hip Hop vs Pop Music

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South African Hip Hop and Pop has a very blurred line as far as differences. For my south African pop song I chose My City by artist, Toya Delazy. Because I chose South Africa as my country to select from both of my songs were in English which made it a little easier. The video is a black and white kind of grayscale theme. It is comprised of buildings rising higher and lowering throughout the theme “my city”. Then it goes into her on top of one of the high rises singing and kind of spoken word and her featured artist Cassper Nyovest rapping.The lyrics are “ My city I love my city my city, I love my city my city I love my city”. The rest of the song goes into trials and tribulations of life but refrains to the idea of her loving her city and where she comes from. The overall idea i get from the video and lyrics is similar to that of American artist Alicia Keys. I feel that the two artists styles are very similar and this song is kind of like New York “Empire State of Mind”. The beat of this particular song isn’t what I would consider American pop to be, because the song doesn’t have as much of an up tempo as I am used to hearing. You can watch the video though the link below. My City Toya Delazy I think that this artist can be classified as a Hip Hop hybrid, combining: pop, R& B and Hip Hop.AKA.jpg

 

As far as Hip Hop is concerned in South Africa, I stumbled upon named , Kiernan Forbes or AKA. The song and music video that I chose to use for this comparison is Baddest featuring Burna Boy and Khuli Chana. Baddest AKA ft. Burna Boy and Khuli Chana . First of all I really like the beat of this song it’s very similar to some American rap artists I would listen. I’m getting a kind of Drake and Ty Dolla sign vibe from all of these artist. I would classify this as a banger. The lyrics of this song include “And we the baddest team We the baddest team and we the baddest team We the baddest team”. The lyrics are typical of many rap songs. I get the same feeling about the video its the typical rap video girls, sex,clothes, money, toys and streets. This relates back to the Hip Hop Ghetto- Centricity and the commodity article. The Virtual Ghetto is an idea that is very relevant. Advertiser and artists and labels have found what sells and they haven’t let up on producing this sort of saturated content since then. The article also reinforces the idea that Hip Hop is also based on materialism and brands. This video begins in a store with name brand clothing and throughout the video and the lyrics, you can see fashions and brands that are well know.