Barak Jacuzzi is taking not only the Kenyan hip hop scene by storm, but also dominating in America. Getting his start as the “hype man” for Kenyan hip hop artist Octopizzo, Barak Jacuzzi has made a name for himself. He first attracted attention with his cypher in “Nokia Don’t Break the Beat” in 2012. After stepping out of Octopizzo’s spotlight, Barak spent some time in America understanding hip hop on a different scale, but soon realized he needed to be in Kenya to join its revolutionary hip hop industry. When he decided to go to Kenya, where his parents immigrated from, Barak started as a radio host, slowly perfecting his hip hop craft. Barak Jacuzzi has been regarded as not only an artist, but also as a personality and an entertainer who can dance, rap, sing, host, and DJ, just to name a few. His much awaited debut mixtape, The Juice Bar, was released in 2017 and a seven track project, which is heavily influenced by his American roots. Barak’s style is definitely influenced by his roots to both America and Kenya. Most of his songs are in English, however some of the slang and the nature of his lyrics are true to Kenyan hip hop style. His most popular solo song is called “Coco Ma$ta,” with over 50,000 views on YouTube.
Barak also collaborated with his mentor, Octopizza, and another Kenyan hip hop lyrist, Boutross, in one of the biggest “trap” hits of 2017 called “Tergat Gang,” which has drawn over 400,000 views.
Despite his American roots, being born in Columbia, South Carolina, Barak decided to Kenya to pursue music because the Kenyan hip hop market is much harder to tap into. Another component of this idea is that much of the American hip hop battle rap style has been diluted in the new wave of hip hop. However in Kenya, battle rapping has been a keystone and the foundation for many hip hop careers; it is always a new challenge and forces artists to keep on their feet. Although Barak Jacuzzi is from America, his style of hip hop is an American/ Kenyan fusion, but importantly, he considers himself a Kenyan artist and continues to prove he has the “juice.”
Simon Kimini, also known as “Bamboo”, is a well known Kenyan rapper. His parents are of East African descent. Although he was raised in Inglewood, California he is still a rapper who represents Africa. When Bamboo was 17 years old his parents sent him to Nairobi. There, he was able to obtain a record deal with his group K- South. As his success was growing in Nairobi he created a record label called Project 254 with Attitude and Tim Waindi, who are also well known Kenyan rappers. Continue reading “From Nairobi to the Concrete Jungle”
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.
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 .
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.