Hip Hop Across the Diaspora

          Even though my generation has been seen as the troubled sibling of the generations that have come before us but we have been able to continue the globalization of hip hop across the diaspora. Global hip-hop youth culture is the most recent manifestation in the story of black america’s cultural production and exportation. The shift of societal norms among other race groups lead to the marketability of black culture currently known as “The Culture” following the success of Metro-Atlanta trappers Migos. White America seems to disapprove of cultures that are not included in which is why Marshall Mathers was the link between America and the black experience. U.S. black american culture continues to be mired in social narratives of blackness that proliferate multi-dimensionally in the international arena that help us battle our countries faults with social marginality. Now there are three artists currently running the game and expanding the diaspora in their own way and they are none of there than, Drizzy Drake, Blitz the Ambassador and Jidenna. 

         Drake’s newest album more life has been acknowledged as the ultimate multicultural playlist, all cultures represented in the album are mapped and celebrated.  On More Life, Drake shifts into a new perspective that disrupts the U.S. dominance of how the black experience is represented in our pop culture. He takes production cues from London producer NaNa Rogues on one of the project’s best tracks  “Passionfruit,” and on the psychedelic “Get it Together” Drake incorporates sounds by South African house producer Black Coffee, to create a mesmerizing effect that would put fans in a trance. All the featured artists on the album tell their own story.  Lets talk about the brooklyn made rapper born in the Ghanian city of Accra, Blitz the ambassador. Blitz often reffers to Accra in his music and usually returns their while working on new projects. Through his albums Afropolitian Dreams, Native sons and Stereotypes he has feautered Nneka and Seun Kuti, two of Nigeria’s outspoken music specialists. Blitz also believes that the music of the diaspora can be understood all through out so he visits areas of the diaspora for his music videos he has gotten shots in New York, Brazil and Ghana. Lastly Jidenna now some of you may be wondering why I decided to give him an entry on this list but I promise you his work though overlooked adds to the globalization of the diaspora. Jidenna has said on many accounts that if we begin to embrace the diaspora things will be different than how they are now and music is the spearhead towards that. He belives that entertainment industry is how we can begin to spread the diaspora it beigins with publishing and stream our artists on the African Continent is how we can began to empower ourselves in the US to give black America more power and oppurtunity while also bettering the quality of life for all in Africa. So the diaspora is still expanding and the arts is the key to the further globalization of the Culture.                                                                  

 

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.

aka

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.

M.anifest – “Cupid’s Crooked Bow”

Immediately, M.anifest’s “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” begins with a smooth, African drum beat, fused with South African artist Nomisupasta’s unique voice – a kind of tone that is completely original but also, to me, sounds like a mix of Adele and Erykah Badu’s voices (especially when Nomisupasta sings in English). M.anifest raps in English, creating a familiar sound that that reminds listeners of classic, slow-beat American hip hip. Because of the elegance of his lyrics, M.anifest’s rapping style is a kind that likens that of American artist Common, with the way he describes and admires his encounters with a woman.

The video is in a pleasant high quality, and the images offer watchers a relaxed, night scene that includes an abundance of dancing and some drinking. The refraining lyrics in the song “There’s something special about you”, along with M.anifest’s nostalgic verses offer a sentimental mood to the song, easily making it an admirable one with its use of piano and occasional electric guitar licks.

The use of guitar makes “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” a song heavily rooted in Ghanaian music, because Highlife – a Ghanaian genre that predated hip hop in Africa – consists of European instruments and is especially guitar-heavy. Because M.anifest includes this in this piece, he is able to be a true representative of hip hop and decidedly remains close to this distinctly Ghanaian sound.

dancer2

After the 3 minute mark on the video (around 3:06, to be exact) “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” suddenly takes on a “trap beat” – something especially prominent in modern rap music, and very unlike the African drum beat that is present throughout the majority of the song. This is a profound artistic touch because by adding this trap beat, M.anifest displays the growth and diversity of African hip hip music – over the years – through his song (beginning with traditional African sounds and ending with a mainstream rap beat, used worldwide). As soon as this beat appears, a girl simultaneously appears in the video and begins to dance while holding a strong eye-contact with the camera. Her dancing is representative of West African dancing styles, and is therefore another significant cultural element of the video.

Watchers of “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” see and hear it all at once: the Highlife elements, the classic slow-rap style, the traditional African rhythmic beats, the West African style of dancing, and the Western music elements. They are able to identify all of this; and because of it; the song is sophisticated, easily admirable, and is an undeniably good track.

Ayo Jay Your Number feat Fetty Wap

Ayo Jay- definitely has became one of my favorite artist. The track “Your Number feat Fetty Wap” is not only tasteful but gets you moving. Although Ayo’s passion for music was seen inevitably, his parents still found education to be the first priority for their son. Graduating school, he began finding producers who would create his sound and it happen to be Melvitto on this track “ Your Number.” Attending school in the USA, you definitely see the African American music influences within this song. He talks about how he met this beautiful woman who can not leave with getting her number- from getting high to complimenting her in every verse, he definitely was determined. When he first release the song, it was just him but later, Fetty Wap took on a feature which made the song pure gold. The contrasting voices of both, Ayo and Fetty Wap, created a great mixture within the ending results of the song. There were many mix reviews on the collaboration between Fetty Wap and Ayo Jay on http://notjustok.com/2015/07/16/ayo-jay-ft-fetty-wap-your-number-remix/. Some prefer Fetty Wap’s contribution added nothing to the song and some even considered it to irrelevant because Ayo Jay’s voice is fine by itself. But none of them considered that many but the majority do not listen to international artist, to some who may disagree, unless an American artist collaborates with them. But as time progress, many of African Pop is being played and parties including “Your Number.” Could it be because of Fetty Wap’s name or because people actually enjoy the song? Either way, the song is amazing and many listeners can definitely conclude that you see both the African and American influences within not only the instrumental beat but as well as the lyrics. Take a listen!

Ayo Jay & Fetty Wap