Tag: Black is King
Buddha Blaze is a Kenyan blogger, podcaster, and music industry insider with over 20 years of experience. He has worked throughout the continent and the diaspora with artists and producers from around the world. He was a major part of the British Council’s WaPi (Words & Pictures) initiative, which showcased hip hop, poetry, fashion breakdance, and graffiti culture in Nairobi. He has also consulted numerous artists in the business and worked on several projects with international artists and producers. A major figure in the Kenyan hip hop scene, he was recently seen on the Nairobi-based What’s Good Africa?, the only show on P. Diddy’s RevoltTV to focus on hip hop culture in Africa and one of the only shows airing on a US network to focus on hip hop culture in Africa. In this conversation, Buddha Blaze talks a lot about the changes he’s seen in the industry over the years and some of the skills artists need to navigate the industry today. He also talks about his involvement in the growth of the cultural scene in Nairobi, which has grown to become the largest music, film, and contemporary art scene in East Africa. Buddha Blaze is Twitter @ItsBuddhaBlaze and Instagram @buddhablazeworld Intro and outro beat by Nigerian producer @teckzilla108 This episode is part of the special series that we did in partnership with Words Beats & Life. The series was recorded and live streamed with students in the Hip Hop in Africa class at Howard University and George Washington University.
In this palaver, we have a lively chat with Ghanaian hip hop/hiplife scholar Dr. Nii Kotei Nikoi. We talked about the hiplife and hip hop music industry in Ghana, especially one of the country’s most popular artist’s Sarkodie. Nii discusses the structure of Ghana’s music industry, the way artists construct their images, and the role of class (and language) in Ghana’s popular music scene. We also get into an interesting conversation around collaborations between African and Diaspora artists in Beyonce’s Black is King project and the depictions of Africa in the Black Panther film.
Nii Kotei Nikoi is an assistant professor of Global Media and Digital Studies at The College of Wooster in Ohio. He studies African popular culture, and has a special focus on how popular culture reinforces and challenges existing ideas around race, gender, and sexuality. His work is influenced by his background in graphic design and documentary photography. Currently, his research examines development discourse in Ghanaian popular culture.
Check out his latest article, “Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life.” in the International Journal of Communication 14 (2020): 19.
He also hosts the podcast Our Culture. Season 1 of the podcast includes on several reflections on a range of topics.EPISODE CONTENTS 1:50 The performance of material success in popular music in Ghana 8:08 The popular use of Ghanaian languages and clothing in the Ghanaian music scene 15:00 An analysis of the class divides and language choices in the beef between Sarkodie and M.anifest 26:20 The participation of women in hiplife 33:17 African scholars doing (hip hop) research at home 48:03 I try to get Nii to take the bait and engage in the discussion on Nigerians “borrowing” music from Ghana 52:52 Beyonce & the collaboration with African artists on the Black is King project 1:03:03 Black Panther & the homogenization of Africa, and the presence of Africa film industry in general