Tag: Blitz the Ambassador
HHAP Ep 79: Hip-Hop culture as a space where Black identities are negotiated and presented
The first episode of 2023 is a special episode on hip-hop as a cultural space where Black identities can be negotiated and presented. The research project was part of a larger seminar project with the University of Maryland College Park on African/Black Diaspora Studies. The larger project was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The overall project focused on: “the dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender, and interactions between and among first and second-generation African diaspora immigrants and native-born African Americans in the U.S.” My project explores representations of Black identities and shared experiences by African hip-hop artists in the US. The initial objective was to examine the music of 2nd generation African artists in America to understand how they Represent Black identities Discuss shared experiences Represent Africa This was done via a content analysis of their songs & interviews. The artists could be classified as Millennials and Generation Z artists. The music of these artists differed from the music produced by 1st generation African hip-hop artists. The early 2000s saw a small group of hip-hop artists who had all migrated to the US around the same time, usually for college, and would find varying degrees of success. Some of these artists stayed in the U.S., and others migrated home. Their presence was followed by an increase in African music on mainstream platforms, & collaborations between artists of 1st or 2gen African ancestry and artists of multi-generation African ancestry (African Americans). Hip-hop’s structure as a genre that is largely autobiographical lends itself to being a conduit for meaningful conversations around race, gender, sexuality, & politics. These artists were nuanced in their coverage of topics of immediate concern to other African & diaspora communities. We saw the articulation of African American & African connections among several African hip-hop artists who came to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Interestingly, many of those artists were Ghanaian. Artists like Blitz (the Ambassador) Bazawule, Wanlov the Kubolor, M3nsa, Minista of Agrikulcha, & M.anifest all arrived from a country whose place in Pan-African history had been well established. “In our simplicity we are elegant/so to us your coat and tie are irrelevant/give up my culture for your religion?, I can’t” Wanlov the Kubolor, “Gentleman” Other artists like, K’naan (Somalia), Krukid/Ruyonga (Uganda), and Shad (Kenya) also would speak to those connections. These artists may have impacted the growth of African music in the US. This growth led to the emergence of afrobeats artists like Davido, Burna Boy, Shatta Wale, & others. In looking at 2nd generation African artists, I identified 583 songs by 10 Millenial and Generation Z artists. Again, I wanted to find representations of Black identities, African identities, and shared experiences between Africans and African Americans. The artists were: Nipsey Hussle (1985): Los Angeles/African American and Eritrean parents Lola Monroe (1986): Washington, DC/Ethiopia Bas (1987): New York/Paris/Sudan Maxo Kream (1990): Houston/Nigeria Wale (1984): Washington, DC/Nigeria Amine (1994): Portland/Eritrea & Ethiopia Chika (1997): Montgomery (Alabama)/Nigeria Doja Cat (1995): Los Angeles/American and South African parents Earl Sweatshirt (1994): Chicago & Los Angeles/African American and South African parents Thutmose (1995): New York/Nigeria In the review of over 500 songs, very few had any references to African identities or shared experiences. Notable exceptions include Wale’s “My Sweetie” and Amine’s “Roots” During the research, it became clear that there needed to be a more global consideration of what African hip-hop artists are saying. There are artists in other parts of the Diaspora, especially in England, France, and Australia and they complicate Black identities even further. A more global perspective on Black identities helps us to fully understand hip hop’s role in shifting conversations around identity. Some of the European artists studied include. Sefyu (1981) France/Senegal Shay (1990) Belgium/Congo Bree Runway (1992) UK/Ghana Stormzy (1993) UK/Ghana Niska (1994) France/Congo Enny (1994) UK/Nigeria Little Simz (1994) UK/Nigeria Shaybo (1996) UK/Nigeria J Hus (1996) UK/The Gambia The songs played in this episode are “My Sweetie” by Wale “Roots” by Amine “I Want” by Enny “Woman” by Little Simz “En noir et blanc” by Sefyu “Gentleman” by M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor “Dollar & a Dream” by Blitz the Ambassador
HHAP Ep. 61: An African Hip Hop Palaver
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
Blitz the Ambassador
Samuel Bazawule born April 19th 1982 in Ghana, known by the street name Blitz the Ambassador, is a Ghanaian hip-hop artist, filmmaker and visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. In his early life he became obsessed with hip-hop music after hearing his older brother music by Public Enemy. After graduation from Achimota School in
Ready, Set, Launch: The Future of Africa
The avant-garde city of Berlin is not a place usually associated with Africa. Empires such as the French and British are more commonly connected to places such as Dakar and Nairobi. As influential as the colonial powers were, however, Berlin has one of the strongest connections to the continent because of the Berlin Conference of
HHAP Episode 36: Blitz the Ambassador on His Art, Purpose, & Representation
It’s been 15 years since Blitz the Ambassador released his first record, Soul Rebel. Since then he has gone on to produce 7 additional albums, start his own independent label (Embassy MVMT), produce 2 short films, and produced the feature film The Burial of Kojo, which was released on Netflix on the 31st of March, with Ava DuVernay and ARRAY. This interview took place after he screened his film at the New African Film Festival this past March in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was great to sit down again with Blitz, 12 years after I first interviewed him for allAfrica.com in May 2007. Then, he was among the first generation of African MCs making their presence known on the underground scene in the US. In that interview we spoke about how Pan African his music was, and how lyrically, he blended elements of African and the Diaspora. His music has evolved into a showcase of African and Diaspora influences, including collaborations with artists from across Africa and the Diaspora. In this interview we again spoke about the Pan African perspectives and sounds that continue to be present in his music. Blitz attributes much of his outlook to his upbringing, the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah’s ideologies, and his experiences in the Pan African Studies Department at Kent State University. Blitz the Ambassador also talks about his experiences with the entertainment industry in the U.S., and how he has managed to maintain creative control over his music and film projects. In this sense, Blitz the Ambassador is vigilant about the integrity of his work, acknowledging the importance of representation, and of creating your own narratives. The two songs featured in the episode, “Hello Africa” and “Internationally Known”, as well as all of Blitz the Ambassador’s music, can be purchased here: https://blitzambassador.bandcamp.com Blitz on social media Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlitzAmbassador/ Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/blitzambassador/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlitzAmbassador
Blitz the Ambassador: A Diaspora Messenger
Blitz the Ambassador was born in Ghana. Growing up he idolized Nas. After gaining notoriety after recording part of the song “Deeba”. One of his songs, recorded in the states, “Dikembe” is a clear ode to his heritage. While he employs Nas-like verse form and style, his lyrics clearly put Africa in the spotlight. A
Blitz the Ambassador’s Concoction
Blitz the Ambassador, a Ghanaian rap artist, has been influential in the concoction of African culture and American culture within his music. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the basis of Hip-Hop is prevalent in his craft while still honoring his roots. Let’s take a look at his 2016 video for his song “Running”.
Ghana’s Native Son a review of Blitz the Ambassador’s Make you No Forget
Bearing a upbeat boom-bap style Make you No Forget starts with an infectious, head-bopping beat and a hard hitting rhythm. Shortly after the song begins Blitz brings us in with the chorus, “Police Corruption, they steal the election, brutality my brothers don’t get no option, thats why you don’t forget where you come from.” The
Candy For Your Eyes
Blitz the Ambassador. Just from the name you can get the feeling that this man is a well travelled, well versed rapper. Coming from Accra, Ghana he has been in the game since 2000 and has only grown deeper into his craft. Blitz the Ambassador’s videos are some of the most visual creative I’ve seen.
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