Student Project: Blitz the Ambassador’s Contribution to being Afropolitan

This video-podcast showcases Blitz contribution through a definition of Afropolitan and the description of how Blitz embodies this idea through his own musical recipe. The videos featured are Make You No Forget, Shine, and Running, which can be found on YouTube.

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 critical line in the song is: “The African attack, Yese wo kum apim a apim beva, chale koko da, let me translate: you can’t fuck with us” is subtly saying “back off” to European/the west in general. He means that Africa has something important to offer and its artists should be valued. In the music video he wears African fabric on his shoulders, making it known that he is proud of his heritage. Another line that has fantastic historical meaning is inserted into his song: “spitting at these lames, watch them touch down in Africa, get snatched for their chains.” This lyric has many layers. One of them might be the fact that Africans and black culture are rarely credited and recognized. Too often their work is stolen or used without mention of its influence. Chains can refer to the stereotypical rapper sporting gold chains, but it also alludes to slavery and the diaspora itself. Blitz the Ambassador clearly knows that his success is partly due to his move to the United States. While his lyrics in this song might not show it, he demonstrates American influence through his clothes. In this video he wears a baseball cap, jeans, and a black shirt. He combines this with an African print scarf, which shows a blending of two worlds. He also references another famous African figure that is popular in the US, Dikembe. Dikembe Mutombo is a basketball player in the United States and is known for his Internet meme. Blitz the Ambassador shows he knows how music is transnational and crosses borders with this line: “I’m in Morroco, penning another classic for the masses.”

 

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”. Continue reading “Blitz the Ambassador’s Concoction”

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 verse then expands on the concepts of police corruption and how the kids of Ghana back in the 1990’s were worried if they were going to grow up or not. Also, what made it hard to forget where you’re from were the myriad of 90’s references to tv shows, and consequently ended up referring to Roger Milla, famous Cameroonian soccer player, bringing where he was from to the 1990 World cup with his signature celebratory dance, or better yet referring to Ivory Coast goalkeeper Alain Gouaméné stopping Ghana from winning the 1992 African cup of Nations with an amazing save, which Ghanaians attributed to the use of JuJu. Starting the next part of the chorus Blitz says that “As the weather gets hot, and the cops get hungry for busting people, we still harbor resentment towards them, whether they like it or not. Next verse brings you in with the kids from the first verse all grown up. They reminisce about the Motown, where they went to school, Gari and Shito, which was a snack spread that was popular in the 90s that got them through, Night clubs for Osu, where they went to party with the wrong attire and subsequently wasted time going back home to change to get in, only to realize that they should have just stayed home because of the rich kids hanging around getting the attention of the party’s female populous. In short, the song won’t let you forget where your from because neither will the world, and in the song he is nostalgically reminiscing over the days of his youth.

Blitz the Ambassador – Make you No forget feat. Seun Kuti

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. I love them because they tend to tell a story. In his music video “Running” Blitz uses his video to speak on the topic of spirituality. The concept of the video is that you can run from spirituality but you can’t hide from it. The video reflect this message in the story it tells

Continue reading “Candy For Your Eyes”

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.                                                                  

 

Blitz the Ambassador

Blitz the Ambassador is a diasporic rapper. The Ghanaian born artists incorporates references about other locations in the “black world.” Through his lyrics he speaks about other African nations including Ethiopia, Somalia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt to name a few. His song, “Hello Africa” is a “call and response” to other African nations. Lyrics such as “Nagen def menga fils rollin in Dakar / Cruisin highway Cheikh Anta Diop to Accra / Ugali —- we party in Nairobi / All across the continent you know my people know me” evoke images of a Pan-African identity. Blitz the Ambassador goes beyond rapping about his home in Ghana. Instead, he appears to have a sense of pride while mentioning different cities and villages across Africa. His song, “All Around the World” provides references about members of the African diaspora who exist outside of Africa. The music video’s opening scene takes place in a capoiera circle in Bahia, Brazil. Other images include scenes from a race riot and a militarized police force. Both of these serve as powerful references to the black experience in the western hemisphere. Similar to Hello Africa, All Around the World also employs the names of people, cities, and events in different countries to highlight the black experience there.

Blitz the Ambassador’s song, “Ghana Black Stars” celebrates Ghana’s soccer team and the pride that it brings to being Ghanaian. The music video opens with scenes from a Ghanaian soccer victory. Both verses are spoken in one of Ghana’s indigenous languages (Twi?). He incorporates videos of children in Ghana playing games and people driving in a market place. Clips of large Ghanaian crowds cheering and celebrating something flash briefly between images of soccer players and children. Although I am not able to understand what is being said, it appears as though Blitz is implying the significance of Ghana’s soccer team and that many people take part in it. The images of children playing soccer, the large cheering crowds, and people in the market place selling soccer balls insinuates how significant this sport is to Ghana, its people, and their sense of nationalistic pride.

Blitz the Ambassador: A True “Diasporic” Rapper

It is absolutely essential to mention Blitz the Ambassador when talking about and discussing African Diaspora rap artists and their influence on their own community and the Black Diaspora itself. One of the important things Blitz the Ambassador does as an artist is make sure to communicate with and connect the Diaspora through his lyrics. In his particular song, “Best I Can”, ft. Corneille, Blitz the Ambassador talks about his personal experience growing up in Accra, Ghana.

Throughout the entire song, Blitz makes connections between his experience being raised in Ghana – like growing up barefoot in the streets – to the general experience of others in the Diaspora / African Americans – like growing up listening to Rakim. Most Black people of the Diaspora, directly from Africa or not, most likely know a song, or at least have heard of the artist Rakim – as he is from the golden age of hip hop and contributed greatly to its prominence, success, and history. Because Blitz references Rakim, he draws a direct line, or link, to the African Diaspora.

In “Best I Can”, Blitz the Ambassador also communicates the line that “we never had much” – a line that is very quote-able, as this is a popular phrase in not only African American hip hop but in the Black community/ African Diaspora in general. It is important to note this line because it describes and emphasizes the shared experience of many people of the African Diaspora – that a lot of us suffer from oppression due from the repercussions of slavery, jim crow, apartheid, colonization, the taking of African resources, and so much more. These instances of oppression are different from each other, but not too much in the sense that they all contribute(d) to the social suffering, physical suffering, and even “mental slavery”, that occurs in nearly all communities of the African Diaspora. The important thing that Blitz the Ambassador does is create a link between those in the African Diaspora, telling us that we’re not so different from each other and that we need each other in order to achieve and create our own success. A good example of this is his song, “Best I Can”, but this is a central theme in a lot of Blitz’s music – which absolutely attributes his success, positive reaction, and popularity among Black people all over the Diaspora.

Blitz The Ambassador

Blitz the Ambassador is one of Ghana’s most talented and promising MC’s. Originally a visual artist Samuel Bazawule was recognized for his talented eye during his stay at Achimota School. Sometime shorty after completion of school he transitioned into music  and the African music scene is greater because of it. From what I’ve come to understand about African Hip Hop and the artist that represent it Blitz the Ambassador is one of the best to come out of Africa.What I like most about this track is although it has international appeal Blitz doesn’t seem to be going out of his way to sell his music to anyone outside of Africa like some artist do in South Africa.

After his college graduation while still early on in his rap career Blitz relocated to NYC, the birthplace of Hip hop  to peruse a career in Hip Hop. With that being said there are certain voice cadences that NY hip hop artist use when they spit that Blitz uses often.  Although he was African born he’s truly an Ambassador of the country and the music scene there.

In featured track above “Hello Africa” the listener is seemingly taken on a musical tour through Africa via sound waves. However it’s not only through African sounds but there is a throwback to some underground sounds familiar to hip hop here in the states.  There is a Huston Texas influence with the chopped and screwed vocals that is almost reminiscent of UGK which communicates to me that Blitz is a hardcore fan of Hip Hop.

The track is rapped in a Ghanaian language and the instrumentation accompaniment seems to be a combination of american Hip Hop influence as well as traditional sounds of Africa. Blitz exercises his unique flow pattern and NY influenced cadences over the lavish instrumental and the result is a seeming less blend.

The Link Was Never Broken: African Connections Prevail

Although I already covered music by Ghanaian-American hip hop artist, Blitz the Ambassador, I had to revisit his work—his solo work. From taking another look, I have come to see that Blitz is a visionary. The genius of his work can be attributed to his ability to develop well- thought out concepts that are both visually striking and intellectually stimulating. The video for his song, ‘Shine’, is a direct representation of the former. Rather than the music being the primary focus, Blitz allows it to amplify and complement the underlying message. Blitz clearly has a pull to convey the Diasporic experience in most of his works; it is evident in the stories he chooses to tell, the characters he chooses to highlight and the lyrics that never fail to mention Africa as a centerpiece. {I guess this makes him an Ambassador of hip hop, of sorts.) What’s most fascinating is his use of hip hop as platform to incorporate elements of history, visual art and the like.

In the video, ‘Shine’, the storyline is about a father seeking validated immigration statuses for him and his daughter. In order to complete the process, he is asked to hop in the vehicle with two men who appear to “make things happen.” In agreeing to go along for the ride, he must abandon his daughter who accompanied him to the  initial meeting place. The father instructs his child to go home, and on the bus, the magic appears. An African deity personified, emerges next to the young girl, acting as her spiritual guide and protector, as she navigates the streets of the unnamed urban city.  The deity dressed in traditional garb and the young girl dressed in all- white “church” dress dance in unison, perfectly mimicking traditional West African movement. The significance of this video is that the child who is obviously distanced from the Motherland, still receives love, protection and an unbroken connection to an ancestral presence.

Video “Shine” by Blitz the Ambassador

I believe Blitz sought to spread the implication by way of this video, that one is never too distanced from Africa, genealogically or spiritually. Navigating life, assimilating into a foreign land and desiring security and protection are expectations African people throughout the Diaspora experience on a daily basis, whether they are conscious of it or not. The message by Blitz the Ambassador is clear, for he even says it repeatedly, “You already know, they can never change you.” Remaining cognizant of the self that is inextricably linked to humanity’s birthplace is the only sure way to ensure survival. We should all take his advice and “shine our light[s]”, persevering in our walks, because ancestral guidance and protection are never too far off— the link was and never will be broken. Kudos, Mr. Blitz.