HHAP Episode 43: Hip Hop and Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Part 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part conversation with hip hop scholar and University of Cape Town Professor Adam Haupt and hip hop artist Bradley Lodewyk (aka b-boy King Voue) from the group Brasse Vannie Kaap, or BVK. We met up at the University of Cape Town while they were working on their book project, Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism, and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and EP In the Key of B. The book and EP can be accessed at https://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/books/neva-again. The book was edited by Adam Haupt, Quentin Williams, H Samy Alim & Emile Jansen. The #IntheKeyofB EP was produced by Adam and Bradley and features Cape Flats MCs and vocalists, such as Nadine Matthews-Nunes, Naftali Solomons, Eavesdrop, Shameema Williams (ex Godessa), Natasha C. Tafari, Emile YX? (Black Noise, Heal the Hood), Amy Brown, Imie Vannie Delf, Dirtypro Agape Tadana, Stefan Benting, Razeen Haupt, Nathan Lodewyk, Zama Jimba and Jerome Rex.  

In this episode, Bradley talks about his work with BVK and the involvement of the group in politics. BVK members were from the Cape Flats area in Cape Town,  and rapped in Kaaps, a Cape Flats dialect of Afrikaans. They released their first album in the late-1990s. The conversation in this episode looks at hip hop under apartheid, and the influence of apartheid of the development of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also discuss South Africa’s history of protest and activism. Adam and Bradley discuss the failures of the post-apartheid government to live up to the promises of the movement, and their adoption of a neoliberal economic system, which “reinforced the racialized class divide”. Within this, Adam and Bradley say hip hop became, and still is, a vehicle to expose youth to progressive ideas The topics In the Key of B EP covers include  gang violence, toxic masculinity, the failures of the state, and gentrification Adam and Bradley also discuss bringing the various contributors together for this project, and their use of social media, especially WhatsApp, to communicate. In this project WhatsApp was a space for them to engage with social and political issues happening in South Africa, which would in turn, influence their work on the project. According to Adam, “It was also a way of demystifying the academic writing about the issues”.

The opening song is “Persevere” by Monishia Schoeman, Emile Jansen, Adam Haupt with additional vocals by Razeen Haupt, and the closing song is “Trickle Down” by Emile Jansen, Stefan Benting, Agape Dirtypro Tadana, Shameema Williams, and Adam Haupt. Both are on the album In The Key Of B

HHAP Episode 42: Hip Hop and Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2 part conversation with hip hop scholar and University of Cape Town Professor Adam Haupt and hip hop artist Bradley Lodewyk (aka b-boy King Voue) from the group Brasse Vannie Kaap, or BVK. We met up at the University of Cape Town while they were working on their book project, Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism, and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and EP In the Key of B. The book and EP can be accessed at https://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/books/neva-again. The book was edited by Adam Haupt, Quentin Williams, H Samy Alim & Emile Jansen. The #IntheKeyofB EP was produced by Adam and Bradley and features Cape Flats MCs and vocalists, such as Nadine Matthews-Nunes, Naftali Solomons, Eavesdrop, Shameema Williams (ex Godessa), Natasha C. Tafari, Emile YX? (Black Noise, Heal the Hood), Amy Brown, Imie Vannie Delf, Dirtypro Agape Tadana, Stefan Benting, Razeen Haupt, Nathan Lodewyk, Zama Jimba and Jerome Rex.  

In this episode, Bradley talks about his work with BVK and the involvement of the group in politics. BVK members were from the Cape Flats area in Cape Town,  and rapped in Kaaps, a Cape Flats dialect of Afrikaans. They released their first album in the late-1990s. The conversation in this episode looks at hip hop under apartheid, and the influence of apartheid of the development of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also discuss South Africa’s history of protest and activism. Adam and Bradley discuss the failures of the post-apartheid government to live up to the promises of the movement, and their adoption of a neoliberal economic system, which “reinforced the racialized class divide”. Within this, Adam and Bradley say hip hop became, and still is, a vehicle to expose youth to progressive ideas The topics In the Key of B EP covers include  gang violence, toxic masculinity, the failures of the state, and gentrification Adam and Bradley also discuss bringing the various contributors together for this project, and their use of social media, especially WhatsApp, to communicate. In this project WhatsApp was a space for them to engage with social and political issues happening in South Africa, which would in turn, influence their work on the project. According to Adam, “It was also a way of demystifying the academic writing about the issues”.

HHAP Episode 20: Nazlee Saif on Hip Hop, Sexuality, Race, & Protest in Cape Town

Our conversation with Cape Town based hip hop and spoken word artist Nazlee Saif centers on discussions of race, gender, religion, sexuality, and activism. This conversation centers on the use of hip hop as a cultural space within which to engage several different social issues, and to deconstruct social taboos that continue to exist within hip hop culture.

Nazlee Saif is a spoken word and hip hop artist originally from Durban, who moved to Cape Town and attended the University of Cape Town (UCT) during the height of the #RhodesMustFall movement. Nazlee, who was already a socially conscious artist, was an activist and organizer in the movement on the UCT campus. Nazlee, as a queer identified, Muslim, MC, also brings those intersecting identities into the hip hop, a culture that has historically been very patriarchal, very misogynistic, and hostile to queer voices.

In the conversation Nazlee Saif talks about several topic, including the #RhodesMustFall movement at UCT, intersectionality, being Black & Coloured, queer identities, being a Muslim & queer MC, Steve Biko and Black consciousness, the term “Hoteps”, and feminism.

Nazlee Saif’s presence in hip hop challenges hip hop’s masculine, heteronormative culture. Nazlee Saif expresses strong stances on topics of race, sexuality, and religion. The artist’s discussion of a level of frustration with Black Consciousness, as well as the term “Hoteps”, may put Nazlee Saif at odds with some Pan Africanists.

Nazlee on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwNoj0WTO0fAoKG0fagDFxQ

Nazlee on Twitter: @NazleeArbee

Readings

Clark, Msia Kibona. 2014. “Gendered Representations among Tanzanian Female Emcees”. In Ni Wakati: Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa, edited by Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Koster. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Haupt, Adam. 2016. Queering Hip-Hop, Queering the City: Dope Saint Jude’s Transformative Politics. M/C Journal, 19(4).

Smith, Marquita R., 2014. “Or a Real, Real Bad Lesbian”: Nicki Minaj and the Acknowledgement of Queer Desire in Hip-Hop Culture. Popular Music and Society, 37(3), pp.360-370.

HHAP Episode 15: Kanyi Mavi on Hip Hop, Xhosa, & Rap Culture in South Africa

In this episode I sit down with Kanyi Mavi, an MC out of Cape Town, South Africa. She was recently in New York City and I was able to catch up with her at the famous Red Rooster soul food restaurant in Harlem. In the interview we spoke at length about being a Xhosa-speaking hip hop artist in South Africa, as well as the politics of hip hop culture in South Africa. We also spoke about the dynamics of gender & hip hop in South Africa.

Tracklist
Ungalibali
Rise (featuring Driemanskap)
Ngqangqa (prod. T.Krotkiewski)
For more information about Kanyi Mavi check her out on

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kanyimavi/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kanyi_Mavi

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/anyiavi

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kanyi/id535359468