Deeply Indebted

The well known rapper SHAD is another Kenyan artist who has defied the odds. SHAD was born in Kenya in 1982 but was raised in London, Ontario. His parents moved their family to Canada when he was just a year old. His parents were Rwandan so he grew up knowing a lot about his culture. The stories that his parents told him about their life and hardships in Rwanda always stuck with him. In an interview SHAD said “My mother continuously instilled in me a sense that my life, my presence, and my personal integrity were all rooted in a history—a history of Rwandan people who were (and are) full of goodness, complexity, dignity and fortitude.” Continue reading “Deeply Indebted”

Hip Hop and Pop Culture

The videos I analyzed are “Sim Dope” by South African hip hop artist AKA and “Heart” by South African pop artist Toya Delazy. I’d first like to note their similarity to American artists. In AKA’s video “Sim Dope,” at first glance you would probably think he is an American artist, being that his style is very flamboyant and flashy. But, his lyrics tell us something else. AKA isn’t the average American hip hop artist, rapping idly about drugs, women, and violence. His music tells a story, his story. It also intrigued me how he incorporated the American “turn up” style of music into his story telling. Most American artist who tell stories through there music generally have more subtle beats. In my opinion, they work best. AKA’s style distracted me from his message. The next artist I examined was Toya Delazy. Delazy’s video “Heart” had aesthetic vibes that reminded me of artist like Elle Varner and SZA. I’ve never listened to African pop music, and I’m not really much of a pop fan, so I was not really sure what to expect. One thing I noticed about both artist is there short verses. American music typically has two to three long verses but it seemed as though both AKA and Toya Delazy’s songs contained many very small verses. Their styles are also completely different. AKA’s song was laced with metaphors similes whereas Delazy was pretty straight to the point. I can honestly say neither artist is what I expected. For some reason when I picture African hip hop and pop it is in no way similar to American music. I expect strong, mesmerizing beats, thick accents, and music laced with meaning and emotion. Both artist sounded like someone I would hear on the radio here. Their styles were both very commercial and unexpected.

Hip Hop Drum Session

Video clips of students in a drum session and rapping over African drum beats. The students are in the Hip Hop and Popular Culture in Africa class in the African Studies Department at Howard University visited Hands on Drum in Washington, DC. In addition to Continue reading “Hip Hop Drum Session”