The Role of New and Social Media in Tanzanian Hip-Hop Production

The Role of New and Social Media in Tanzanian Hip-Hop Production by Msia Kibona Clark

Cahiers d’études africaines 2014/4 (N° 216)

Abstract: Tanzanian hip-hop artists are finding ways to use social media and technology to both participate in social discourse and to disseminate their music. The increased reliance on alternatives to traditional media tests the power of new technology and social media to allow artists to successfully bypass established institutions and barriers. Likewise, it tests the importance of social media in creating a space for Pan African dialogues to occur, viahip-hop. One of the earliest clues that new and social media would signal revolutionary change in the dissemination of hip-hop worldwide was the launch of MySpace in 2003. By 2010 an increasing number of hip-hop artists from Tanzania had created fan pages on Facebook, uploaded videos on YouTube, and opened Twitter accounts. This research examines the ways in which hip-hop artists in Tanzania use this social media to engage audiences, the effectiveness of these strategies in the face of an increasing number of online Tanzanians, and how social media helps artists bridge barriers to Pan African dialogues with artists across Africa and the Diaspora.


Le rôle des médias sociaux en Tanzanie en production hip-hop

Les artistes de hip-hop tanzaniens recherchent des moyens d’utilisation des médias sociaux et des nouvelles technologies qui leur permettent à la fois de participer à des discours sociaux et de diffuser leur musique. Le recours accru à des alternatives aux médias traditionnels questionne le pouvoir qu’ont les nouvelles technologies et les médias sociaux de soutenir les artistes tentant de contourner les institutions et les barrières établies. De même, elle interroge l’importance des médias sociaux dans la création d’un espace où surviendraient des dialogues panafricains, au travers du hip-hop. L’un des premiers indices signalant que les médias sociaux allaient engranger des changements révolutionnaires dans la dissémination mondiale du hip-hop fut le lancement de Myspace en 2003. Avant 2010, un nombre croissant d’artistes hip-hop de Tanzanie avaient créé leurs pages Facebook, téléchargé des vidéos sur Youtube, et ouvert des comptes Twitter. Cette recherche examine les manières dont les artistes de hip-hop en Tanzanie utilisent les médias sociaux pour toucher leurs publics, l’efficacité de ces stratégies auprès du nombre croissant de Tanzaniens connectés au Net, et comment les médias sociaux aident les artistes à vaincre les obstacles qui pourraient s’opposer aux dialogues panafricains avec des artistes de l’Afrique et de la diaspora.

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 23 Mejah & Malle Marxist

30 days of Tanzanian hip hop: Day 23 – Mejah & Malle Marxist. Both of them are not only hip hop artists (graffiti artist and MC) they are also serious about knowledge. This brings in the most important element hip hop: knowledge. Knowledge of self, speaking truth to power. Mejah and Malle are different, but both have knowledge that they share through their music and their writings. Few hip hop artists do their art, and write.

I wanted to end (a week early) with this element because it is so important. When I asked Mejah and Malle to write essays for a book (coming soon!) on hip hop in Africa, they both wrote great pieces on hip hop in Tanzania. It was beautiful because it shows people who don’t understand hip hop culture, that it is more than just the music. And that a lot of hip hop heads and artists can articulate the messages behind the art.


*30 days of TZ hip hop is to show some of what I experienced the past year in Tanzania.