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

HHAP Episode 34: Reggie Rockstone on the Pan African connections with Ghanaian Hiplife & Hip Hop Culture

Reggie Rockstone is one of the pioneers of hiplife in Ghana. In this conversation, he discusses how as a Pan Africanist, his perspective influenced his participation in hip hop culture in Ghana. He talks about the importance of popularizing the use of African languages through music, and how he helped to popularize the use of Twi in Ghanaian hiplife and hip hop. He discusses the importance of African languages in reaffirming pride, breaking colonial mentalities, and bridging class divides. Reggie Rockstone also talks about his own Pan Africanist upbringing, and the impact of his Diaspora experiences, as well as those of his father and African American mother. 

The episode begins with Reggie Rockstone’s song “Proactive” and ends with his song “Woso”, both on his 2010 album Reggiestration, which is available on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reggiestration/412457159.

Reggie Rockstone can be found on Instagram @reggierockstone711 and Twitter @ReggieRockstone

HHAP Episode 17: Abena Rockstar on Hip Hop and the Music Industry in Ghana

Abena Rockstar is a Ghanaian hip hop artist who is known for writing hard hitting, raw hip hop lyrics. She performs mostly in Twi, and is among a small group of female artists in Ghana who’s style focuses on strong hip hop lyricism. Many female artists in Ghana choose to enter into other genres, whether it be Hiplife or gospel music. The idea that women are not supposed to be hardcore hip hop lyricists is a perspective we see throughout hip hop globally.

In this interview, we sat down at a local restaurant near Abena’s home in Tema, outside of Accra and talked about a lot of different topics. Abena Rockstar discusses the visibility of women in Ghanaian hip hop, the pressure to sing instead of rap, ideas of how women should behave, and her views on the category of “female rapper”. She also talks about her views on Hiplife, her participation in the “Gh Female Rappers Cypher” project, and the music industry in Ghana.

In 2014, Abena Rockstar released the EP “Only Few Can Relate” and in 2017 she released the EP “MAFIA”. The songs featured in this podcast include the singles “I’m Ready”, “Abena”, and “Broke Nyass Brodas” is a commentary on male and female relationships. We have included links to her music, website, and social media profiles.

Abena Rockstar was among several artists featured in the “Gh Female Rappers Cypher”. Other artists featured on the project were Eno, Esbee, Porsche, EyiRap, Xcot, Mila, and Scrach. The track can be heard at http://youtu.be/ztRX0qbOU4I

Abena Rockstar’s website: http://abenarockstar.com
Twitter: @AbenaRockstar
Facebook: AbenaRockstar

Episode Playlist
:28 “Abena”
3:30 Episode intro
10:35 “Broke Nyass Brodas”
13:25 “I’m Ready”
16:17 Interview with Abena Rockstar
47:22 “Now u Know”

*This episode was produced and mixed by Howard University student @Yashua7Rashad

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