HHAP Ep 72: A Conversation on South African Popular Music with Sipho Sithole, p. 1

Dr. Sipho Sithole is a Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (University of Johannesburg) and holds a PhD in Anthropology, a B.Sc in Political Science and International Relations, and an M. Sc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. Dr. Sithole’s research revolves around language identity, culture, migration, and integration. Sithole has a long career in hip hop & is the founder and owner of an important and multi-award-winning music production house, Native Rhythms Productions, & Native Rhythms Records.

Sithole has is credited for helping mainstream hip-hop in South Africa when he signed Skwatta Kamp in 2003, the first group to achieve platinum sales. He held what he says is the 1st African hip hop summit in 2005 He is also a producer, winning awards for his production work on Thandiswa Mazwai’s debut album, Zabalaza (2004).

In this interview, he talks about his involvement in the growing hip hop scene in South Africa in the early 2000s. It was a time when kwaito’s mainstream popularity was declining, and Sipho Sithole talks about the decision to begin working with hip hop artists. He also talks about the role of the township in producing and shaping the South African hip hop scene, as well as social consciousness.

In part 2 of this interview, we delve into a discussion of race and identity in South African hip hop, and the spaces within hip hop that Black and Coloured South Africans occupy.

Female & Southern African Rappers — Putting Themselves on the Map

A woman stepping into the male-dominated field of hip-hop is revolutionary in itself. Hip-hop was created by men like DJ

A Younger Generation of South African Women Artists and Societal Expectations

Since the arrival of hip hop on the continent, South Africa has birthed and housed some of the most notable

HHAP EP. 67: Yugen Blakrok on Spirituality & the Spectrums of Human Experience Found in Her Music

Yugen Blakrok doesn’t incorporate hip hop’s boom-bap style, she has no interest in being the Queen of SA rap, she does not do trap, and she is not interested in being boxed into someone’s idea of a conscious MC. Her music has been described as “a mix of sci-fi soundscapes & meditative melodies”. It’s definitely introspective and speaks to you on several levels. It blends references to places, times, & themes both inside and outside of South Africa and contains spiritual references that borrow from diverse spiritual systems. Yugen Blakrok was born in the Eastern Cape and later moved to Johannesburg, the heart of South Africa’s music industry. She released her 1st album Return of the Astro-Goth in 2013 and her second album, Anima Mysterium, which contains a cameo by Kool Keith in 2019. In 2018, she featured on the track “Opps” with Vince Staples & Kendrick Lamar on the Black Panther soundtrack.

In this interview, she engages in thought-provoking dialogue with our students who really connected with her music, which transcends a lot of boundaries. Yugen’s music does not just belong to South Africa but has universal messages that connect on human levels. Additionally, she spoke to us about being a socially conscious artist without the need to declare it, but being socially conscious by being it, not necessarily saying it.
The conversation is moderated by Mikal Amin of Words Beats & Life. We’re joined at the very end by Phiwokuhle Mnyandu, who teaches Zulu at Howard University.
Yugen Blakrok is online at
Twitter @YugenBlakrok
Instagram @YugenBlakrok
Bandcamp yugenblakrok.bandcamp.com

HHAP EP. 63: Gigi Lamayne on Representation & Dismantling Respectability Politics

This is the first in a special series of episodes being recorded lives with African Studies students at Howard University and George Washington University. The series is co-hosted with Words Beas & Life, who is also live-streaming the episodes on their Facebook page (facebok.com/wordsbeatslife) on Wednesday nights at 5pm EST. The schedule is on our website at hiphopafrican.com.

A part of the “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. Rapping since high school, she released the powerful track “Fees Will Fall” just months after graduation. Considered one of South Africa’s best lyricists, her music addresses topics like Black pride, gender-based violence, feminism, sexism, and the shadiness within the music industry. We first interviewed Gigi Lamayne in 2017. She has continued to find mainstream success while addressing serious topics in some of her songs. In the conversation, she talks about her career, her views on the resilience and activism of South African women, race in South Africa, the relationships between women in the industry, and the stigmas and views around mental health in Africa.

The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC43HnRR6MNq5DePBVKZZ7LQ

Links
https://www.gigilamayne.co.za/
https://www.facebook.com/Queen.Gigi.LaMayne
https://www.instagram.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.twitter.com/gigi_lamayne
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRvC54bgRUtn48RbCvuZJZA
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gigi-lamayne/1455356528?ign-gact=3&ls=1
https://open.spotify.com/artist/3405LTbL2jP8J0gVQK3087?autoplay=true

Gigi Lamayne: Education Warrior

Best known for her lyricism, philanthropy and love for the business world, Gigi Lamayne is an award winning female Hip

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