Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo

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Born in Bakau in The Gambia in 1989, Jerreh Jallow, popularly called Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo is a dancehall and rap artist. He majors in rap but occasionally sings dancehall. He sings in three West African languages namely Fula, Mandingo and Wolof. In his song Alagie he mixes English with one of the three languages mentioned before. Like bars like “She feeling the nigga mom muneh man ma koh deh  joh lum buga / Hold up ma nigga mak yow bokunu level ma nigga / Am  way up my nigga feeling so blessed no complaino ma nigga”. Continue reading “Jizzle D Lyrical Kiddo”

Hipco Artist Christoph stays true to his native liberian dialect

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Christoph, Liberia’s upcoming hipco (Liberian hip-hop) artist is gaining popularity with his crisp style and hot verses. Aside from his attractive looks and charismatic personality, he has made great contributions to the Liberian hip-hop community. He stays true to his identity by rapping in koloqua (Liberia’s Local dialect) so that his people can understand his music. Continue reading “Hipco Artist Christoph stays true to his native liberian dialect”

Rapping In A Native Language

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Raj (Okemwa Rajiv) is a Kenyan Rapper that raps in his native language Kisii. The Gusii language (also known as Kisii or Ekegusii) is a Bantu language spoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya, whose headquarters is Kisii town, (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria and the border with Tanzania).  His unique style of rap is a mixture of Kisii, a blend of English, and Swahili which is his Kisii flow. Historically, Kenyan hip hop was initially in Swahili and English. But Raj feels that it would be great if everyone was rapping in their own native language. Raj raps about relatable issues and want to be an inspiration to youth going through the struggles they face everyday. He said in an interview that “We need to embrace our African culture including the language.” https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/5-questions-kenyan-rapper-raj. In February 2015, he was signed to Kaka Empire Management which he eventually left. Now he owns a studio called Music Bank where he produces his own songs. He has been inspired by artists, including Kenya’s Nyashinski and Sauti Sol, Nigerian Wizkid and South Africa’s AKA. Continue reading “Rapping In A Native Language”

Botswana’s Dramaboi & His Artful Command of Language

Within the heart of African Hip-Hop lies a blend of cultures and traditions reflected through artful use of smooth mixtures of languages, both native and foreign, and tongues both intimate and mainstream. Thuto Ricardo Ramphaleng, more commonly known by his stage name, Dramaboi, is a young Botswanan Motswako hip-hop artist from the townships whose fluid mastery of the English language and command of his mother-tongue Zulu as well as various pigeon dialects allow him to skillfully relay deep and touching sentiments, even to those who do not fully understand all the languages spoken. In Dramaboi’s 2017 hit, Conversation with Mama, the young rapper recreates a hopeful heart-to-heart between he and his mother, switching from English to Zulu to slang with ease, always using the right phrasing, language, and dialect to make his music flavorful and his message heard. Continue reading “Botswana’s Dramaboi & His Artful Command of Language”

Here’s To US

Wangechi Waweru is a Kenyan rapper, singer, and songwriter. She was born on January 19th 1994 in Nairobi, Kenya. Growing up she knew she had a love for music. Wangechi has said that her passion for music derived from listening to Nazizi who is a rapper and songstress. She listened to African music from rappers such as Kalamashaka but she also listened to American music. At just the age of 12 she came to love music by artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G, Lauryn Hill, and many more. Wangechi’s taste in music was very diverse and eventually that diversity fed into her own music. When she finally found her calling for music she released her first mixtape, “Consume Chakula ya Soul”, in 2013. She came into the rap game with a unique and versatile flow. Continue reading “Here’s To US”

Excuse my Wolof

My last article discussed Youssoupha’s album NGRTD. While reading the lyrics of his song entourage, I realized Youssoupha discussed many of the same themes MC Solaar touches on in his early albums produced some 20 years ago. While you could write a novel on the thematic similarities of African hip hop produced two decades apart, there was one distinguishing factor of Youssoupha’s newer music that, hopefully, is indicative of improvements in African communities at home and abroad: the in-your-face nature of NGRTD across a top-5 album in the French music charts. Continue reading “Excuse my Wolof”

Toussa, or all-inclusive

Who is Astou Gaye, and how did she set the contemporary precedent for aspiring female rappers in the banlieus surrounding Dakar?

Better known by her stage name Toussa Senerap, Astou began her career calling out a highly-patriarchal Senegalese culture that withholds respect for women in both marriage and the hip-hop industry. There is no questioning Astou’s commitment to overturning society’s status-quo: her first experience with rap was in 50 Cent’s international banger, “In da Club” – a testament to selling drugs and pimping women that Astou transformed into a struggle for women’s emancipation. Continue reading “Toussa, or all-inclusive”

M.anifest – “Cupid’s Crooked Bow”

Immediately, M.anifest’s “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” begins with a smooth, African drum beat, fused with South African artist Nomisupasta’s unique voice – a kind of tone that is completely original but also, to me, sounds like a mix of Adele and Erykah Badu’s voices (especially when Nomisupasta sings in English). M.anifest raps in English, creating a familiar sound that that reminds listeners of classic, slow-beat American hip hip. Because of the elegance of his lyrics, M.anifest’s rapping style is a kind that likens that of American artist Common, with the way he describes and admires his encounters with a woman.

The video is in a pleasant high quality, and the images offer watchers a relaxed, night scene that includes an abundance of dancing and some drinking. The refraining lyrics in the song “There’s something special about you”, along with M.anifest’s nostalgic verses offer a sentimental mood to the song, easily making it an admirable one with its use of piano and occasional electric guitar licks.

The use of guitar makes “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” a song heavily rooted in Ghanaian music, because Highlife – a Ghanaian genre that predated hip hop in Africa – consists of European instruments and is especially guitar-heavy. Because M.anifest includes this in this piece, he is able to be a true representative of hip hop and decidedly remains close to this distinctly Ghanaian sound.

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After the 3 minute mark on the video (around 3:06, to be exact) “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” suddenly takes on a “trap beat” – something especially prominent in modern rap music, and very unlike the African drum beat that is present throughout the majority of the song. This is a profound artistic touch because by adding this trap beat, M.anifest displays the growth and diversity of African hip hip music – over the years – through his song (beginning with traditional African sounds and ending with a mainstream rap beat, used worldwide). As soon as this beat appears, a girl simultaneously appears in the video and begins to dance while holding a strong eye-contact with the camera. Her dancing is representative of West African dancing styles, and is therefore another significant cultural element of the video.

Watchers of “Cupid’s Crooked Bow” see and hear it all at once: the Highlife elements, the classic slow-rap style, the traditional African rhythmic beats, the West African style of dancing, and the Western music elements. They are able to identify all of this; and because of it; the song is sophisticated, easily admirable, and is an undeniably good track.

Language, Ideologies, Choices, and Practices in Eastern African Hip Hop

This is an essay written by, Alex Perullo and John Fenn which can be found in the book Global Pop, Local Language by, Harris M. Berger and Michael Thomas Carroll.  Since Hip Hop’s emergence in North America during the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hip Hop has become a global way for the youth to express their own local styles.  This is no different in Tanzania and Malawi, two neighboring African countries.  Both countries use English in their hip hop music, but Tanzania uses also Swahili and the Malawian youth use the language Chichewa.  Author, Alex Perullo, states that Tanzanian hip hop in English reflects American hip hop in talking about the pleasure’s of life for example, parties, friends, and praise of the artist.  Perullo then says that when the musicians use Swahili, the hip hop artist is usually conveying a message to the Tanzanian people about important social issues like lack of employment, corruption in the government, police brutality, and HIV/AIDS.  Tanzanian hip hop artists have stayed away from some American themes found in rap music like violence, because it is seen as disrespectful by the Tanzanian people.  Although English is the dominant political and economic language in Tanzania, it is only spoken by five percent of the population, so Swahili has become the most dominant language in the Tanzanian hip hop scene.  Many Tanzanian hip hop artists use American rappers such as Tupac Shakur to learn the flow of hip hop music and once they have acquired the skills they develop themselves as Tanzanian hip hop artists.  The creation of new words and the changing of the meaning of old Tanzanian words is core to the hip hop scene because this creates a common culture the youth of Tanzania are able to identify with.  In Malawi, English is all over rap and hip hop music, but it is usually accompanied simultaneously by the language Chichewa.  Much of the conversation about hip hop music in Malawi is done in English including newspapers, radio, and face to face dialogue, but the young hip hop artists of Malawi realize the importance of using the local Chichewa language when trying to convey certain messages in their music.  The Malawian youth see hip hop as having important social functions as well as a way to effectively transmit meaning.

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=AQWyMWVV9IAC&oi=fnd&pg=PA19&dq=african+hip+hop+music&ots=037afLgHMz&sig=e5bJUiYGJi4LUCzl9xTxKiU5jzs#v=onepage&q&f=false