African Hip Hop Through Visual Art

This semester students in the Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa course did either podcasts and art pieces. This is some of the artwork submitted from this semester’s students.

 

HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity

This interview with Ugandan artist Ruyonga, formerly known as Krukid, is an in-depth discussion on the artist’s perspective on the Black experience, relations between African Americans and Africans in America, his issues with the Black Panther film, being a Christian MC, and his perspective on laws and politics in Uganda.

Ruyonga studied in the U.S. in the early 2000s. He began rapping in Uganda before coming to the States, and he established an underground career in the U.S. and became known for his distinct sound and strong lyrical ability. After almost a decade in the US, Ruyonga returned to Uganda. He changed his name to Ruyonga and built his career as a Christian rapper.

After a long stay Ruyonga has an interesting perspective on being an African immigrant in America, and the tensions between African and African American communities. He talks about those tensions from an African immigrant perspective, and comments on the diverse racial and ethnic dynamics he saw in different parts of the United States. The conversation turns towards pop culture and race and Ruyonga has strong feelings about the Black Panther and the representations of Africans in the film, and Hollywood’s presentation of the Black experience.

Ruyonga also opens up about his views on race, Black pride, and feminism, as well as his views on the ways different groups of people have been pitted against each other. Part of the conversation includes the artist’s views on some of Uganda’s more controversial laws regarding women and sexuality, especially the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Still a strong lyricist, Ruyonga now uses Christianity as the vehicle with which to express his lyricism. His latest release is Voice Of My Father, and follows an impressive body of work that spans over 10 years. Ruyonga is on

BandCamp at https://ruyonga.bandcamp.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ruyonga/482094271

Twitter: @ruyongamusic

Episode Breakdown
7:30 “African American, American African”
9:30 “Pearl City Anthem”
11:45 “Hand of God”
12:40 Background and move to the US
14:00 The Black Experience
15:15 African & African American relations
23:42 The Black Panther movie & Hollywood
29:33 Black pride, feminism
32:00 The return to Uganda
35:45 Language
37:18 Christianity & politics

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 23: Uganda’s Ruyonga on African/African American Relations, Black Panther, Politics, and Christianity”

Exploring Lyrical & Artistic Feminism: Botswana’s Hip-Hop Star, Sasa Klaas

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The Hip-Hop industry, like many others within patriarchal societies, remains male-dominated. However, the growing presence of talented female artists who challenge and question the status quo and defy gender roles with their lyrics lends hope to a future of non-gender-biased music. Sarona Motlhagodi, more popularly known as her stage name, Sasa Klaas, is a hip-hop star from Botswana who embraces her femininity and sexuality, while dispelling negative or limiting conceptions about women. Continue reading “Exploring Lyrical & Artistic Feminism: Botswana’s Hip-Hop Star, Sasa Klaas”

Female Sexuality in Hip-Hop, Is It Still A Taboo?

When it comes to being one of the hottest female rap artists in the game, you have to go hard or go home. Queens born rap artist, Nicki Minaj, knows that all too well and living in this day an age, sex sells in almost every piece of work. Rather it be in forms of fashion, hair, you name it, sex is everywhere. And let’s not forget that she is a beautiful, young woman with a beautiful body to match her lyrical talent so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when she released an explicit visual video to her hit song “Anaconda” in which she raps about her experience with guys she has been with in the past. While the video is rather provocative with women surrounding Nicki in short panty like undergarments and skin tight clothing with their behinds hanging out, the video also celebrates sexually attractive women.

Some viewers may feel a little off guard because they are uncomfortable speaking out about sex and don’t understand what it’s like to be sexually liberated and free to express oneself in such matter. In one of the scenes of the video, Nicki is in the kitchen cutting bananas and then proceeds to put a whole one in her mouth, symbolizing that she’s comfortable with her sexual openness and that being sexual with the banana means that she possess some type female power. Earlier this week I read some content that mentions Nicki Minaj as someone who markets herself as a “sexual entrepreneur” because sex is embossed in almost all of her work. And given her outgoing personality and the general audience that she appeals too, Nicki Minaj may not come out and say the song is about sex because at the end of the day it’s all about perception and we the viewers may get a total different message than what she intended to give out.