The Prince Of The South

 

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We see all the time in the United States artist claim there titles. You got the King of New York or The Queen of Rap, but meet the Prince of South African Rap. Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known by his stage name AKA. AKA is a South African hip hop recording artist and record producer. Continue reading “The Prince Of The South”

Inside and Out

The moment I heard Gigi LaMayne’s “Fees Will Fall” another well-known female rapper came to mind. Hailing from the U.S is Angel Haze, who’s image and flow I was reminded of when I watched LaMayne’s video. Both artists give off this masculine-feminine vibe. In Fees Will Fall you can see LaMayne wearing what appears to be a sequined dress, with her hair in a bun and wearing make-up, what is deemed to be a feminine appearance. However, her flow and delivery is hard and she uses “masculine” hand gestures to get her point across. In Angel Haze’s video for “Werkin Girls” you can see similar aspects. Haze is dressed in pants and a crop top, with her hair long and straight and makeup. All of these details giving Haze a feminine feel, however, when she starts to rap the way she delivers her bars and the hand motions make Haze appear hard and more like her male counterparts in the game. Not only that but what she says has a manly appeal, especially when she makes references to her bitches and talks about males turning into bitches, insinuating that these males are exhibiting “female” behavior. Both videos are also in very muted color, LaMayne’s being in complete black and white. This gives both videos a very stoic and cold feel to them. One of the only major differences between the two femcees is the messages behind the videos. In “Fees Will Fall” LaMayne’s purpose is to bring awareness to being who you are and claiming your freedom. It is positive and political, touching on how “they” (the government or possibly white America) put on a front and act as though they understand what black America has been through. In “Werkin Girls” the main message Haze is trying to deliver is that she is all about her money and that she is not one to be played with nor underestimated. Although both artists are spreading different messages in these particular videos, they both exhibit being “inside” and also “outside” the box.

Black Like Me

Hip Hop was borne from the oppression Black people faced in their urban communities and the outlet to this madness was found in a dope beat and intellectual wordplay. The Black struggle found in the Bronx in America can be mirrored in South Africa where Black people were similarly oppressed in their communities. The Black struggle is unique– if you’re not a member of the Black community, it’s hard to understand what it’s like living while Black. It’s a never ending struggle of escaping oppression and trying to live fully in your skin. Blacks in America in the 90s reached out their hands to their brothas and sistas in South Africa because they knew all too well what it’s like enduring the war against Black all over the world.

Dope Saint Jude, a queer South African hip hop artist and Joey Badass, Brooklyn Native hip hop artist, although growing up in two completely different places, explore what it means to live like them, live Black like them.

In Dope Saint Jude’s video for her song “Brown Baas” the focus is mainly on her and her brown skin and statement locs where she is delivering fierce lines about the oppression she faces being Black in South Africa which hints at the remnants of Apartheid still in the country. She uses the South African term “baas” which means authority figure, and proclaims herself as a “baas” or boss, saying that she’s proud of her Blackness even though others may have a problem with it. She’s owning who she is. She repeats, ”
What it’s like to be brown for a girl like me” “What it’s like to be a baas for a girl like me”

Similarly, Joey Badass invites people into his world with his song, “Like Me” that talks about the everyday struggles of being a Black man in his Brooklyn. The daily fight to stay alive and how people like him live differently and have a whole other perspective on life. “Like Me” was used as a protest song on Jimmy Fallon to shine light on the recent killings of unarmed Black men raising awareness of the pressures young Black men, and Black people in general face.

Both artists reclaim their Blackness and highlight the struggles that come with it, but also show how it’s a source of pride. Dope Saint Jude and Joey Badass both reflect on their experiences through their lyrics and are really trying to send a message because their lyrics come in clear. Joey Badass’s video is more of a cinematic piece where he paints a story for the listener and visual, while Dope Saint Jude has herself as the focus. The video that is very raw and grimy. They both are being a voice for young Black people who are trying to figure out their place in a world that isn’t always that kind to them.

South African & American Hip Hip: Brothers From another Mother

There are many similarities between the history of South Africa and the history of North America. From white supremacy to black/colored people fighting for their rights. Because of these parallels, its very understandable that hip hop music for both countries have similarities in sound and style. Today we’re going to be looking at two hip hop songs, one from America and another from South Africa. AKA is an award winning South African hip hop artist and producer from Cape Town.

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In his song Composure, you immediately notice the trap music sound that sets the mood for the song and music video. AKA appears to be in a studio for a photo shoot while he raps. The flow is very similar to that of an American rapper. Even the auto tune-like chorus is very common to modern American hip hop. The first thing that I thought of when seeing this was Drake. Just for consistency, I’ll give a little background on who Drake is. He’s an award winning American rapper from Canada who’s resume includes acting in a Canadian teen drama between 2001 and 2009 . drake-ftw

In his music video for Energy, Drake sort of has the same sound and feel as AKA’s Composure song. For Composure, it seems as though AKA is talking to someone directly about them doing him wrong which is pretty synonymous with Drake talking about all the people in his life who have done him wrong. This is a pretty common trait found in rap songs. I find it to be really cool how the culture of these two different countries aren’t completely the same but when it comes to hip hop and its sound/ style you start to really notice the similarities. The significance of hip hop can be seen in the ways that it brings our people together and this is just another example of that.

South African Hip Hop vs Pop Music

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South African Hip Hop and Pop has a very blurred line as far as differences. For my south African pop song I chose My City by artist, Toya Delazy. Because I chose South Africa as my country to select from both of my songs were in English which made it a little easier. The video is a black and white kind of grayscale theme. It is comprised of buildings rising higher and lowering throughout the theme “my city”. Then it goes into her on top of one of the high rises singing and kind of spoken word and her featured artist Cassper Nyovest rapping.The lyrics are “ My city I love my city my city, I love my city my city I love my city”. The rest of the song goes into trials and tribulations of life but refrains to the idea of her loving her city and where she comes from. The overall idea i get from the video and lyrics is similar to that of American artist Alicia Keys. I feel that the two artists styles are very similar and this song is kind of like New York “Empire State of Mind”. The beat of this particular song isn’t what I would consider American pop to be, because the song doesn’t have as much of an up tempo as I am used to hearing. You can watch the video though the link below. My City Toya Delazy I think that this artist can be classified as a Hip Hop hybrid, combining: pop, R& B and Hip Hop.AKA.jpg

 

As far as Hip Hop is concerned in South Africa, I stumbled upon named , Kiernan Forbes or AKA. The song and music video that I chose to use for this comparison is Baddest featuring Burna Boy and Khuli Chana. Baddest AKA ft. Burna Boy and Khuli Chana . First of all I really like the beat of this song it’s very similar to some American rap artists I would listen. I’m getting a kind of Drake and Ty Dolla sign vibe from all of these artist. I would classify this as a banger. The lyrics of this song include “And we the baddest team We the baddest team and we the baddest team We the baddest team”. The lyrics are typical of many rap songs. I get the same feeling about the video its the typical rap video girls, sex,clothes, money, toys and streets. This relates back to the Hip Hop Ghetto- Centricity and the commodity article. The Virtual Ghetto is an idea that is very relevant. Advertiser and artists and labels have found what sells and they haven’t let up on producing this sort of saturated content since then. The article also reinforces the idea that Hip Hop is also based on materialism and brands. This video begins in a store with name brand clothing and throughout the video and the lyrics, you can see fashions and brands that are well know.

 

Devour Ke Lenyora

Unlike the other posts I’ve written on African hip hop artists, this post is on a female artist. Devour Ke Lenyora is a female emcee from South Africa, specifically Daveyton, East Rand Johannesburg. She is not a well known artists but is working on her sound and image in order to be recognized in the hip hop community. Lenyora’s sound is not the typical upbeat, fast-paced sound found in modern day hip hop. Instead, her music has been described, by blogger Stefanie Jason, as a  “laid back flow that eases out lyrical mastery over gritty boom-bap beats.” After reading about Lenyora, I listened to one of her songs form her mixtape “We’re Almost There,” called “Blood on My Hands 2.0.” The song, in my opinion, included a jazz vibe with a natural flow. It was similar to a J.Cole or Kendrick Lamar record.

It may not be a well known fact, but female emcees in South Africa were never respected as much or accepted by their male counterparts in the industry. Despite the lack of support that female artists receive, they continue to do what they love doing. Many of these women say that they believe the lack of respect pushes them to work harder, in order to do what people said couldn’t be done. When asked her opinion on being a woman on the scene, she replied by saying that she didn’t see it as a con. Instead as a pro because there is  so much room for her to be noticed.

Women In South African Hip-Hop: 6 Leading Female Rappers

AKA -Congraulate

AKA -Congratulate 
Kerinan Refiloe Forbes, born on January 28,1988, goes by the name we know as AKA- a South African rapper from Cape Town. AKA started his career off in 2002 as a member of Entity. Shooting to the top, they were nominated for their hit “Touch N Go” in 2005 for The Best African Hip Hop Award in The KORA award show. Although rapping seems to be his passion, AKA study sound engineering in school because that’s where his heart reside. With a successful production company, he then decides that he would take a shot in a solo career. That shot took him so far as to winning: Best Newcomer, Best Hip Hop and Best Produced Album for The Metro FM Awards for his debut album “Altar Ego”- dubbing him as the ” Prince of South African Rap.” It didn’t take long to see that his talents were worth keeping in the hip hop industry when he recently dropped his second album. What’s funny is that we find many talented artists like AKA, fall off after their first album because the second one wasn’t a great as the first one. Opening up for Kanye West , Snoop Dogg,and now even signed to Song Music, we see that AKA has a long history ahead of him. 

     His song “Congratulate” comes off his second album entitled “Levels.” Listening to the song, you may just that he’s talking about his success on getting a record deal with Sony Music and the fact that he’s grateful from where he’s came from to where he is now. He talks about how he struggles throughout his life and the sacrifices, he has made to enjoy where he is now and to be happy and to live a great life and how he wants to live. 
I had to pay dues, had to make moves on faith. Even got booed off stage.Trying to put food on plate

 This set of lyrics illustrates how he allow himself to do whatever it took , to make the best of life regardless of what others thought. He had a dream and now he’s living of. Despite him being booed off stage, we can now congratulate him on his record deal and the fact that he’s been awarded so much in this industry. I would definitely recommend this song because it’s a great song and if you don’t have it on your sound cloud or playlist , it should be.
  
https://youtu.be/r8hofUKu18M

AKA

Music transcends race, culture, religion, and identity and at its best rhythms, lyrics, and beats can transform the mind and soothe the soul. I believe music is a universal language that connects us all. If you don’t know me I love music and I’m always on the hunt for new artists whether I’m on Pandora, sound cloud, watching television, or listening to the radio I’m always looking for new artists to inspire me. However as eclectic as my musical taste is I’ve realized it’s still limited to my side of the diaspora. I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m so thankful my professor had my class do this blog because I’ve been given the opportunity to explore the music of a different side of the diaspora. This assignment led me right to Cape Town’s own AKA.

Continue reading “AKA”

Prophets of Da City’s “Never Again”: A Celebration, Motivation & Proclamation

 

Prophets of Da City (P.O.C.), is one of South Africa’s most influential, politically charged rap and hip hop collectives.  “Their sound [which] has been described by http://www.westnet.com as ‘a devastating mix of old-skool meets new school rhythms and enough tongue-twisting rhymes to keep your head in a spin” also speaks major insight into the social predicament of Blacks worldwide, igniting fire and giving hope to all that listen.

Speaking from the viewpoint of the South African experience of struggle and overcoming, Prophets of Da City (P.O.C.) in the song, “Never Again,” outline the ill shape Blacks find themselves in due to colonialism, imperialism, and all other -isms emblematic of . The motif of the song, “never again” is a declaration that toleration of any form of oppression will not take place from the streets of Soweto to the alleys of Detroit.

(Music Video of the Song “Never Again” by P.O.C.)

This song is about unity on all corners of the globe. It is “dedicated to those who are down with the revolution and all over the world where people are snoozing,” whether they be in Australia or Brazil. The artists never once divorce themselves nor their messages from the centrality of the Black experience on a global scale. The “Black race always at a slap face” is in a continuous, cyclical state of overcoming and becoming. The artists never cease to to take their micro experiences and expand them to a macro level. In doing so, they establish relevance in making it known that a singular struggle is quite actually a collective struggle. (“those that support the struggle locally/ I support your struggle globally…”) Lines such as “Africa rejoice, raise your fist, raise your voice…” make it clear that Africa is not limited to the continent, yet is inclusive of all people of African descent as well as those that identify with the collective struggle of oppression.

With the slight and clever implementation of the voice of Nelson Mandela atop lyricism, a deliberate and intentional attempt is made to provide a semblance of hope for those that may have wavered in their faith of its existence; and most importantly, in order to capture the notion that the walk may long, yet a victory is always on the horizon. This jubilant, up- beat song holds implications for Africans everywhere to wake up, stand tall, and never [again]  back down from facing the struggle because triumph is never too far off.  (Oh, “what a feeling to see a smile on the black face…throw your fist in the air!”)

“Never Again” is simultaneously a celebration, a motivation for continued fighting against the system of global oppression and, most of all, a proclamation that the people of Africa, whether they be on the continent or on the furthest corners of the planet, shall not  and will not tolerate a position on this Earth where the status “FREE” is not an option.

 

References

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/prophets-of-da-city-mn0000363945/biography

Morale:biography/review

Morale, born Thabo Malefane, is an award winning African hip hop artist from Soweto. Morale is the CEO of his record label Neo Shanty.enjoyed a Model C influenced upbringing. Morale began rapping over a decade and half ago in the early 90’s when sounds of Wu Tang, Mischief and the old Black Eye Peas was was popular within the American music industry. His rap style is poetic and sometimes intensely full of emotions as he tells stories of life, dreams and money through the eyes of a street narrator. The sound behind Morale is international and has an urban flare to it that keeps up with trends of current music styles. His delivery and vocals are of great quality. Like many other rappers Morale has an alter ego that captures certain expressions with oozing confidence. His music is good for radio, clubs, social events and theme music. Morale’s career began with a series of mix tapes in 2007 that later became a major competitor on the local hip hop scene. He won mix tape of the year in 2007 on Hype Magazine’s South Africa’s leading hip hop magazine.  He released his debut album “Rising Star” in 2008 and his sound became prominent on radio.  Morale founded Glitz Gang group in 2007 consisting of himself, Maggz, L-Tido and Sean Pages. His group became very popular in the urban scene, with appearances on Vuzu, SABC Live, MTV Base and Channel O. Morale has shown consistency through Glitz Gang and is now focusing on taking the brand Morale to greater heights. It’s been a few years and there has been a vast growth and achievements for Morale in the music industry. In 2011 the “rising star” signed for management with music mogul Vusi Leeuw, owner of H.U.G.E Entertainment and crafted his 2nd Album called “Smile Clap and Bow” backed by big name industry giants.