HHAP Episode 32: Wakazi Bringing Bilingual & Bicultural Elements to Tanzanian Hip-Hop Culture

Wakazi is a bilingual Tanzanian hip hop artist. He grew up in Dar es Salaam, but spent several years in the United States, where he was active in the Chicago hip hop scene. Like many MCs who spend several years abroad, when he returned to Tanzania he had to prove himself on the local scene. He was able to craft his brand, largely by harnessing the power of social media. In this interview, Wakazi talks about his experiences in Chicago, with the local hip hop scene and how his experiences there have impacted his career. He discusses his return to Tanzania, the reception he faced on his return, and how has managed to build his career. Wakazi, who is fluent in English and Swahili, also talks about multilingualism, and the use of other Tanzanian languages in hip hop. Wakazi also reflects on some of the struggles within the hip hop community, some of which he feels is largely due to a lack of mentorship by the first generation of Tanzanian hip hop artists. He also discusses perceptions & understandings of African American culture in Tanzania.

Wakazi’s music can be purchased on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wakazi/928220403
Nomadic Wax Super MC: https://nomadicwax.bandcamp.com/track/super-mc-v2

Wakazi is online at
Twitter @Wakazi: https://twitter.com/Wakazi
Facebook @wakazimusic: https://www.facebook.com/wakazimusic/
Instagram @wakazimusic: https://www.instagram.com/wakazimusic/
Youtube @wakazimusic: https://www.youtube.com/user/WakaziMusic

HHAP Episode 30: Hip Hop Producer Duke on Boombap & Hip Hop Production in Tanzania

This is an interview with Tanzanian hip hop producer Duke, founder of M Lab records, Tamaduni Muzik, and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). The interview is mostly in SWAHILI, but we switch back & forth a lot. The Hip Hop African podcast celebrates the various elements of hip hop, but this is our first interview with a hip hop producer.

Duke talks about how he became involved in hip hop in Tanzania, his involvement with the founding of Tamaduni Muzik and the Hip Hop Kilinge (cyphers) they used to host. These cyphers used to bring hundreds of youth from around Dar es Salaam to listen to the DJs, hear MC rhyme, participate in cyphers, buy hip hop fashion made by local artists. Duke also talks about issue of copyright and the art of sampling and the role of the producer in hip hop. We also discuss sounds, the role of the boom bap sound, as well as chopping up other sounds to create a unique sound that represents Tanzanian hip hop. He also talks about the top five artists outside of Tanzania that he would love to work with, as well the directions he sees hip hop in Tanzania going today.

Haya ni mahojiano na Duke, prodyuza wa muziki wa hip hop Tanzania, mwanzilishi wa M Lab Records, Tamaduni Muzik, na Hip Hop Kilinge (cypher). Mahojiano yako zaidi katika SWAHILI, lakini tumechanganya na English kidogo. The Hip Hop African Podast inawakilisha nguzo mbalimbali za hip hop, lakini haya ni mahojiano yetu ya kwanza na prodyuza wa hip hop.

Duke anazungumzia jinsi alivyohusika katika hip hop nchini Tanzania, kushiriki kwake na kuanzishwa kwa Tamaduni Muzik na Hip Hop Kilinge. Kwenye Kilinge, vijana vyengi kutoka Dar es Salaam walikuja kusikiliza muziki uliochezwa na DJs, kusikia sauti ya MC, kushiriki katika cyphers, kununua bidhaa za mitindo ya hip hop. Duke pia anazungumzia suala la hakimiliki na sanaa ya sampling na jukumu la prodyuza katika hip hop. Tulizungumzia pia sauti ya boom bap, na pia kuchop sauti nyingine ili kutengeneza sauti ya kipekee ambayo inawakilisha hip hop ya Tanzania. Pia anazungumzia kuhusu MCs watano wa nje ya Tanzania ambao angependa kufanya kazi nao. Pia tulizungumzia muelekeo wa Hiphop ya Tanzania katika nyakati hizi.

HHAP Episode 6: Kwanza Unit, Hip Hop, and Pan Africanism in Tanzania

This episode features a conversation with two hip hop pioneers from Tanzania, KBC & Zavara (aka Rhymson) from the group Kwanza Unit. The conversation discusses the early days of hip hop in Tanzania, the influence of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (Tanzania’s 1st President) on the social consciousness in Tanzanian hip hop, language and Kwanza Unit’s decision to begin performing in Swahili, the current state of hip hop in Tanzania, the relationship between artists and the national arts council and their policies around copyright and royalties.

Parts of the conversation are in Swahili. Non-Swahili speakers will be able to follow the conversation and attempts are made to summarize the Swahili portions into English.

Table of Contents

Podcast intro – :40

“Put Ya head Up” – 11:21

“Msafiri” – 14:40

Interview – 18:26

“Run Tings” – 1:37:35

“Check Navyo Flow” – 1:41:32

“So Why” – 1:45:35

Resources

Perullo, Alex. (2005). Hooligans and heroes: Youth identity and hip hop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Africa Today, 5 (4), 74-101.

Perullo, Alex. (2011). Live from Dar es Salaam: Popular Music and Tanzania’s Music Economy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Perullo, Alex. (2012). Imitation and innovation in the music, dress, and camps of Tanzanian youth. In Eric Charry (Ed), Hip Hop Africa: New Music in a Globalizing World (pp. 187-209). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Ntarangwi, Mwenda. (2009). East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization. University of Illinois Press.

Lemelle, Sidney J. “‘Ni wapi Tunakwenda’: Hip Hop Culture and the Children of Arusha”. In Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, (Eds). The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture (pp. 230-54). London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Pres

Casco, J. A. (2012). From Music to Politics: Hip Hop in Africa as a political option for the youth: the case of Tanzania. Youth and the city: expressive cultures, public space appropriation, and alternative political participation (pp. 1-18). Madrid: 8º Congreso Ibérico de Estudios Africanos.

Reuster-Jahn, Uta. (2014). Antivirus: The revolt of bongo flava artists against a media-and-entertainment empire in Tanzania. In Matthias Krings and Uta Reuster-Jahn (Eds), Bongo Media Worlds: Producing and Consuming Popular Culture in Dar es Salaam (43-78). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2012). Hip hop as social commentary in Accra and Dar es Salaam. African Studies Quarterly, 13 (3), 23 – 36. http://asq.africa.ufl.edu/files/Clark-V13Is3.pdf.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2013). The struggle for authenticity and against commercialization in Tanzania. Journal of Pan African Studies, 6 (3), 5-21. http://www.jpanafrican.com/vol6no3.htm.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). The role of new and social media in Tanzanian hip hop production. Les Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 216 (4), 1115-1136.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). Gendered representations among Tanzanian female emcees. In Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster (Eds), Ni Wakati: Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

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