When the East is in the House…

Always wanted to hear the classic Blahzay Blahzay song “Danger” in a hip-hop track from East Africa. This is a video of images and footage of East African hip hop artists (Tanzania, Uganda, & Kenya) with “Danger” playing in the background.

HHAP Episode 4: Hustlajay Mau Mau and Conscious Hip Hop in East Africa

This episode features a conversation with Kenyan hip hop artist Hustlajay Mau Mau. A conscious hip hop artists from Mombasa, Kenya who is part of an informal collective of conscious hip hop artists in East Africa. These artists, based in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya; in Kampala, Uganda; and in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Tanzania continue to build on more than a decade of East African collaborations, forming grassroots organizing collectives and working on hip hop based initiatives that work with youth in those areas.

Hustlajay Mau Mau’s info

Website: http://www.hustlajay.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/hustlajaymaumau

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Hustlajay

Twitter: @hustlajaymaumau

 

photo

This episode features a conversation with Kenyan hip hop artist Hustlajay Mau Mau. A conscious hip hop artists from Mombasa, Kenya who is part of an informal collective of conscious hip hop artists in East Africa. These artists, based in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya; in Kampala, Uganda; and in Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Tanzania continue to build on more than a decade of East African collaborations, forming grassroots organizing collectives and working on hip hop based initiatives that work with youth in those areas.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 4: Hustlajay Mau Mau and Conscious Hip Hop in East Africa”

Journal of Pan African Studies: Hip Hop in Africa

I’ve recently edited a special edition of the Journal of Pan African Studies on hip hop in Africa. With articles by myself and a diversity of other scholars writing on Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

● The Struggle for Hip Hop Authenticity and Against Commercialization in Tanzania  by Msia Kibona Clark

● Urban Guerrilla Poetry: The Movement Y’ en a Marre and the Socio-Political Influences of Hip Hop in Senegal by Marame Gueye

● “Chant Down the System ‘till Babylon Falls”: The Political Dimensions of Underground Hip Hop and Urban Grooves in Zimbabwe by Katja Kellerer

● From Compton to Cape Town: Black(faceless)ness and the Appropriation of Gangsta Rap in Die Antwoord’s “Fok Julle Naaiers” by Lanisa Kitchiner

The Hip Hop Revolution in Kenya: Ukoo Flani Mau Mau, Youth Politics and Memory, 1990-2012 by Mickie Mwanzia Koster

● Swag’ and ‘cred’: Representing Hip-hop in the African City by Caroline Mos

● Hip Hop Music as a Youth Medium for Cultural Struggle in Zanzibar by Shani Omari

● Troubling the Trope of “Rapper as Modern Griot” by Damon Sajnani

● “The Blueprint: The Gift and The Curse” of American Hip Hop Culture for Nigeria’s Millennial Youth by Stephanie Shonekan

Check out the issue: http://www.jpanafrican.org/archive_issues/vol6no3.htm
Cover photo is Thiat from the Senegalese group Keur Gui performing at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival. Photo by Msia Kibona Clark. jc_vol6no3_big

Kalamashaka

Kalamashaka is a hip hop group from Nairobi, Kenya. They become extremely popular with their song, “Tafsiri Hii“, and have made Swahili hip-hop become mainstream in Kenya. Their lyrics are written in Kiswahili and the group have shown themselves to be very socially and politically conscious. They have influenced many artists such as Gidi Gidi Maji Maji and K-South. They have also encouraged many young people from Nairobi to start their own rap groups. Many of the group’s songs are not even played on the radio in Kenya because of their criticisms of the government, but this did not stop them from becoming more popular than artists who were played on the radio. Kalamashaka have also worked with other rap groups in Kenya and released songs discussing their repressive government and other issues that the youth face.

Ukoo Flani Mau Mau

 

Hailing primarily out of the streets of Nairobi, Kenya but also Mombasa, Keny and even Tanzania are Ukoo Flani Mau Mau. They are a well molded collective, with a power and uniqueness and flavor that could only come from so many unique backgrounds uniting with a message under the banner of hip hop. 24 members at the moment make up the crew and their name deserves attention. It is an acronym for “a clan of Mau Mau” who reference is the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya from 1952-1960 by anti-colonial fighters against the British following  severe violent repression and economic deprivation. After years of struggle with mass murder and human rights violations by the British, the Mau Mau are revered as revolutionaries who paved the way to independence. So Ukoo Flani consist of K-Shaka, Wenyeji, Wakamba Wawili, MC Kah, Mashifta, G-rongi, Ukoo Flani (MSA:-Nguchi P, Chiznbrain, Alai Kenti, Sharama, P.O.P, Lavosti, FUJO Makelele, Cannibal, R.I.C aka Jinamizi, Labalaa, Dr. Dunga, And me DEE7 representing TANZANIA, Richizee, Shaolin aka Grand Mantis, and others. “The name UKOOFLANI is an acronym that reads Upendo Kote Olewenu Ombeni Funzo La Aliyetuumba Njia Iwepo, i.e. love everywhere all who seek teachings of the creator; there is a way.” Also according to their face book, “The objectives of the group are quality enhancement to enable hiphop to be the language to pass the real/true message to society. Through enlightening people on the economic prospects of hiphop they’d like to prove its viability as a business and a way to sustain an income for fellow youth from disadvantaged backrounds. UFMM believe hiphop is a tested and proven way out of the ghetto because it has been their rehabilitation. Each member has a story to tell about how hiphop changed their lives into artistic superiority. Coming from an environment where its an achievement to see the age of 25, and where an average person earns less than $1 a day; UFMM happily prove that with wit, clever poetry, leadership, wisdom and love, one can control their destiny.”
Now, Im not sold on that the solution to poverty in Kenya being hip hop but it certainly will be involved. The youth talk about the harsh realities on the streets and life in ghettos. They take political ideologies from revolutionaries throughout history to include Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the hard hitting “Burn Dem.” They even use actual footage of the uprising and the British crack-down in the beautiful song “Angalia Saa.”

 

“Burn Dem” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcRd4IZH0hw
“Angalia Saa” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqARPgKnTnE&feature=fvwrel
Hip Hop Halisi” Ft Nazizi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpijF6Prqlc&feature=related
“Ukoochonoo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnhDNPPMX1o&feature=related
“Ghetto Fabulus” Ft Sister Sllage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myY1WAJlpLg&feature=related

Kalamashaka

Kalamashaka a.k.a. K-Shaka consist of three members and are credited with starting the Ukoo Flani Mau Mau. They are Oteraw, Kama and Johny and they started in the 1990s and have generated a wide base in Kenya and even other countries around Africa and the world despite getting little to no radio play or popular media help in getting out there. Their politically and socially conscious lyrics as well as the ideologies of the people they reference and aspire to are fed flags in pop culture and are actively suppressed. However K-Shaka has reached their audience in the hoods they themselves came from and more than here to stay, are putting out their own new work as well as building and facilitating hip hop as an engine for social change, education and opportunity with groups like Ukoo Flani and artisits like Nazizi. Notable of their collaborations is one with M1 from Dead Prez, and Umi POW in the song “Red Black and Green” which is definetly worth listening to so try the download below. In it they explain Red is for the Mau Mau, and Black is for the Panthers and the connections to the struggle are what fuel their music. They continue to stay true to hip hop and are influencing a whole new generation of Kenyans who would all benefit with access to their non-commercialized sound.

“Red, Black and Green” http://bombmp3.me/download.php?mp3_id=4450472&title=jamhuri+Wear+-+Red+Black+and+Green-+Kalamashaka+feat+M1+Dead+Prez%252C+Umi+POW
“Angalia Saa” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2iEVrS1qng&feature=related
“Fanya Mambo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47QTyAr-JDo&feature=related
“Haraka Haraka” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3aULB_nE8&feature=related