The Battle Between Hip-Hop & Pop

Our assignment was to find one hip-hop artist and one pop artist from Africa and compare their videos based on style and lyrics. I chose to look at South African hip-hop artist Kiernan Forbes, better known as AKA. In contrast, I chose to look at Nigerian pop artist Yemi Alade. After watching more than one video from both artists, I decided to analyze AKA’s “Bang” and Yemi Alade’s “Tumbum”. Both artists are extremely talented, but you could see distinct differences in their styles and lyrics which groups them in their categories of pop and hip-hop.

AKA’s “Bang” has an old school hip-hop beat with a feature from South African artist Khuli Chana. One of the first things I noticed about AKA is that although a South African artist, he raps mainly in English. I was expecting him to incorporate the South African culture into his lyrics more either by using the slang or having an accent as he rhymes. If you listen to him without watching the video or doing any research, you would believe he was an American hip-hop artist. The first thing I thought when watching the “Bang” music video was that he reminded me of Drake.  To me, you can see through the music video how American hip hop has influenced him. For one, his music video is very flashy and incorporates brands similar to that of America hip-hop videos. In the video, he’s driving in the car with his friends in a BMW. Many brands and corporations will implement themselves into hip-hop videos as a way of promotion in American videos. BMW being the signature car in this video shows that same promotion being used with African hip-hop as well. Another item I noticed is that although from South Africa, he’s not wearing any traditional African attire. He’s wearing Western clothes and has shades on which is typical of American hip-hop artists to wear shades in music videos. Lyrically, “Bang” is not a political song. Hip-hop is known for being an art form that uses daily life struggles to speak to the masses. “Bang” does not demonstrate any political or social consciousness, but it is just a feel good song. Despite not having meaningful lyrics, AKA does display the beauty of Africa in his music video paying homage to Africa. Also, AKA featuring artist Khuli Chana is also another way of paying homage to South Africa by incorporating another South African artist in his music.

Yemi Alade’s “Tumbum” is a pop song that infuses African culture. For me, although unable to understand and keep up with most of the lyrics, the song allows you to disregard that aspect due to the beat and makes you want to dance. The beat is fast paced incorporating African drums that automatically makes you want to dance. Generally, pop lyrics are not meaningful lyrically, but are what is considered “feel good,” dance songs. “Tumbum” exemplifies this exact aspect and the addition of a lot of dancing in her video places it in the category of pop. Pop videos typically incorporate more high-energy and dancing in music videos as opposed to hip-hop artists. Yemi Alade also did a better job than AKA with incorporating African culture. From the attire, song title, dancing, and more the video is reflective of Africa and her Nigerian roots. In all of her videos, Yemi Alade never fails to incorporate where she came from whether it be lyrically or in her music videos. By using an uptempo beat and fun lyrics, I can easily see how Yemi Alade is a force to be reckon with in the pop music scene.





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