The podcast features discussions on African hip hop music & culture. The podcast is produced & hosted by Msia Kibona Clark and students in the Department of African Studies at Howard University and students in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. You can access all of our podcasts and blog posts on hip hop in Africa at www.hiphopafrican.com.
HHAP EP. 64: Minista of Agrikulcha (MOA) on the African presence in U.S. hip hop
This episode features a conversation with Ghana's Minista of Agrikulcha (MOA). The multilingual, transnational MOA was born in Ghana, but lived in the Ivory Coast for several years. In the Ivory Coast he was part of that country's hip hop scene in the 1980s and 1990s. He moved to the US for college in the early 2000s, where he got involved in the undergraduate rap scene. He released his first album, Travelwyze in 2004, as a member of the rap duo Ambassadoz with fellow member Akan.
In this interview, we talked about his experience in the U.S., especially in the early 2000s when there were several Ghanaian MCs in the US at the same time. We talked about his experience in the industry and his work with Nomadic Wax and his past appearances at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival. We also spoke about the importance of language and incorporating different languages in his lyrics. We also touched out the influence of African MCs in US hip hop.
MOA is on IG at https://www.instagram.com/the.official.moa/
The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube ChannelContinue reading
HHAP EP. 63: Gigi Lamayne on Representation & Dismantling Respectability Politics
This is the first in a special series of episodes being recorded lives with African Studies students at Howard University and George Washington University. The series is co-hosted with Words Beas & Life, who is also live-streaming the episodes on their Facebook page (facebok.com/wordsbeatslife) on Wednesday nights at 5pm EST. The schedule is on our website at hiphopafrican.com.
A part of the “born free” generation, Gigi Lamayne grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa after the fall of apartheid. She graduated from Wits University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media and Anthropology in the midst of the #FeesMustFall movement. Rapping since high school, she released the powerful track “Fees Will Fall” just months after graduation. Considered one of South Africa’s best lyricists, her music addresses topics like Black pride, gender-based violence, feminism, sexism, and the shadiness within the music industry. We first interviewed Gigi Lamayne in 2017. She has continued to find mainstream success while addressing serious topics in some of her songs. In the conversation, she talks about her career, her views on the resilience and activism of South African women, race in South Africa, the relationships between women in the industry, and the stigmas and views around mental health in Africa.
The video version of this and other episodes are on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC43HnRR6MNq5DePBVKZZ7LQ
HHAP Ep. 62: Sensai T8 and The HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights Podcast
HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was a radio show first produced on the campus of Rhodes University in South Africa in 1999, and made available on podcasting platforms in 2006. The podcast ran for about three years, releasing more than 20 episodes, some of which can still be heard on Podomatic. HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights was the first regularly produced podcast on African hip hop. The show was the only place to get a variety of music from MCs across Africa, featuring early music from artists like Blitz the Ambassador, HHP, K’Naan, M.anifest, Modenine, and Yugen Blakrok. The show was also pioneering in that it played hip hop from all over Africa, from major hip hop scenes like South Africa to lesser-known hip hop scenes like Equatorial Guinea. The show was on podcasting platforms before most hip hop artists in Africa had a solid social media presence, and before podcasting became part of hip hop culture. While today there are streaming services, like Planet Earth Planet Rap (PEPR) Radio, there is still a void in terms of podcasts one can download to hear what’s happening with hip hop across Africa. In this episode I talk to Sensai T8, one of the founders of HIPHOCALYPSE Fort-Knights, about the show’s start and its evolution into a podcast. We discuss some of the artists that appeared on the show’s playlist, and the show’s legacy in documenting African hip hop during that period in time.
Sensai T8 can be found on Instagram at @Sensaitate
The podcast can be found at hiphocalypse.podomatic.com Continue reading
HHAP Ep. 61: An African Hip Hop Palaver
In this palaver, we have a lively chat with Ghanaian hip hop/hiplife scholar Dr. Nii Kotei Nikoi. We talked about the hiplife and hip hop music industry in Ghana, especially one of the country's most popular artist's Sarkodie. Nii discusses the structure of Ghana's music industry, the way artists construct their images, and the role of class (and language) in Ghana's popular music scene. We also get into an interesting conversation around collaborations between African and Diaspora artists in Beyonce’s Black is King project and the depictions of Africa in the Black Panther film.
Nii Kotei Nikoi is an assistant professor of Global Media and Digital Studies at The College of Wooster in Ohio. He studies African popular culture, and has a special focus on how popular culture reinforces and challenges existing ideas around race, gender, and sexuality. His work is influenced by his background in graphic design and documentary photography. Currently, his research examines development discourse in Ghanaian popular culture.
Check out his latest article, "Hiplife Music in Ghana: Postcolonial Performances of the Good Life." in the International Journal of Communication 14 (2020): 19.
He also hosts the podcast Our Culture. Season 1 of the podcast includes on several reflections on a range of topics.
1:50 The performance of material success in popular music in Ghana
8:08 The popular use of Ghanaian languages and clothing in the Ghanaian music scene
15:00 An analysis of the class divides and language choices in the beef between Sarkodie and M.anifest
26:20 The participation of women in hiplife
33:17 African scholars doing (hip hop) research at home
48:03 I try to get Nii to take the bait and engage in the discussion on Nigerians “borrowing” music from Ghana
52:52 Beyonce & the collaboration with African artists on the Black is King project
1:03:03 Black Panther & the homogenization of Africa, and the presence of Africa film industry in generalContinue reading
HHAP Episode 60: The Dope Saint Jude Episode
Dope Saint Jude is a South African hip hop artist who was born and raised Cape Town. A former Political Science student at the University of Cape Town, she started her hip hop career in 2011 as a drag king. Her drag king persona was Saint Dude, and resembled rapper Lil Wayne. After releasing several singles, Dope Saint Jude’s first EP, Reimagine, was released in 2016, Her second project, Resilient, was released in 2018. It included the song "Grrrl Like”, which opens this episode and has been one of her biggest hits. The song was also featured in the teaser for the Netflix original series Blood & Water https://youtu.be/OV9Ma4F_xyA. Dope Saint Jude has also performed at Afropunk, been featured in Vogue & Marie Claire, and been part of major advertising campaigns.
In this conversation we discuss the social relevance of her music. Well versed in the politics of intersectionality, Dope Saint Jude is very intentional in what she does. In her music she weaves intersecting identities into lyrics that challenge listeners to reconsider their ideas about who they think Black, Coloured, queer South African hip hop women should be.
You can find Dope Saint Jude's music on streaming platforms. She is also online at dopesaintjude.com, twitter.com/DopeSaintJude, instagram.com/dopesaintjude, and youtube.com/channel/UCdGiyFXiSgtTCXu1AGUeK3A.
For more scholarship on Dope Saint Jude's work:
Chapters 24 "Queering Hip Hop, queering the city: Dope Saint Jude’s transformative politics" by Adam Haupt and 29 "Building an international profile as an artist" by Dope Saint Jude, Blaq Pearl, Black Athena, Jean-Pierre, Lyrical Deezy with Emile YX? in Haupt, Adam, Williams, Quentin, Alim, Samy H., Jansen, Emile. (2019).
Clark, Msia Kibona. (2018). Feminisms in African hip hop. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 17 (2), 383-400.Continue reading
HHAP EPISODE 59: Moonaya on Dakar’s hip hop collectives, hip hop Pan Africanism, & Western imperialism in Africa.
Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.
Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in "Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.
Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.
"We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!"
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.
We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.
Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.
To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great hip hop
This is a great podcast to hear different music!!!
Informative. Lots of different African artists are included.