Hip Hop African Podcast

Department of African Studies, Howard University

The podcast is the longest-running podcast on African Hip Hop culture. It features discussions on African Hip Hop music & culture from around the continent and the Diaspora. The podcast is produced in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. You can access the podcast at www.hiphopafrican.com and on all major podcast platforms. read less
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Episodes

HHAP Ep. 85: Police Brutality in France, Democracy in Dakar, and Hip-Hop’s 50th 
11-07-2023
HHAP Ep. 85: Police Brutality in France, Democracy in Dakar, and Hip-Hop’s 50th
Events discussed in the episode August 10 & 11 | Hip-Hop 50: Past, Present & Future | Howard University Join us for a dynamic fusion of academic discourse and cultural celebration. Engage with renowned scholars, influential artists, and passionate enthusiasts as we explore the multifaceted dimensions of Hip Hop’s impact on society, music, fashion, and activism. Delve into thought-provoking panel discussions, captivating performances, and interactive workshops. Uncover the intricate narratives that shape the genre’s past, present, and future. From breakdancing to lyricism, graffiti to social justice, this conference is a platform for understanding Hip Hop culture like never before. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating opportunity at Howard University! August 11, 2023 | Hip-Hop 50 Live | Bronx, New York “Co-produced by Live Nation, Mass Appeal and Yankee Stadium, Hip-Hop 50 Live will celebrate the genre’s 50th birthday in The Bronx this August.” August 11, 2023 | The Block Party for Hip Hop 50 | Nairobi, Kenya August 11th 1973 is a historic date in the Hip Hop community & as 2023 marks 50 years of this global cultural phenomenon, tuko na form! On August 11th, UnKut Africa presents The Block Party (Hip Hop 50 Edition). August 12, 2023 | NMAAHC Hip-Hop Block Party | Washington, DC “The Hip-Hop Block Party returns to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, celebrating the culture and music that has been originated and shaped by Black America for decades. This year’s celebration will honor 50 years of hip-hop’s artistry, innovation, and global transcendence.   The 2023 Hip-Hop Block Party will feature multi-generational performances by some of hip-hop’s most influential DJs, artists, and cultural influencers. Attendees will also be able to participate in interactive activities, such as graffiti art, breakdancing and more. There will also be hip-hop-focused tours of NMAAHC’s renowned galleries, revealing the genre’s connection to centuries-old improvisation and social-consciousness traditions.” October 8-14 | Chattanooga Hip Hop Week | Chattanooga, TN The fourth annual Chattanooga Hip-Hop Summit is a conference that celebrates Chattanooga Hip-Hop culture through an entrepreneurial lens and is primarily a Black-led initiative serving majority Black communities in Chattanooga and the Southeastern United States. Our aim is to: (1) bring in industry experts to help educate local and regional artists and those in the hip-hop industry, (2) highlight the talents of our local artists, and (3) bring hip-hop to the forefront of our community as a legitimate industry or career path. October 14-17, 2023 | Freestyle Lab: NYC | New York Freestyle Lab by WorldStrides is a weekend of workshops and rehearsals with featured artists in the hip-hop industry. You will then perform on two of the most famous stages in the world—The Apollo Theatre and Carnegie Hall! This experience goes beyond the beat to immerse you in this American art form with a story as powerful as its sound. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop in its birthplace, New York City, with hands-on, icon-led instruction that culminates in a legendary performance onstage at Carnegie Hall exploring the evolution of hip-hop. November 8-10th | Global Conference on Hip-Hop Education | Los Angeles, CA The 2023 Global Conference on Hip Hop Education will expand upon our previous theme, which focused on the foundation of the culture and explore how this culture both migrated out of New York to states like California (i.e. the Golden State), and into popular culture and academia in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. Our conference theme “From the Golden Era to the Golden State,” will guide us as we explore the foundation of this culture, understand what brought about an increase in cultural diffusion, and how lessons learned from the golden era can inform current pedagogies, interventions, research, scholarship, and practices.
HHAP Ep. 84: A Conversation with M.I. Abaga on Integrity and Longevity in Hip Hop
01-06-2023
HHAP Ep. 84: A Conversation with M.I. Abaga on Integrity and Longevity in Hip Hop
Understanding the World of HipHop and Afrobeats with legendary Nigerian Hip Hop artist M.I. Abaga Jude Lemfani Abaga, also known as M.I. Abaga He is a Nigerian rapper, songwriter, and music producer. He was born originally in Jos, Northern Nigeria, and released his debut album in 2008. He was the CEO of the label Chocolate City from 2015 to 2019 and then started his label in 2020 with incredible music. Before getting into the music industry, he studied in the U.S. for a while, then came back to Nigeria and got his music career launched in 2003. “Hip-hop, as an art form, requires integrity for you to be respected.” - M.I. Abaga He has received several music awards, including the MTV Africa Music Awards and BET Awards. He is also involved in different initiatives to bring about social and political change in Nigeria; he was declared the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador against the smuggling of migrants in 2012. In his role, he was charged with speaking out on and drawing attention to the smuggling issue in Nigeria’s most recent election; his organization TASCK, a creative agency in the last general elections launched a campaign encouraging people to vote. Having been in the industry for over two decades, M.I. has nuggets of wisdom to share with people in or who are eyeing the music industry. He believes that all upcoming artists should not limit themselves to one genre of music but should instead try different things to find out what they are most comfortable with. “Every artist has to pick their point, be true to it, and make a case.” - M.I. Abaga In this episode, M.I. takes us through his music career journey. From how he got into the industry, the challenges he has encountered, how he is mentoring young talents, his experience working with other artists, to his relationship with Afrobeats. He will also enlighten us on the tension between success and integrity for artists. Where do they draw the line? M.I. is on a mission to solve a big problem in Africa. He is working towards ensuring that creatives starting their careers don’t have to go through traumatic experiences. Through his agency, he is offering them support and infrastructure to help them build sustainable businesses for them from the onset. Listen to learn more from MI. “The goal is not to attempt to be perfect. The goal is to attempt to create with integrity, trust and know, and when you get feedback that doesn’t agree, learn, and grow.” - M.I. Abaga M.I.’s Socials https://twitter.com/MI_Abaga https://www.instagram.com/mi_abaga/ https://www.youtube.com/user/mrincrediblemi https://www.facebook.com/miabaga001 Key Talking Points of the Episode: [05:48] MI’s career trajectory [07:58] The power of being a veteran artist [12:41] The undeniable shift in the music industry [13:23] Introspection through experience and loss [18:27] M.I.’s first album [25:25] Why is it important for M.I. to help other artists? [38:22] M.I.’s relationship with Afrobeats as a genre [43:46] The tension between success and integrity as artists [50:20] What is M.I. working on currently?
HHAP Ep 79: Hip-Hop culture as a space where Black identities are negotiated and presented
07-01-2023
HHAP Ep 79: Hip-Hop culture as a space where Black identities are negotiated and presented
The first episode of 2023 is a special episode on hip-hop as a cultural space where Black identities can be negotiated and presented. The research project was part of a larger seminar project with the University of Maryland College Park on African/Black Diaspora Studies. The larger project was funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The overall project focused on: “the dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender, and interactions between and among first and second-generation African diaspora immigrants and native-born African Americans in the U.S.” My project explores representations of Black identities and shared experiences by African hip-hop artists in the US. The initial objective was to examine the music of 2nd generation African artists in America to understand how they Represent Black identities Discuss shared experiences Represent Africa This was done via a content analysis of their songs & interviews. The artists could be classified as Millennials and Generation Z artists. The music of these artists differed from the music produced by 1st generation African hip-hop artists. The early 2000s saw a small group of hip-hop artists who had all migrated to the US around the same time, usually for college, and would find varying degrees of success. Some of these artists stayed in the U.S., and others migrated home. Their presence was followed by an increase in African music on mainstream platforms, & collaborations between artists of 1st or 2gen African ancestry and artists of multi-generation African ancestry (African Americans). Hip-hop’s structure as a genre that is largely autobiographical lends itself to being a conduit for meaningful conversations around race, gender, sexuality, & politics. These artists were nuanced in their coverage of topics of immediate concern to other African & diaspora communities. We saw the articulation of African American & African connections among several African hip-hop artists who came to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Interestingly, many of those artists were Ghanaian. Artists like Blitz (the Ambassador) Bazawule, Wanlov the Kubolor, M3nsa, Minista of Agrikulcha, & M.anifest all arrived from a country whose place in Pan-African history had been well established. “In our simplicity we are elegant/so to us your coat and tie are irrelevant/give up my culture for your religion?, I can’t” Wanlov the Kubolor, “Gentleman” Other artists like, K’naan (Somalia), Krukid/Ruyonga (Uganda), and Shad (Kenya) also would speak to those connections. These artists may have impacted the growth of African music in the US. This growth led to the emergence of afrobeats artists like Davido, Burna Boy, Shatta Wale, & others. In looking at 2nd generation African artists, I identified 583 songs by 10 Millenial and Generation Z artists. Again, I wanted to find representations of Black identities, African identities, and shared experiences between Africans and African Americans. The artists were: Nipsey Hussle (1985): Los Angeles/African American and Eritrean parents Lola Monroe (1986): Washington, DC/Ethiopia Bas (1987): New York/Paris/Sudan Maxo Kream (1990): Houston/Nigeria Wale (1984): Washington, DC/Nigeria Amine (1994): Portland/Eritrea & Ethiopia Chika (1997): Montgomery (Alabama)/Nigeria Doja Cat (1995): Los Angeles/American and South African parents Earl Sweatshirt (1994): Chicago & Los Angeles/African American and South African parents Thutmose (1995): New York/Nigeria In the review of over 500 songs, very few had any references to African identities or shared experiences. Notable exceptions include Wale’s “My Sweetie” and Amine’s “Roots” During the research, it became clear that there needed to be a more global consideration of what African hip-hop artists are saying. There are artists in other parts of the Diaspora, especially in England, France, and Australia and they complicate Black identities even further. A more global perspective on Black identities helps us to fully understand hip hop’s role in shifting conversations around identity. Some of the European artists studied include. Sefyu (1981) France/Senegal Shay (1990) Belgium/Congo Bree Runway (1992) UK/Ghana Stormzy (1993) UK/Ghana Niska (1994) France/Congo Enny (1994) UK/Nigeria Little Simz (1994) UK/Nigeria Shaybo (1996) UK/Nigeria J Hus (1996) UK/The Gambia The songs played in this episode are “My Sweetie” by Wale “Roots” by Amine “I Want” by Enny “Woman” by Little Simz “En noir et blanc” by Sefyu “Gentleman” by M.anifest and Wanlov the Kubolor “Dollar & a Dream” by Blitz the Ambassador
HHAP Ep78: Eavesdrop on Cultivating Spaces for Authenticity in Hip-Hop
03-10-2022
HHAP Ep78: Eavesdrop on Cultivating Spaces for Authenticity in Hip-Hop
Eavesdrop is a multi-hyphenate artist who is an MC, a producer, a director, and an actor. She has been active in Cape Town’s Hip-Hop scene for almost 2 decades and as a lyricist she often produces meaningful lyrics, expressing ideas that have depth. In this interview, we had an important conversation with Eavesdrop about the importance of representation and authenticity. We talked honestly about sometimes feeling conflicted on how best to support younger artists, especially women. Strength and confidence are a prerequisite for being a Hip-Hop artist, and we reflect on how to support other women while encouraging them to rely on their own strength and confidence to excel. “If you need me to hold this door open for you, how are you going to learn the weight of this door?” Eavesdrop We also discuss South Africa’s political history and how that influences the presence and participation of women in Hip-Hop. Eavesdrop introduces us to the concept of “imbokodo” (“rock” in Zulu”), which emerged during the anti-apartheid movement. A common chant during the movement was “Wathint’abafazi, wathint’imbokodo!” (“You strike women, you strike a rock!”). “As an MC you’re seen as imbokodo, you’re seen as that rock, you’re seen as that pillar, and you are somehow helping to preserve that legacy that your country is known for … for its strong women” Eavesdrop We also talk about the cost of authenticity. Eavesdrop says that being authentic to yourself as an artist is freedom. It often does not mean wealth, but it does mean freedom. In an industry where some equate talent and success with material things, placing higher importance on wealth than on the actual art or the message, Eavesdrop reflects on the importance of being her authentic self “When you live in the ghetto, your TV is never off… It’s just constantly running a program on you.. we have a lot of work to do in terms of rewriting that code” Eavesdrop