Takun J, the leading proponent of the Liberian music genre, breaks down its essence for a group of visiting journalism students from Syracuse University.
* I would also suggest reading Boima’s account of the social impact of hipco. Here’s an excerpt:
Despite Hipco’s activist potential, it has not yet been able to exploit its positive social influence to the fullest. While it is helping to define a new national identity for an entire generation of young Liberians, the economics of the industry are still entrenched in the same old patronage systems. While home studios have allowed artists to record independently, CDs and tapes still dominate the market, as opposed to Ghana, where the MP3 is the most common currency, and one company holds a monopoly on the manufacture and distribution of CDs and tapes. A political system that has traditionally kept many Liberians from forming local businesses combined with the growing problem of local piracy has made independent music a risky enterprise. Cellcom, one of the only local corporations, does sponsor events, but they seem to be the only ones doing so. Other locally operating corporations like Firestone, Chevron, and various mining companies are foreign entities, who don’t tend to have much interest in connecting with local youth. As a result, the only way for many artists to make a living is through sponsorship by politicians or foreign businesses.