rap music


Monday, April 15th, 2013

Rapping Against Impunity

Senegal’s rapper-activists recently collaborated on a new single in support of Amnesty International’s campaign against impunity in the country. The human rights advocacy organization launched the campaign to draw attention to the fact that there has been no justice for those who died during the 12-year regime of former President Abdoulaye Wade especially during the

Monday, February 13th, 2012

When Rick Ross went to South Africa and Gabon

For some odd reason the latest issue of The New Yorker ran a profile of rapper Rick Ross. Lots of good, clever writing by Sasha Frere Jones on familiar controversies about Ross (for example, Frere Jones calls...

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The Nordic Connection

New music from Finland and Sweden.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Busted Rhymes

Gebaste Rhymes sent us a link to his single ‘Kaap issie Bom’ , the first single off One Day Vol. 1. The full album (or audio hip-hopumentary) will be out later in 2012...

Saturday, October 15th, 2011


Tonight, the Afrikaaps crew, the South African musical about the history of the Afrikaans language, dedicated their last show in Holland to slain rapper Mr Devious; Michael Miranda, Shaun Magmoed and Jonathan Claasen, the three youngsters who died...

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Fela Kuti meets De La Soul

What happens? An 8-track remix compiled from “… dozens of  hand-picked samples from the Nigerian instrumentalist and political figure Fela Kuti, and 8 carefully-chosen acapellas from the Native Tongue rap trio De La Soul” called Fela Soul. The...

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Angola: ’32 years is too much’

On Monday this week 17 people, including several journalists (some from the newspaper Jornal Novo), were arrested at the start of a demonstration, heavily monitored by police, in the Angolan capital, Luanda. As former BBC Angolan correspondent...

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Hip Hop is a Database

Friday, February 4th, 2011

New Video Blog: ‘What’s Up Africa’

The first weekly episode (posted on Fridays) of ‘creative Africa video blog,’ WHAT’S UP AFRICA, was posted online today. It’s the work of Radio Nederlands Worldwide Africa producer, Ikenna Azuike, who also presents. The producers are hyping...

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Bangs: A Fine Mess

Bangs, the Australian rapper of Sudanese descent, who has made mediocrity into an art form, makes a mess of Christmas. (By the way, if you blink, you might not notice that’s him riffing off Slick Rick’s “Children’s...

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

The Narcicyst

Live performance in Rennes, France, by the Dubai-born, Iraqi-Canadian rap MC, who is now a solo performer but for a while fronted the hip hop band, Euphrates. It is worth your 50 minutes. (BTW, Narcicyst...

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The Hardest Working Hip Hop Band

The Roots, “How I Got Over” . — Sean Jacobs

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Is Die Antwoord a form of Blackface?

First world hipster bloggers and music websites (with foreign correspondents' not far behind) are besides themselves about South African performers, Die Antwoord. Linking to them. Talking about their style. Good for them and Die Antwoord. But...

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Nas and Damian Marley Goes to Africa

I have blogged before about “Distant Relatives,” the collaboration between Nas and Damian Marley where they make explicit the connections African music and rap and reggae. Well, now two of the tracks off the forthcoming album have now...

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Corporate sponsored Pan-Africanism

Footage of rappers Ludacris and Busta Rhymes performing in Nigeria last December. The video was made by a member of Ludacris’ entourage. The corporate sponsored Pan-Africanism is something to behold.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

African Soldiers

OBC & Konkret 53 from Burkina Faso. Another Magee Films production.

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Mos Def and the Battle of Algiers

As usual I had Mos Def ‘s “The Ecstatic,” on repeat, especially the song “The Auditorium,” featuring Slick Rick.  I quickly recognized the beat for the song: Madlib’s “Beat Kondukta in India: Vol 3 &4.” But what’s...

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Afro Colombiano

One of my students (from Colombia) pointed me to these songs of the Colombian hip hop group,  Choquibtown, representing for Colombia’s large, but often marginalized and persecuted, African population. The song, above, is “Somos Pacifico”

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009


I am looking forward to the release of Nas and Damian Marley’s new project “Distant Relatives,” which deliberately highlights the African roots of hip hop and reggae. (They sample, among others, Fela Kuti; on the MySpace Page...

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Video Evidence: Swahili heard on BET

… And it was not on a program about wildlife. BET, the American music and reality TV channel is not usually associated with cosmopolitanism, so when the Tanzanian rapper, Gsan (from the legendary crew, XPlastaz), turned up...

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009


The new video (posted on Youtube last week) for “Camago,” the first single off the Cape Town hip hop group‘s new album, “Igqabhukil’ Inyongo.” The song, in Xhosa, is “… about the importance of respecting and celebrating...

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Wonder what happened to Vanilla Ice after the reality TV shows stopped calling. He is making TV commercials for South African beer monopoly, SAB-Miller. Hilarity ensues. Ice Ice Baby. HT: Jonathan Faull

Saturday, September 5th, 2009


I have been meaning to post this tune for a while now: DC rapper, Wale (who never forgets to rep his Nigerian immigrant roots, like here and 2:30 into a video here) , remixes the West African...

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


The film (see the trailer here), which traces the evolution of Senegalese hip hop, will have a short run at Maysles Cinema in Harlem, September 23-27, 2009, on Malcolm X Boulevard, nightly at 7pm.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Murs dropping “the science”

Music break from my favorite track of LA rapper Murs. Here‘s a transcript of the song’s lyrics.

Thursday, August 13th, 2009


Ugandan hip hop artist Babaluka, who is part of the Bataka Squad Crew (Babaluka was also featured in the documentary “Diamonds in the Rough” about Ugandan hip hop) performs the song “Obontubulamu.” The video is...