Soulja Boy takes on Joseph Kony

It has come to this. Musicians, especially rappers, had to wade in on the American social media campaign to "Make Kony Famous."

Soulja Boy.

Like everyone else who is an instant expert on Uganda, rappers were quick to declare themselves on board with #Kony2012. (African musicians who were quick to uncritically post (their approval of) #Kony2012 were electro rapper and and a favorite of this site, Spoek Mathambo (who has since deleted his support), The Very Best (same like Spoek), and other South Africans like Gazelle and Van Coke Cartel, who still support #Kony2012.)

But some have taken it further, setting their admiration to music. They had to release songs (isn’t it too early?). You can imagine the deep thoughts that took a whole 72 hours (at best) to be formulated. It’s like a hot take. I woke up this morning to learn that Soulja Boy, who likes a fight (his last adversary was 80s rapper and now actor, Ice T), has thrown in his lot with Invisible Children and wants to “Stop Kony” (H/T: Palika Makam).

If you want to be tortured, go listen here.

Hilarious and embarrassing. This is not even a song. It’s like a monologue set to some vague drum beat. And he drops the word “swag” a few times.

Even more perplexing: why any other musician would want to rap to such dead lyrics or music. But Soulja Boy’s music has been used in the past by other musicians (yes, clearly not by him) to comment on war (that time, it was on child soldiers in Sierra Leone).

As I argued before, I don’t have much time for the phenomenon that is Soulja Boy and his nonsensical lyrics. Like in “Turn My Swag On.” But a German group, Die Orsons, took the song, slowed it down, gave it a acoustic feel, worked in some images from a short film, some CNN audio, an interview with former child soldier Ismael Beah, and made it into a protest/PR for a campaign about ending the participation of children in wars.

But back to the present.

Another rapper, Mistah F.A.B., has also made a Joseph Kony song (“Kony Freestyle”). He has better beats than Soulja, and at least his rhymes go with the music and combines it with some geopolitics  (“it’s all a Government ploy to get oil out of Uganda”). Listen here.

Further Reading

The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Āfrīqāyī

It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.

Defying defeat

Political prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s collection of writings are a powerful and evocative reminder that democracy in Egypt remains a bleak prospect.