In these two online videos, director Spike Jonze (director of Pharcyde's Drop video and films like Being John Malkovich) in his series of hanging out with celebrities, goes home with Afrikan Boy (of 'One day I went to Lidl' fame, see Africanhiphopradio.com) accompanied by British-Sri Lankan singer MIA who featured him on her new album.
We wouldn't be surprised if from now on, every Youtube hype will have its African version. Mass Dosage from Hiphop.co.za (and since last month: Last.fm) sent in this link which officially replaces 'Chop your dollar' as our favorite Nigerian comedy on Youtube.
Let's take a minute to remember Lucky Dube, the South African reggae singer whose lyrics may have touched more people across Africa than any politician ever did. The victim of a seemingly random hijacking attempt, Lucky Dube has fallen prey to the spiralling violence that affects the lives of both rich and poor in Johannesburg... Watch this video of 'House of exile', one of our alltime favorite African reggae songs.
Update: in this thread in the Forums, Emile YX (Black Noise) argues that we need to take action ourselves - are we all to blame for Lucky Dube's death?
If you have been frequenting this site over the past 7 years, you may have read about 'Hali Halisi - Rap as an alternative medium', a low-budget documentary on Tanzanian hip hop which we shot back in 1999 and released on VHS in 2000 through Madunia/Scherpenzeel foundation. Some people ordered copies and even more people mailed but never got a copy as we didn't have a proper distribution system in place. In 2004 we transferred the film to DVD, and it got picked up by several film festivals including H2O International Film Festival in New York which awarded it 'best short documentary' - the award was presented in the presence of pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa, Roxanne Shante and Kool Herc.
A time before Bongo Flava: revolutionary spirit
Seven years after the making, the documentary is a bit of a time warp into an era where Tanzanian hip hop was still mostly about a message, where the happy assembly line Bongo flava beats had not yet found their way into the charts and where commercialism was almost non existent. The popular artists at the time were strong believers in the coercing power of their lyrics, and they had a bit of revolutionary spirit about them. Their species has been marginalized in today's media scape; some emcees have quit the game while others have moved on to produce more commercial work.
'Hali Halisi' was among the first films to talk about the power of hip hop as a medium, even though artists have been using their art to educate the community since hip hop started out in the 1970's. This angle has since been recognized by NGO's, filmmakers and others exploring African hip hop. Director Martin Meulenberg initially wanted to make a film about 'muziki wa dansi', the Swahili pop music appreciated by the older generation of Tanzanians (parents to the hip hop generation). The muziki wa dansi artists used their lyrics in a similar way to 'edutain' the crowd.
To give everyone a chance to see this film, we have uploaded it - in three parts - to Youtube. Watch it, while keeping in mind that the film makers were constrained by budget, time (10 days of filming in Dar & Zanzibar) and the amount of artists that could be put in front of the camera. While some important names at the time are not present (such as Hard Blasters and Kwanza Unit), the film shows the majority of names that mattered at the time, including Gangwe Mobb (Inspekta Haruna), GWM (D-Chief & KR), Bantu Pound (Soggy Doggy, Snaz-T), Mr II aka 2Proud aka Sugu, Deplowmatz (Dola Soul aka Balozi & Saigon), Ras Pompidou, Abbas & Baraka (Underground Souls), X Plastaz & Fortune Tellers (Arusha), Sos B, P-Funk (Producer), Bad Gear (Coca Cola popstars), Mack D, Taji Liundi (ex Clouds/Mawingu), Cool Para (Zanzibar) and Sebastian Maganga (Uhuru FM).
In 1990, if you were serious about your hardcore hip hop then probably Dr. Alban, a Nigerian immigrant to Sweden who studied to be a dentist but became a hugely successful dance crossover pop artist, was not very high on your playlist. But looking back, his 'Hello Africa' track - which attacked charts worldwide - seems to bring back some memories of the good old days among many of us. Zuluboy even quoted the lyrics in our recent interview at Africanhiphopradio.com.
The melody and full lyrics might have slipped your mind but luckily there is Youtube (see the video below), and now last month the Helsinki, Finland based clothing brand CTRL even released a 'Hello Africa' tshirt. Seen for sale at Freshcotton.com (Netherlands) - or make your own!
As for Dr. Alban, he went on to score his biggest hit 'It's my life' in 1992 and is still active as an artist. He recently released a new album. There's even a track with Swahili lyrics provided by Chameleone, the Ugandan dancehall artist.
Our staff writer Mustafa Maluka is currently in New York and needless to say he had to test the all-new Iphone to see how Africanhiphop.com would render. Good news: we are Iphone proof (see photo)!
Now it will probably take another year or two before the Mac invention will be compatible with African networks, in the meantime our US visitors can spend their bandwidth on frequenting the site and forum. Did anyone listen to African hip hop radio through a mobile connection yet? Let us know...
Regular listeners may have wondered what Karim and Sphinx from Cairo, Egypt have been up to lately. If you didn't know: they are the presenters of the Arabic slot at African hip hop radio who have been involved since day one.
For a start, they have a new show coming up with the next radio update. Then, they were featured with their group Arabian Knightz in two forthcoming major movies shot in Egypt: 'Geneinat El Asmak' and 'Warayet shafra'. The first is by critically acclaimed director Yousry Nasrallah and will be shown internationally (apparently Canal Plus acquired the rights to broadcast). Arabian Knightz did a song for the soundtrack.
Have a look at the Youtube video below for a new promo done by Arabian Knightz.
You have landed at Africanhiphop.com, the foundation of African Hip Hop culture on the web. This site, originally called 'Rumba-Kali Home of Pan African Hip Hop' was initiated in February 1997 as a platform for information and discussion on hip hop from the African continent.