New Orleans hip-hop bounces across the Atlantic and connects resistive powers – Via Nola Vie
In the decades after independence, black diasporic music provided young Ghanaians with a symbolic language to see themselves as modern and removed from the colonial legacies of older expressive forms. Throughout the s and s, African American soul and rhythm and blues music as well as Afro-Caribbean reggae and dancehall were popular in Ghana and other parts of Africa.
American records and magazines circulated widely among the youth. Popular local highlife guitar bands and concert party theater troupes, such as the Jaguar Jokers, covered songs like "I'm Black and I'm Proud" and incorporated soul styles of dance, vocals, and dress into their shows. For youth this concert represented a critique of the authority and cultural icons of the older ruling generation who had been raised under colonial rule and, in the eyes of some, continued to value colonial ways of doing things. The adoption of African American styles and popular music became, for them, a political and social critique of British colonial forms of cultural capital.
Held as a part of the Independence Day festivities, Soul to Soul was a state-sponsored event that provided a celebration of African American popular music, styles of dress, and ideologies of racial identification e. The concert marked the rising interest in gospel, rhythm and blues, and soul music in Africa. As one woman who had been in secondary school at the time told me, students saw this concert as a major event facilitating their adoption of African American styles of dress and expression. In school they listened to records of black American music, imitating hairstyles and clothing and setting up groups to imitate the sounds.
Many snuck out of their boarding school dormitories, coming from all over the country to attend the massive all-night Soul to Soul Concert at Black Star Square in downtown Accra. For many Ghanaians, the music and its associated forms of communication represented Pan-African consciousness. As part of the increasingly global American music industry, soul music also represented Western styles of consumer capitalism and its related forms of commodification.
On 31 December Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings staged his second coup d'etat in 19 months, taking over the reins of the government from the democratically elected Dr. Hilla Limann. Rawlings established a socialist government that aimed to discipline and stabilize the country after nearly a decade of military rule and rampant corruption. One of the early dictates of the government was to establish a curfew banning movements from 6 PM to 6 AM. As many musicians recall, this effectively destroyed the vibrant nightlife of Accra, the live music scene, and theatrical and musical groups that toured the country.
This also had the effect of reducing drastically the number of viable recording studios and recorded albums coming out of Ghana, which had been vibrant in the s. The rise of portable record and tape music systems, as well as the increasing availability of video recording and screening facilities, shifted public entertainment in the s away from live musical and theatrical performances toward the circulation of recorded music. Spinners—mobile DJs who provided music for funerals, outdoorings, parties, and dances—were cheap and easy to hire, further decreasing the shows for live bands and vitality of the live music scene.
Highlife music transformed as musicians traveled to Europe and brought back electronic computer and synthesizer music, creating the subgenre known as burger highlife because of the influence of Ghanaian musicians working in Hamburg, Germany. At the same time gospel highlife began to develop out of the influence of African American church music.
The governmental tax on the importation of musical instruments and the decrease in the teaching of music in school also crippled the music industry. Since churches were one of the few institutions that were not subject to this tax, the musicians who did not leave often performed in churches and became closely tied to gospel see Collins and this volume.
In the midst of these changes, African American music remained at the center of what Ghanaians listened to and reinterpreted with local variations. By the mids nightlife began to return, though the lack of instruments, the dispersal of bands, and the interest in new electronic sounds reshaped style and music. Babylon Disco, among other clubs and schools, hosted dance competitions focusing on post-disco Michael Jackson—like dancing and fashion. Jackson's singing and dance were the epitome of style for many youth. Others with perhaps a more rebellious sensibility were drawn to break dancing as part of the new hip hop urban cultural movement.
As one teenage club-goer at the time recalls, "We thought Michael Jackson, who was all the rage, was really corny. We wanted to be more like the streets, and even more than hip hop and soul music, it was break dancing competitions at first that started to spread. We felt it, but it was also so urban and American, and it made us feel a part of what was happening outside. Many hiplife musicians credit Gyedu-Blay Ambolley as the first Ghanaian to use rap in his afrobeat-funk-jazz-infused highlife.
Beginning with a hit single, "Simigwa Do," he used spoken-word lyricism in the Akan language over layered funky beats and horn riffs. Nii Addokwei Moffat, writer for the weekly national entertainment newspaper Graphic Showbiz, recalls that in the s there were various isolated experiments with rap by Ghanaian musicians. This environment empowers artists and content creators, and allows for direct engagement with participants users.
Social media creates a space for participants, allowing them to not be limited to traditional media.
Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World
Meanwhile, Tanzanian hip-hop linked to global hip-hop culture, with its origins in black urban American counterculture. This includes the utilization of hip-hop rhyme patterns, social and political messages, and the promotion of original lyricism. These criticisms are important to consider, as is the fact that we have been witnessing radical shifts in the ways in which we listen, communicate, and create.
These shifts have taken some power from governments and institutions and given it to citizen journalists, bloggers, and anyone with a cell phone camera who can create counter narratives that are then distributed and spread through social media. Mainstream market access comes with heavy radio airplay, video airplay, and performance bookings.
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One of the biggest culprits in this practice is Tanzania media giant Clouds Entertainment. The business model used in the us is heavily copied in Tanzania Clark Hip-hop artists in Tanzania are learning from the examples of hip-hop artists in the diaspora, where artists have been engaged in struggles with major labels and corporate media for more than a decade. With the establishment of digital media and file sharing, artists, new and established, have found that the Internet has given them access to a broader audience, and allowed them a new level of engagement.
Tanzanian artists have studied these methods and via social media and online file sharing, have collaborated with each other, as well as artists in the diaspora and West Africa. Social media allowed for the project to come together, as vocals and video footage were exchanged online.
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The song and video were then posted to several blogs and social media sites, including Bongo5 and TZhiphop. The impact of social media on the music industry has been critical for independent and international artists. Shortly thereafter artists began to set up pages where visitors to the site could hear their music, watch their videos, learn of upcoming performances, and get band profiles. Suddenly there was a space to hear hip-hop music from all over the world.
Study African Arts and Culture in Ghana
It was initially artists based in the diaspora that had their profiles on MySpace. Later, other Africa-based hip-hop artists had profiles on MySpace. The primary reason for this was that Facebook did not initially have the user interface that would allow musicians to showcase their music. This changed and by an increasing number of artists had created fan pages on Facebook and had uploaded videos on YouTube. By most Tanzanian hip-hop artists had an online presence and artists like Fid Q and Nikki Mbishi were reaching out via Twitter to communicate with their fans.
Hip-hop artists in Africa and the diaspora are also now featured on music streaming sites such as Spotify and Pandora. There are varying degrees of social media usage among hip-hop artists in Tanzania. These artists vary in their popularity, which may be directly linked to their level of participation. In other words, do those that post and tweet more often gain more fans because of it?
Or do they tweet more often as they get more fans? Table 1 focuses on the number of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook followers the artists have. Fid Q, the most popular hip-hop artists in Tanzania, has more Facebook and Instagram followers than most other artists. While Professor Jay, who has had one of the longest and most successful careers in hip-hop, has the highest number of Twitter followers. Meanwhile, Witnesz is a female hip-hop artists who has had a more than 10 years career, but has few followers on Facebook and Twitter.
https://ininbolcats.tk A study of female hip-hop artists reveals that there are social barriers within hip-hop and within Tanzanian society that often presents barriers for their full participation in hip-hop, as well as their ability to earn a living from those careers Clark Graphic 1. Number of Followers by Artist as of July Most artists average several tweets a day, while posting fewer Facebook posts. Fid Q and Professor Jay have the highest number of followers, and they also have fans that frequently participate on their social media pages.
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Both artists have fans that comment on their Facebook posts, post on their Facebook fan pages, and re-tweet their messages. On the other hand, Witnesz, who has the least number of fans, posts the least of the six artists. Wakazi, who has more fans on Twitter than on Facebook, tweets significantly more than he posts on Facebook. Graphic 2.
There is no way to tell which artists may pad their numbers in order to seem more popular. However, the artists with the highest number of social media followers also have high numbers of fan posts and comments. In addition, the artists with the higher number of followers are among the artists most named by students as artists that they follow online. These artists also use social media to disseminate their music.
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Artists post cd release information, music videos, and links to download their music. Artists tended to mostly create posts that are meant to generate income or buzz. This includes links to music videos, song releases, appearances, and promotional material. Fid Q was the only artist to post relatively little personal informations, while creating more posts that offered advice or criticism on various topics. Several artists posted a lot about other artists, mainly to promote collaborative or solo projects other artists were doing. Artists had posts offering advice or criticism, but none more than Fid Q.
The posts that offered the artists views on certain issues, especially topics relating to the government, corruption, and police brutality, received the most comments. The second category of posts that received a high number of comments was personal posts. He has used it to engage fans online and in person.
With music, video, performance, and educational projects, Fid Q has depended on social media and used it to get youth engaged. Fid Q uses social media to advertise his spoken word event Poetry Addiction, which showcases artists from around Tanzania. With almost 40 episodes, the show featured interviews with hip-hop artists from Tanzania and the Diaspora, highlighting artists and topics not typically covered by traditional media. Fid Q also uses social media to encourage engagement in his Ujamaa hip-hop Darasa hip-hop Collective Class , a free weekly program held Saturday mornings in Dar es Salaam.
The Hip-hop Darasa features classes and workshops on hip-hop, teaching attendants about lyricism, hip-hop culture, and the politics and economics of the music industry.