Afro hip-hop and the American influence
Hip hop is a musical genre and culture that originated in America in the 70s /early 80s and was used not just as an entertainment medium, but as a political opinion mouthpiece- a lyrical response by people of color to oppression which quickly made it unique in its own right and completely different from the more popular styles of music back then. This true origin of hip hop and what it actually stands for has been lost from the 90s till the present day.What used to be a medium for expression has been swapped for half-naked women(worse in some cases) and strip dancers in music videos, as well as men with chains as big as their egos. True hip-hop is never used to abuse women or depict them as strictly sex symbols to make videos “colourful”, and appeal to some chauvinistic male empire!!!
Back in the day, we had Fab five freddy who was famous for spraying graffiti on the number 5 train to express political opinions, African Bambaata, Grandmaster flash and the furious five(Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins gave the name hip-hop to this genre), Beastie boys, kurtis blow, koolmoedee, sugarhill gang and so on. Hip hop has always been about expression…Express yourself
The truth is that the origin of hip hop has been attributed to West Africa. If you are aware of the Yoruba “ewi”, it`s quite similar to chanting which uses the rapid flow of words to describe a scenario, tell a story or send a message.
Back to the domestics, is hip hop an American thing? The origin of this genre can be traced back to Africa where the “art” itself was born way before it hit the Bronx,got modified, and grew worldwide.I will have to say that Hip Hop is a modified version of a pre-exisiting african genre…thanks to the bronx.I also have to say i do not agree with the “American-rap style campaign” that our so called “Afro” hip-hop artistes have adopted- it`s a farce. If you go downtown New York at the tube stations, street corners and so on, you will find some “wicked” rappers spitting fire and brimstone through the furnace of the mouth. Americans already have an overflowing stack of rappers. Afro Hip-hop needs more Afro rappers who are original, innovative and unique.
Afro-Hip hop artistes should make more effort to address domestic issues and follow the steps taken by the original icons of hip hop from the south bronx! Fela Kuti was not a hip-hop icon, but he started a global revolution by using his music as a mouthpiece to expose unsatisfactory governance and money-hungry politicians. Afro hip-hop can be used as a channel to address Afro issues.
On a final note, neither Americans, nor the world in general, will appreciate our so called “Afro hip-hop” when it, paradoxically speaking, has the connotation and elements of the red, blue and white spread all over it! Where is the Afro in Afro Hip-hop??? Word to the mother!
* Picture above courtesy of Factory78 Online T.V
Posted on August 3, 2012, in Africa and tagged fela kuti, African Bambaata, Hip-hop origin, african history of hip hop, true hiphop, keith cowboy wiggins, fab five freddy, grandmaster flash and the furious five, sugarhill gang, yoruba ewi, beastie boys, koolmoedee, bronx, south bronx, graffiti train 5, big ego rappers, afro hiphop, factory 78. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.