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Why Is African Hip Hop Missing From The Picture? – A Letter To DJBooth

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Hello DJBooth,

I’m Tylz, a 16-year-old Nigerian artiste and a dedicated follower of hip hop. I also write for one of the most followed hip hop outlets in Africa. I’m usually impressed by DJBooth, and if nobody else does, I believe your platform is a leading authority in Hip Hop culture. And that brings me to what I wrote this for; hip hop, not just American hip hop.

In 2017, I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that hip hop is something universal. Already, it’s the most listened-to genre on the planet. And with Kendrick’s “DAMN” hopes of Album Of The Year have been revived. Many popular hip hop artistes are from other parts of the world other than U.S. But there’s also great contribution from Europe…and Africa.

Hip hop traces it’s origins to the African American struggle for identity; a people whose ancestors were taken to America from Africa.

This is why hiphop and it’s detailed narrative about endless struggles of black people will forever sound African. It doesn’t matter if Eminem’s white, somehow, he must take a stand against racism (he f**kin’ hates Trump). Hip hop is an African thing and we care about the roots. If you are Black, then one way or another, you have something to do with this dark continent.

RANT: Why are we not paying attention to the guys from VS Class?

Many American artistes are from African backgrounds. From the not-so-glaring ones like Kendrick Lamar and Skepta, to the ones that you don’t need binoculars to see, like Wale and Jidenna.

It’s a no brainer, hip hop is African and It doesn’t matter if hip hop didn’t start here. More and more people will keep tracing their roots to Africa. Why then should Africa’s music be left out of the narrative?

Armed with facts, I can categorically say hip hop is practiced in Africa too. Even though Afrobeats (Africa’s biggest entertainment export) is taking over the world. We do hip hop, but nobody outside is covering it.

As a Nigerian kid, I must confess, it’s not too normal for me to fall in love with blogs like DJBooth. But when I landed on DJ Booth, I couldn’t leave. I made it a ritual; it’s in my “bookmarks” and I don’t play with it. From August till now, I can boast of having read almost every piece that has been written on DJBooth within that time. The only thing missing however, is African music. Apart from a couple of editorials on Wizkid (apparently because of Drake) and Mr Eazi  (he owes it all to Beats 1).

Hip Hop lives in Africa

I know Afro is big, but hip hop is always woo-ing us to give it a chance. So are we getting ignored because of our dialect? Or is this from a racism angle? We’ve got old and new cats out of Africa, who have been, and are still consistent in the game.

Talk about Nigeria’s finest, Mode9ine although retired, or M.I Abaga, or Vector (who may, well, be the best around in terms of skill). Or a trip down to South Africa AKA and Cassper Nyovest and I learnt K-Dot’s in love with this place.

In Ghana, its M.anifest, and many others are holding it down and keeping it real. All those talents shouldn’t get ignored outside because they’re in Africa. Guys like Yung6ix, Falz, Nasty C, Poe, Ycee, A-Q, Boogey, Eclipse, Blaqbonez, A-Reece are great. But it’s evident that my dear DJBooth and other hip hop dedicated blogs outside Africa are missing out on these interesting guys. It shouldn’t be so.

The only time Cassper Nyovest appears was when he produced Talib Kweli in 2015. Forgiven, but I was at least, expecting a story about M.I Abaga’s single about rappers fixing up their lives. Nasty C’s Bad Hair project was all over and even featured on Apple’s channel. But that was just another shot missed by DJBooth and others. Ycee’s even got big deals with Sony Music and Casper sold out a 60,000+ capacity FnB stadium recently.

I have a great crush on DJBooth, and a deep respect for all of it’s writers- Z, Yoh, Chesman, all! And I’m happy, it’s moving the culture forward. BUT, a little M.I here, and Cassper Nyovest there would really make a difference.


About the author

Tylz Ceazar Yo is a young rap artiste and an outspoken music industry commentator. He writes in a very controversial manner and is known to “never let the sleeping dogs lie”. In October 2017, he was inducted into HipHopHead as a contributor.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of HipHopHead.

OG Adoga
I am a Rap Music Instructor, Hip Hop Culture Custodian, Social Media Expert, all round smooth operator and chief editor at Hip Hop Head. If you want to become a writer with us, simply visit the Join us page. To reach me, get my personal details from the Contact page. If you like this blog and you want to become a regular reader, click here to join our Whatsapp group

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