Coming to America : race, class, nationality and mobility in “African” Hip Hop

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2013-05

Authors

Adelakun, Abimbola Adunni

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Abstract

This report examines Hip Hop performance in Africa –with a focus on Nigeria- and analyzes how questions of race, racial identity, class and nationality feature in the works of African artists. The Nigerian/African artists themselves label their works “African Hip Hop” and they employ the aesthetics of the US and those of their local communities in their performances. Lately however, a couple of Nigerian artists –D’Banj and P Square- troubled the “African” in “African Hip Hop” by performing with popular African American Hip Hop artists, Snoop Dogg and Akon. It was a transnationalistic move that among other issues reflects the fluidity of identity. The performances in the videos of “Mr Endowed Remix” and “Chop My Money” also reflect identity (re)negotiation in postcolonial performances like Hip Hop. African Hip Hop, already, borrows the spectacles of US Hip Hop to express itself to African audiences. However, its collaboration with the US brings it in contact with various sociological issues -such as the conflation of race, class, gender and social mobility- that surround US Hip Hop. This report attempts a close reading of the meeting of “African Hip Hop” and “US Hip Hop” to understand how race, identity, and agency are negotiated in “African Hip Hop”

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