20th Mar2017

Chicken or Beef: Nicki and Remy

by admin

Does my womanhood take away my right not to like you?

Remy Ma Nicki Minaj

Following the flurry of commentary around this beef and how Remy was wrong for ‘slut shaming’ Nicki Minaj and vice versa, I am left with one question: Does the fact that I am a feminist strip me of my right not to like you because you are also a black woman? Yes, we are all women and yes, we need to uplift each other and reconstruct the patriarchy thrusted upon us. However, some things should be taken at face value. Nicki and Remy, have got nothing to do with me and my struggles as a black woman.

Remy’s personal and professional views on Nicki Minaj have nothing to do with women in general. The idea that all feminists, or all women for that matter, ought to get along is one that I find highly ironic considering that all of us know people, men and women, we don’t like. We might share the same values but if I don’t like your behaviour and I feel like you need to get checked, why not? This is hip hop; tracks and whatever is said on them ought to be viewed in that context. The patriarchy that we are trying to prevent is the patriarchy that you are perpetuating by not allowing these women to openly challenge, and destroy their direct line of competition. The release of ShEther, is a play on one of the most famous beefs in hip hop- between the New York giants, Nas and Jay-Z who later settled their difference after many fights, war of words, and the release of Ether by Nas. It is with this in mind, I feel people should listen to Nicki and Remy, the battle between two New York giants, going at it. In my opinion, their gender has no bearing in their lyricism. It is fun and it is what hip hop is all about.

I know some might be thinking that if this is a pure hip hop battle, why post it on social media, and why the release of intimate information by both parties.  Well in response to that I say that all is fair in Love and Hip Hop. It is a battle and it is not going to be pretty, something must get beaten, besides their make-up. Dirt was dug and mud was slung from both sides, some more than others, but that is the nature of the game. Only the best will survive: it is eat or be eaten, killed or be Nicki’d. For every punch that was thrown in ShEther, there was a comeback in No Frauds. Where Remy referred to Nicki’s surgery, Nicki did the same. When Remy came for Nicki’s brother, Nicki came for Remy’s children. It was blow for blow, grimy and ruthless on both sides and this brings me to my point; Remy does not like Nicki, Nicki doesn’t care, and the audience is entertained.

This is all that there is to it. To assume that empowering females in all spaces relinquishes my right not to like you is not only patriarchal but it’s a bit naive. As feminists, we are not in the position to judge every situation based on gender under the assumption that all females who believe in a free, equal and non-sexist world need to love and support each other at all times. It is in cases like these where I think that we should truly consider what feminism means not only as a movement but for all women; Black, White, Asian, Indian, Mexican, Latin, and all other shades of womanhood. If these two rappers weren’t female, would there be so much fuss about what was said and how they said it, and would we even be discussing how objectified and disrespected the females in their lives must be feeling. Equality and justice are not the same things and as feminists we need to ask ourselves as to whether we are fighting for equality or Justice? These are all important questions that we need to address however, in a hip hop battle, I find it more helpful to ask: Who won? Who came out on top? In this case, who was the better rapper?

 

13th Mar2017

Why Every Young Kid in South Africa Needs to Listen to Okmalumkoolkat’s ‘Mlazi Milano’

by admin

Okmalumkoolkat

Okmalumkoolkat is one of South Africa’s talented artists who is not only a rapper but is also a dancer, fashion influencer and all round creative genius. One look at his Braam-kid-ville aesthetic will give you a sense of what I mean. There is a futuristic element about him and that is present within his sound that has influenced a lot of South African hip-hop artists. Mlazi Milano is a 17-track album featuring the likes of award winning Ricky rick and member of Boyz N Bucks; Mashayabuqe Ka Mamba; Mr. Digital Maskandi; the highly acclaimed the Brother Moves On; as well as young and upcoming musos like Shomadjozi, Reba Red and Amadando . The reason why every young kid needs to listen to this album is because it is pro-South African, it both celebrates and aims to promote our multilingual, diverse and culturally rich nature in a manner that speaks to the youth. The album addresses issues like isintu- the African way of doing things like praising the gods or serving a higher being- which lies beyond the confines of the western conceptualization of religion. In this album Okmalumkoolkat addresses the trend of South African youth looking down upon their cultures, religion and traditions. He smoothly does this by rapping mainly in Isizulu as well as collaborating with Mashayabuqe who has successfully merged maskandi music with trap music and Shomadjozi who raps fluently in Xitsonga. This demonstrates that one does not need to be a pure imitator of mainstream American hip-hop culture. It is obvious that hip hop is at its most successful period in the country. Because it is part of the mainstream, most artists have become monotonous producing music of a lesser quality with everyone adhering to the winning formula. It’s time South African hip hop becomes more inclusive and celebratory of South Africa’s diverse cultures. In our social media-driven age, it is refreshing to see artists who are genuinely making music for a certain cause and act as an inspiration to the youth. One needs to listen to this album to get a sense of what I am talking about.

21st Sep2015

Mix-and-Match!

by admin

This week’s edition of exPress imPress is short-and-sweet and our writers touch on assorted topics.

In Impressing – Entertainment and Lifestyle: Nqubeko Nzimande writes about the ongoing feud between two local hip-hop sensations, AKA and Cassper Nyovest. Furthermore, in Impressions – My Diary: Ahmed Kajee shares his concerns about the deterioration of Fordsburg, and more specifically, Fordsburg Square; Mpimanyeto Mashimbye explains how time waits for no man and why it is important to take control of the limited time that we do have in order to establish ourselves and find our place in this world; and finally, Sandiswa Sondzaba shares a touching poem that she wrote about the Syrian refugee crisis, and in particular, Aylan Kurdi – the Syrian child whose lifeless body was found washed up ashore as a result of his family’s attempt to escape the warzone that is Syria.

Flag-Pins-Syria-South-Africa

We hope you enjoy this edition!

See you soon,

Jess

21st Sep2015

Hip-hop is a Contact Sport

by admin

Nqubeko Nzimande writes about ever-popular hip-hop culture in South Africa and the on-going feud between two local recording artists, AKA and Cassper Nyovest, which is all in the name of the game!

hip

Perhaps what has fuelled the feud among hip-hop artists is the idea that ‘two bulls cannot rule one kraal.’ With all hip-hop artists’ refusal to submit and accept the fact of life – that we cannot all be captains; some of us have to be the crew – different forms of displaying dominance is always the order of the day within the hip-hop sphere. This is how these artists attempt to stay ahead of their rivals in the game. Quite often ‘diss tracks’ are used as instruments of battling and sadly, in some instances, physical violence is also used as a final resort of displaying dominance in the game. However, this is not a new phenonmen; these quarrels can be traced back to the days of Nas and Biggie Smalls, Ja Rule and 50 Cent, and more recently, Meek Mill and Drake.

In South Africa, hip-hop has hustled its way up to being the country’s most popular genre in the music scene. Basically, it is the coolest genre of music (in my opinion at least), with most radio stations playing hip-hop songs more often thn not. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that South African hip-hop artists have been nominated for and won awards in the Black Entertainment Television Awards (BET Awards) and MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), which indicates that SA hip-hop is slowly but surely climbing the international music ladder.

As expected, SA hip-hop artists are no exception to the norm; they are playing it rough. Recently making headlines are the two prominent artists: AKA and Cassper Nyovest. The two hip-hop sensations have been embroiled in a controversial feud for quite some time now; their rivalry centring around who is better than the other. Their scale of measuring who is better is through who has the most amount of hit songs, lyrics and punch lines as well as awards won, money, cars and houses.

hip 2

According to Cassper Nyovest, his beef with AKA reached a new level when AKA’s friend pointed a gun at him. This incident occurred around March of this year. Four months later, media reports went viral about AKA slapping Cassper Nyovest in a night club, and AKA was reported to have admitted it too.

AKA also recently released a track titled: Composure, where he disses Cassper Nyovest; to which Nyovest replied with a track titled Back to Back – which hip-hop followers considered to be of weak content. Nonetheless, Nyovest has released yet another freestyle track titled: Ashes to Ashes, where he states that he will deal with local beef when he comes back from Europe; since he is on tour abroad.

Regardless of this local, and arguably petty, feud, hip-hop is doing well in South Africa and this should be applauded. So, those who hold otherwise views regarding South African hip-hop should, as AKA put it in Composure: “Hold it now, hold it now, hold it now. This ain’t your moment we own it now.”

04th May2015

One Thing About Music

by admin

Jeffrey Motlhamme sheds light over the recent violent riots that have been taking place in Baltimore; further illustrating how Hip Hop and influential rap artists contribute to the promotion of positivity and peaceful during such times.

As Bob Marley sang: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” But, sometimes when it hits you; you feel the power behind the message instead. When looking at the state of Mu 1society today, things are just not the same. Music should bring people together despite their differences. Any genre of music can communicate messages to society, but because of the violence currently being experienced in Baltimore, I am going to place my focus on rap music. Rap music in the United States is dominant and very influential; but it all comes down to how rappers use this influence. My previous article on Hip Hop, black violence and racism expressed the idea that rappers should use their platforms to communicate and raise awareness about important issues in society. Well, my brothers and sisters of Hip Hop, things are looking good.

Following the death of Freddie Gray, who was in police custody when he suddenly passed, the people of Baltimore, and predominantly young black men,mu 2 began rioting in an attempt to determine what exactly caused Gray’s death. This kind of behaviour is not really surprising considering more and more incidents involving police brutality in the United States are emerging. However, our brothers in the Hip Hop industry really showed some love and urged citizens to take care of Baltimore instead of continuing to destroy it. Lupe Fiasco dedicated his, “It just might be okay,” video to Baltimore as a way of inspiring the people to stop rioting. Fiasco, one of the most socially-conscious rappers, inspired the people of Baltimore to be hopeful in this music video, from his 2006 album, titled: “Food and Liquor”. Wale also personally met with Baltimore students and urged them to stay together despite the violent events that were taking place.

mu 3What these socially-conscious rappers did is a clear example of how rap artists should use their fame to positively affect society. Music has an enormous influence on the lives of people and it can also shape how people perceive or understand certain issues in society. For example, this can be seen in the way people try to imitate and become gangsters because rappers are informing them of how gangsters behave. It can also be seen in the way people dress and speak. In short, music is power exercised in a very simplistic fashion; but it has a greater effect. This is the very same reason as to why when it hits you, you feel no pain.

The rap artists who dedicated music to and visited Baltimore greatly impacted the citizens and encouraged them to act peacefully. This is something that needs to be promoted not only in Baltimore; but also in other communities and countries caught up in the middle of violence. These acts of positive and peaceful promotion should open up possibilities to shape social discourses and also inspire other rappers to start touching on important issues. Music should help free people who are stuck in a tangled web of hatred and violence. Thanks to influential figures, such as Wale and Fiasco, I am hopeful for the end, or at least decline of, violent events taking place in Baltimore. I also hope that there will be change for the citizens of Baltimore and that justice will be served. My brothers and sisters of Hip Hop, I leave you with Lupe Fiasco’s message: “Revolution is hope for the hopeless”.

mu 4

13th Apr2015

Kendrick Lamar & J Cole: Our Modern Day Pac & Biggie

by admin

Jeffrey Motlhamme speaks about the hip hop culture and some of its influential contributors.

 

Hip hop, as a culture, is known as a movement that was born out of a struggle and serves as a tool to communicate messages that appeal to society in general. However, throughout the years there has been a transition within the hip hop culture. We had rappers focusing more on talking about what they have as well as crime. Yes, it is understood that the whole idea about the hip hop culture is self-expression, but this should not shadow the fact that rap is meant to instil hope in the hearts of the emotionally broken and hopeless. With the racial violence that is taking place around the world, especially in the United States, there is a need for rappers to focus more on the topics, like, racism. Luckily we have saviours in the rap industry, for example: Kendrick Lamar and J Cole.

1

Looking at Kendrick Lamar’s sophomore album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” there are some songs that provide hope for the followers of the movement who wish to address the main problems affecting society. For instance, in this album, Lamar constantly addresses the issue of racism; the track list says it all. By rapping about such issues, Lamar is touching on and bringing awareness to what is currently considered one of the most sensitive issues around the world – race – unlike those rappers who are disrespecting the art of hip hop by painting negative images for society to look at.

2

On the other hand, J Cole is doing a great job of painting some vivid pictures of the society we live in. He puts his best efforts into addressing racism and stereotypes that different parts of society have about different cultural or racial groups; particularly, black culture. J Cole offers us a piece of his thoughts about racism by taking us through the crimes committed to black young men by white policemen as well as the stereotypes people have about black young men. This can be seen by J Cole’s famous song, “Be Free,” which he wrote soon after the tragic and unlawful death of Michael Brown. J Cole also demonstrates the need to defend black culture in his new music video for his song, “GOMD,” from his third studio album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”.

j cole

Therefore, J Cole and Kendrick Lamar are what we can call the modern day ‘Pac’. Some of the followers of hip hop culture might not agree with the aforementioned ideas of what rappers should focus on because, yes; sometimes hip hop is purely about fun and entertainment. However, at the end of the day these are the issues that deeply affect society and what rappers say contributes to the ways in which society in general view black culture.

4

2Race is an important issue and it is a problem that every society faces. Web Dubois accurately predicted this situation when he declared that race would be the biggest problem of the 21st century. Therefore, J Cole and Kendrick Lamar are touching on important topical issues that other rappers are perhaps too afraid to rap about. This is a lesson to other rappers because rap, in practice, should be the voice of the voiceless. These two rappers are important to hip hop because of the realism they offer. They reach out to all the rappers and hip hop lovers out there to stop disrespecting the art. They also call on black communities to stop the black-on-black violence experienced around the world. To understand what these two great thinkers communicate with their music, you first have to understand the forms that racism takes around the world; particularly within black communities. But nonetheless, there you have it: Kendrick and Jermaine, our modern day Pac and Biggie.

20th Oct2014

Colour of Reign Interview

by admin

Gigi Lamayne talks to us about her latest Mixtape, The Colour of Reign.

GM

Tell us a bit about your new pre-album Mixtape?

The Colour of Reign mix tape album is a culmination of a two year project that is intended to showcase my diversity and growth as a musician. It is also meant to prove to the South African music industry I have what it takes to take SA Hip Hop to the greater level despite my gender and age. The mix tape features a lot of acts from around southern African countries as my eventual target is global domination. The album was executively produced by Shayzar and his production crew named Mix Masterz International, alongside top S.A producers Dynamic, Neo Beats, Tuxman and J-Twinn. It features artists such as Zakwe, Rashid Kay, Infa from Skwatta kamp, Kruna, Maraza, Fimo the beat boxer, Captain FS, Siya Shezi, Karma YungMarley, Cindy Munyavi , Tumi (of the volume), DJ Naida and many other big names from around Africa. The album is available online via iTunes. You can also preview a minute of some of the tracks here.

So a pre-album mixtape is…

So a pre-album mix tape is basically a concept album, an imprint or a general outlook of what the forthcoming album should be. More importantly it is the definition of my brand, the act and the artist Gigi Lamayne.

When does your full album release?

For now we have just dropped this mix tape which has sixteen tracks plus to add to that, we have exciting new singles and music videos on the way. So to speak of the proper album when we have all this is a bit premature for now. We would not want to pre empty our grand scheme.

Tell us about the inspiration for the name of your pre-album mixtape?

I was at a point where I was unsure of what people expected of me after winning the Hip Hop awards. I felt the pressure of having to maintain the credentials I had attained throughout the past year; however I didn’t possess the exact formula for being the best female out there. I didn’t know where I was going but I knew where I was coming from. My vision for this mix tape felt like a blank colorless canvas, like the colour of rain. Hence, the album title was somehow inspired by that blank “colorless feeling” but also the feeling of being able to conquer the said “colorless feeling”.

What are some of the inspirations for some of your tracks?

The inspirations come from the trials and tribulations I have gone through as a female Hip Hop artist and to a certain extent my own private life combined with the joint experiences of family and friends I have witnessed.

Do you have any favorite tracks on this mixtape?

No favorites, they are all my babies :). I love them all in a different way and each track means a lot to me and was definitely meant to be there. It is a very introspective album if you get the chance to listen to it.

Thank you for the interview

14th Apr2014

Back to The City 2014- The biggest Hip Hop festival in Africa

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at the upcoming Back to The City festival that will be taking place in Johannesburg.

gm1It cannot be denied that Hip Hop is one of the fastest growing genres in music. With Veterans such as Amu, Skwatta Camp and Ben Sharper to name a few, it is no wonder that South African fans of Hip Hop needed a platform that focused exclusively on Hip Hop culture. We (South African Hip Hop fans) were never exposed to any large platforms incorporating underground and commercial Hip Hop alike but finally, there was a solution- BACK TO THE CITY!

Back to The City is currently one of the most popular Hip Hop festivals across Africa and is one of the most talked about events on any South African Hip Hop head’s calendar. The event is held on the 27th of April every year and is now officially hosted at Mary-Fitzgerald Square in Johannesburg due to the large numbers of crowds that have attended in the past. As many as 17 000 Hip Hop supporters were present at last year’s gathering and it is speculated that numbers will increase this year.

The masters and gurus of this event include a team of Hip Hop enthusiasts who have managed to take the music industry by storm. The Ritual Media Group consists mainly of: Osmic, Lerato, Rashid Kay, Dynamic  and TTP who are in charge of the event while a steadfast and hardworking team help to get the job done in the background.

The Event begins with a Hip Hop summit at The African Museum (opposite the Mary Fitzgerald Square) where the current situation of Hip Hop is discussed and debated upon. The workshop encourages inter-connectivity and collective problem solving. This is then followed by the main event, the concert.

Back to The City showcases some of Mzansi’s hottest contemporary talent as well as veterans who have contributed to the South African Hip Hop industry in the past. Other happenings at the event include:

  • The Annual Sprite Uncontainable challenge, which sets up an audition platform for Hip Hop heads that would like to take part in the competition this year. This competition includes rappers, dancers and graffiti artists who will battle it out to become winners in their respective categories.
  • Red Bull will also be hosting the 10k challenge for MCs and producers alike who will compete for a cash prize of R10 000 as well as the chance to perform at Back To The City on the very same day.
  • A beatboxing battle will also be held on the main stage.
  • Stalls are also set up where food, music and clothing will be on sale to the public.

Back to the City also brings Hip Hop Heads an international act that is announced closer to the time.  So far, the line up for 2014 includes the likes of Reason, Blaklez and Ginger Breadman to name a few.

Tickets are on sale at The Ritual stores (Corner Bree and Henry Nxumalo) Newtown.

Tickets Range from R80.00 – R180.00.

For more info follow @ritualstores.

You can also visit the festival website: www.backtothecityfestival.com

gm2

Get your tickets soon –Gigi LaMayne

 

10th Mar2014

No local play, no legends

by admin

Genesis Manney looks at issues around airtime given to local and international music in South African Media.

Kwesta

Kwesta

“Play local or Die” has to be of the most controversial statements made by supporters of South African Music. While some may argue that local music remains not up to standard with other fellow international artists;  the ordinary South African looking for a music platform for local music, considers the controversial open letter by Kwesta. Questions about the place of South African, and more specifically, hip hop music being playlisted on our local government  radio stations were raised.

In a detailed and displeased outcry to the SABC, Metro FM Music award winning artist, Kwesta DAKAR, explained his dissatisfaction with youth radio station, 5FM.  He explains that there seemed to be marginalization of hip-hop music on the national youth radio station. One could agree to an extent that the issue resides within the amount of airplay local artists get as compared to their international counterparts. The last documented collective uproar was in 2010 in the midst of the world cup, when local artists protested against the imbalanced airtime given to international artists in comparison to them. The small hitch was covered up throughout the duration of the world cup, however, this was not carried out post- world cup.

Although, a radio station that seems to be paving the way for local artists alike has to be Radio 2000. Radio 2000 aims to playlist 70/30 percent of music in favour to local artists

Elsewhere, countries such as Zimbabwe have ruled out the slightest threat of international music dominating its national radio airwaves. A quota system has developed which orders the playlisting of 75% of local content on every distributive level. With such a clear attempt being made to promote local music, would South Africa still be facing the phenomenon of, “the broke artist” if it had the same systems in place?

Blondie Makhena

Blondie Makhena

In the last five years alone the City Press claims that South African Artists Pitch Black Afro, Blondie Makhena and Stitch were reportedly “broke” at some point.

While we can try to justify the conditions in which our artists need to sustain, live and grow within our environment, by making it seem as though they are responsible for their own downfalls, let us not ignore the significance of broadcasters’ roles. Many of these radio stations are not obligated to play any amount of local music, as their mission statements do not state this. Maybe it’s time to re-dress and re-frame this issue.

With finding somebody to blame, a situation will not find itself improving. Artists such as Kwesta had taken a very brave step in speaking up, even if that meant speaking alone. There is no point trying to compete with international musos if our own countrymen have failed to provide us with the resources and exposure that they could have provided us with in the first instance. It is also especially saddening that even private broadcasters seem to ignore the pleas of SA artists to start embracing local talent. While it is said that consumers are often influenced by trends, are public broadcasters not creating these trends and then feeding them back to listeners?  If this is the case, then these trendsetters are capable of creating a frenzy for local music too.

gm3It is therefore not one’s mission to try and slander a particular artist on why they did not “make it big enough”; especially regarding the repression of local music on public broadcasters. At this point, only government can rectify the situation in terms of quotas; especially on national radio stations. This problem needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency before there is a total concentration of international music countrywide. Furthermore this needs to be done before South Africa misses a shot at producing another Miriam Makeba or Hugh Masekela. If this is missed it will not be because of a lack of talent, but rather a lack of support from those with the capacity to either grow or snub ones talent.-Gigi LaMayne.

 

 

 

10th Mar2014

NAN

by admin

Have a look at a promo video from an up and coming South African Hip-Hop artist.

gm4Genesis Manney is a second year Media Studies student and an active member of the exPress imPress blog team. She is also a young, up and coming Hip-hop artist. She has recently released a promo video with a snippet of her single NAN. Have a look at the video below.

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