Every beat in the world has its origins in Africa. Africa, in addition to being the source of the original melodies and musical arrangements, is also one of the most diverse continents due to its many different nations. And different cultures exist within those different nations. Check out below some of the African continent’s best modern day rap artists.
Exploring Hip-Hop Across Africa
According to allafrica.com, African youth from every “major city in Africa” have loved American rappers like 2Pac since the 1990s. It is even theorized that the “hip” in “hip-hop” actually stems from the African language of Wolof as their word “hepi/hipi” “means ‘to see’ or ‘to open one’s eyes’.” But, the connection might be “simply a coincidence”.
Allafrica.com also reports that Senegalese rap is some of the most well-respected hip-hop music worldwide. According musicinafrica.net, Senegalese rap is “a genre with such a persuasion and mobilization power that it is often feared.” Check out Senegalese rapper Oothentik Zeus’ new track, “Deff 4”.
What Influences African Rappers?
According to the Global Cypher, “there are plenty [South African rappers] that have their ears tuned outward.” Touchline is a representation of this phenomenon. In an interview posted to the YouTube channel SABC News, Touchline cited many American rappers as significant influences: including J. Cole, Drake, and Eminem. Check out his new single, “I’ll Always Have Me”.
Additionally, Big Tril recently moved from his home of Uganda to Nigeria because of the advantages in the entertainment industry. Allafrica.com reports that Nigeria’s population density makes it a dream destination for African artists to meet each other and collaborate. Ladipoe teaming up with fellow African artist Teni for the song “Lemme Know” is a great example.
Big Tril has said, “this is Africa and Africa is for Africans, so as long as you’re on the African continent you’re home”. Moreover, Big Tril said, “Ghana for the lack of a better word is a whole vibe.” What he is referring to is the complex and rich musical history of Ghana, which dates back to colonial times. Not to mention, “hiplife” defines hip hop in Africa. “Hiplife” is the product of Ghanian “highlife” music which draws influence from American rap. To see this, check out Ghanian rapper EL’s new single “Efa Wo Ho Ben”.