The Hip Hop African blog began as a way to involve undergraduates in my research. The idea to use a publicly accessible blog as the platform that students used to engage in the research was the desire to cultivate an archive of information that anyone could access. It also was another platform for artists to be exposed to different audiences. Students were tasked with finding and reviewing articles, films, and artists. Thus far my students have written more than 600 blog posts, all of which is organized by country, tagged with the names of artists featured, and categorized by theme. The project has grown tremendously since I joined the department.
We went from averaging 4,000 unique visitors a year, to over 9,000 in 2015 and almost 20,000 in 2016. In 2016 we averaged 2,000 unique visitors a month. Our visitors primarily come from the European Union, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, the UK, & The U.S.
On iTunes, the largest and most important podcast directory, we are ranked among the top five among podcasts dealing with similar themes, specifically, African hip hop and African Studies podcasts.
We have gotten requests from artists all over Africa to be featured in the blog. Last semester we received a CD in the mail from an African artists based in France. The envelope simply read:
Hip Hop Africa
Washington, DC 20059 USA
The following two documents are examples of some of the emails we have received:
NINE7 from South Africa (Appendix 13C) and N-jay.52 from South Africa (Appendix 14C)
The response from artists has also been largely positive. The following documents are artists who have tweeted about the blog posts students have written.
Blitz the Ambassador (Appendix 15C) and Sayhu (Appendix 16)
The one that was tweeted by Blitz the Ambassador was especially exciting. Blitz the Ambassador is a fairly major internationally known artists. The student who wrote the wonderful post on the artist (Appendix 17C) was really excited to hear about his post being tweeted.
Other well written student blog posts include a look at the challenging of gender roles by female artists in a post titled African Hip Hop Femcees (Appendix 18C), a look at street art in the Washington, DC area and its ties with street art in South Africa: Hip-Hop Elements: Street Art (Appendix 19C).