The Hip Hop African Blog & Podcast

This is an initiative that initially began as an in class assignment for students in the Hip Hop in Africa course. The course is a joint course taught with students at Howard University and George Washington University, taking the course together. Students must come together in groups of two or three and select a research topic related to the course. Students are also allowed to do the project individually. After completing their research, students must then record a 15 minute audio podcast.

The idea to use a publicly accessible blog as the platform that students used to engage in the research was based on a 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 website has since gone from averaging 6,000 views in 2014, to 27,000 in 2016, and almost 88,000 in 2018. Our visitors primarily come from the U.S. and South Africa. We also receive a large number of visitors from the European Union, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, & the UK. 

The blog and the podcast were launched with the goal of taking a scholarly approach to conversations around hip hop in Africa.  On iTunes, we are ranked among the top five podcasts dealing with similar themes, specifically, African hip hop podcasts and African Studies podcasts.

The podcast has featured interviews with artists like Blitz the Ambassador (Ghana/US), M.anifest (Ghana), Modenine (Nigeria/UK), Thiat of Keur Gui (Senegal), and Yugen Blakrok (South Africa).

The Hip Hop African Blog and the Podcast are hosted at The Hip Hop African Podcast is also on iTunesSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play, & other podcast platforms.

Hip Hop in Africa Class

Hip Hop and Popular Culture/Social Change in Africa at Howard University and George Washington University

Students Skyping with Algerian hip hop scholar Algerian hip hop activist Mohamed Amine Benloulou

In 2015 I created a course on Hip Hop in Africa at Howard University. The course has received strong enrollment numbers, averaging 30 students per semester. In 2018, the course was also offered at George Washington University. The course meets weekly and combines the classes on both campuses so that the students take the course together, alternating campuses each week.

This course examines the development of hip hop culture throughout Africa. The course also focuses on the role hip hop culture as a method of social commentary, with a special focus on hip hop’s commentary on democracy, corruption, social institutions, and gender. The course also examines the ways in which hip hop culture has engaged youth, social institutions, and the state. The course focuses on case studies of hip hop communities in order to show the diversities found across Africa. The case studies look at hip hop and social participation within individual hip hop communities in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. The course includes an optional trip to the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, CT, as well as guest lectures by African artists based on the continent and in the Diaspora.

Students in the class have gotten the opportunity to meet either virtually or in person artists, activists, and scholars from around the world, like Baba Bomani (US), Babaluku (Uganda), Emile YX? (South Africa), Isatta Shariff (UK)), Mejah Mbuya of Wachata Crew (Tanzania), M3nsa (UK/Ghana), Modenine (UK/Nigeria), Roma Mkatoliki (Tanzania), Dr. Seth Markle (US), Toni Blackman (US), Wanlov the Kubolor (Ghana), Ya Minko (US/Gabon), Yugen Blakrok (South Africa).

Hip Hop in Africa Online

With the Center for African Studies at Howard University, I created the online course Hip Hop in Africa, which can be found on iTunesU and on Udemy. The course is designed to help educators learn about, and introduce students to contemporary African culture, using the lens of hip hop. Hip hop is a major cultural force throughout urban Africa, and the music is a great tool for understanding the social issues and cultural environments impacting African youth today. Through hip hop culture, African artists provide rich and diverse narratives of contemporary Africa. This course is designed to accommodate various levels of familiarity with Africa, and provides access to content at various levels of difficulty. 


Select Media Appearances & Interviews

July 2018: BBC Focus on Africa