As Atlantic Records launches its “game changers” video featuring Janelle Monae, Estelle, B.O.B & Lupe Fiasco, global hip-hop is taking over with its own game changers who maybe under your radar, but are quickly taking over the hip-hop game in a new evolution of hip-hop’s global fusion. Hip-Hop is undisputedly street music of global people seeking the type of freedom of self expression that is native & speaks to the times & the people without borders. Hip-Hop in 2011 is taking a beautiful turn in a global return to a new evolution in its revolutionary roots; back to the place in time when Public Enemy taught us to “fight the power“, when KRS1 was inducted as the teacher who told us that our history was important & that we must learn, when Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five brought out “the message” to the masses when the people of the hood were close to the edge & needed to be heard because they could not be pushed any further, when Afrika Bambaataa made the “planet rock“, when Curtis Blow dreamed about ruling the world where he’d love all the girls & let them wear diamonds & pearls as he freed all his sons, when RUN DMC injected rock into the game & told us to “walk this way” into a new era of rock infused hip-hop , when Slick Rick told “children stories” & put on “the show” with Dougie Fresh who along with Biz Markie made the music with their mouth & had all the haters catching “vapors“, when Rakim’s oratory skills were so mind blowingly intelligent that we nominated his DJ Eric B. for President for providing the thumping beats that gave those words so much power as it ripped through our hearts & minds, when a queen stood tall amongst kings & brought “U.N.I.T.Y“, & when Kool Herc took the soul power of “toasting” reggae legends from Jamaica via the roots of African griots & sprinkled the Bronx with its magical dust that brought artistic beauty to a concrete jungle with black diamonds in the rough of burnt out buildings & crack infested streets that gave way to B-Boys & B-Girls all over the world finding freedom of self expression through dance, art & spoken word with an insane soundtrack that spoke to the authentic soul of the streets -raw, straight up with no chaser ! This is what Hip-Hop was, is & always will be to the world.
The global hip-hop movement is going through a new resurrection in a return to its original elements & sound as the voice of young people’s angst, joy & pain. As revolutions spark around the world started up by youth movements, hip-hop is once again the soundtrack of the consciousness that drives & speaks for the people. Global hip-hop is taking over with no end in sight with the world in technological overdrive without borders in easy accessibility to a global perspective that is “Glocally LIVE 24-7”!
World music is richer than ever in sound & global hip-hop is lyrically transcendent in how it engages people globally & locally. The list of global artists leading the new game changer movement is so vast & erupting so quickly with bountiful fruits that it is impossible to truly do them all justice with a list, but here’s some of my favorites that truly speak to the soul of global hip-hop because “It Ain’t Where You’re From It’s Where Your At!
British born Palestinian hip-hop artist & activist, Shadia Mansour is the Lauryn Hill of the Arab world . She is not only beautiful, but posses an incredibly soothing yet powerful vocal ability with a hardcore rhyme style that can rival any of her male counterparts. Known as the first lady of Arabic hip-hop, Shadia not only rocked the Black August Festival with the likes of Krs1, Mos Def, & Rakim but she has also worked with other global artists like M1 of Dead Prez, Logic MC & her fellow Arab world hip-hop artist The Narcicyst , who hails from Iraq & collaborated with Shadia on a beautiful solidarity song entitled “Hamdulillah”. Shadia is the truth & a true game changer of hip-hop’s evolution & global revolution.
I was recently put on to American born Nigerian hip-hop/afrobeat artist, producer & MTV award winner, Naetochukwu Chikwe AKA Naeto C & I must say his song “10 Over 10” surely represents the fact that “levels done changed” in African hip-hop. The west side is truly representing & taking over the hip-hop scene with artists like P Square creating real careers out of making music & being well compensated for the hard work they have put into raising the bar & garnering global crossover appeal while still keeping their sound authentically African.There is a special sound coming out of Nigeria that is lyrically clever & rhythmically enticing bodies to move in that feel good way that does like a maggi cube & spices up your life! Artists like D’Banj, P Square, 2 Face Idibia & Naeto C are leading Nigeria’s new era of rhythmic power making it possible for the world to fall in love with the nation of super eagles! “YES BOSS!”
Belgian Congolese artist, Baloji hails from Kinshasa the infamous home of Muhammad Ali & George Foreman‘s Rumble in the Jungle. Baloji is what I call a new era throwback not only in his fashion style but also in his blend of old school Congolese music with new era hip-hop. Baloji debuted his album & tour in late 2010 & continues to receive rave reviews. The global excitement around Baloji is heartwarming as his divided nation continues to suffer in war & tribal battles begging for a voice to represent their collective voices, while bringing some hope to their cause, purpose & future!
Abdul Rasheed Bello AKA JJC is a Nigerian hip-hop artist & producer residing in London. JJC, short for “Johnny Just Come” is Nigerian slang for recent arrivals or naive new comers mostly referring to Africans going abroad to places like Europe & USA. “We are Africans” is a collaborative battle cry for global Africans all over the world to recognize their collective roots in Africa because in the new era Pan-Africanism “it ain’t where you’re born it’s where you declare your ancestral roots”. JJc’s original “We are Africans” was a strictly hip-hop thumping fierce tribute to global Africans, but the new Naija remix is a beautiful tribute to Nigeria’s rich musical history & its future to come! Nigerians Like JJC are being credited with changing the global image of Nigeria & moving their nation forward. AWOO!
M3nsa‘s “No One Knows Tomorrow” featuring Asa is one of the most beautiful feel good songs & videos I’ve heard & seen in awhile & the lovely little girl in the video’s smile is beyond infectious & truly makes you smile while forgetting all your worries because “No One Knows Tomorrow”! This native son of the Black Star Nation of Ghana is amongst the heavy hitters like Blitz the Ambassador, his FOKN partner in crime Wanlov the Kubolor, Sarkodie, Asem & the Granpapa who led the way for the original cypher for the youth of the Black star nation,Reggie Rockstone. As a one time protege of Reggie Rockstone, M3nsa now has the first ever Pidgen musical film under his belt bringing the breath of fresh air that hip-hop needs with intelligence & heavy hitting songs like “Sometimes”. The sky seems to be the least of limits for this Black Star’s solo career as well as his collaborative efforts with FOKN.