Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ye's Baaac!

Kanye's latest track is out, it's called Power and it's the siiickest!!! Just about the boldest, realest and politically relevant track he's made in a minute, iHope this new 'Ye/College Dropout 'Ye is here to stay. He's sampled King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man and it woooorx. UMG's blocked all content on YouChoob so click on Nah Right for a free listen and download.
(be sure to get the $ingle when it officially drops)


I'm livin' in the 21st century
Doin' something mean to it
Do it better than anybody you ever seen do it
Screams from the '80s, got a nice ring to it
I guess every superhero need his own theme music
No one man should have all that power
The clock's tickin', I just count the hours
Stop trippin', I'm trippin' off the power

(21st century schizoid man)

The system broken, the schools closed, the prisons open
We ain't got nothin' to lose, ma'fu*ka, we rollin'
Huh? Ma'f*cka, we rollin'
With some light - skinned girls and some Kelly Rowlands
In this white man world, we the ones chosen
So goodnight, cruel world, I see you in the mornin'
Huh? I see you in the mornin'
This is way too much, I need a moment

No one man should have all that power
The clock's tickin', I just count the hours
Stop trippin', trippin' off the power
˜Til then, fuck that, the world's ours

And then they
And then they
And then they
And then they

(21st century schizoid man)

F*ck SNL and the whole cast
Tell 'em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass
More specifically, they can kiss my asshole
I'm an asshole? You n*ggas got jugs
You short - minded n*ggas thoughts is Napoleon
My furs is Mongolian, my ice, brought the Dodies in
Now I embody every characteristic of the egotistic
He know, he so, f*ckin' gifted
I just needed time alone, with my own thoughts
Got treasures in my mind, but couldn't open up my own vault
My childlike creativity, purity and honesty
Is honestly being prodded by these grown thoughts
Reality is catchin' up with me
Takin' my inner child, I'm fighting for it, custody
With these responsibilities that they entrusted me
As I look down at my dia-mond-encrusted piece

N*gga, no one man should have all that power
The clock's tickin', I just count the hours
Stop trippin', I'm trippin' off the power
˜Til then, f*ck that, the world's ours

And then they
And then they
And then they
And then they
And then they
And then they

(21st century schizoid man)

Holy, powers, Austin, Powers
Lost in translation with a whole f*ckin' nation
They say I was the obamanation of Obama's nation
Well, that's a pretty bad way to start the conversation
At the end of day, goddammit, I'm killin' this sh*t
I know damn well y'all feelin' this shit

I don't need yo p*ssy, b*tch, I'm on my own d*ck
I ain't gotta power trip, who you goin' home with?
How 'Ye doin'? I'm survivin'
I was drinkin' earlier, now I'm drivin'
Where the bad b*tches, huh? Where ya hidin'?
I got the power, make yo' life so excitin' (So excitin')

Now this'll be a beautiful death
Jumpin' out the window
Lettin' everything go
Lettin' everything go

Now this'll be a beautiful death
Jumpin' out the window
Lettin' everything go
Lettin' everything go

Now this'll be a beautiful death
Jumpin' out the window
Lettin' everything go
Lettin' everything go
Now this'll be a beautiful death
Jumpin' out the window
Lettin' everything go
Lettin' everything go
You got the power to let power come


In DOPE Music We Trust.

Destination Dollarbill$

This track by Wanlov (Ghana) is on a compilation of emcees & singers on the experience of leaving their home country to another neighbouring or outside of Africa. Its set to drop on the 14th of June and some of the artists include Wanlov - Green Card, K'naan - 15 Minutes Away and Zubz - A Time to Heal . TBH iAint too thrilled about the album title, Yes We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa - overkill much? And given that Zubz's song is about reconciliation in Zimbabwe and hoping the Unity Govt will work. It would have been better if Batanai : A Tale of Two Cities or the dope hidden track featuring Zubz on Tumi's Whole World's album had been included, but still that's abt SA xenophobia not leaving Mama A....iDon't know about the appropriateness of the title.
The cover's got bling v poverty with some Djimon Hounsou lookalike...again, iDon't know about that. Not. A. Good. Look. Anutha thing is that bec I've heard most of the tracks before, so this is a 50/50 download for me....On the plus side, I'd like to hear Daara J's (Senegal) track which was apparently made especially for this album and some of the other songs I've not heard before and maybe the 'complilation effect' may make it worth copping after sampling.
It will be available on iTunes and Amazon.

stumbled on story @ thisisafrica

Thursday, 27 May 2010


This is a choooon! Its been out for a few months now, but my friend hipped me to it only 3wks ago. Basically it's about leaving home in search of love and the singer tells his younger brother to write letters to him or sing the childhood song - hence the kids singing the song. It's a Chewa song that kids growing up in Zim singing - 'cept they cut off the end of the song, where you say 'Amina ju jeksen' where you  poke your playing partner in the you know where...
It's not often that you get Masvingo (aka Massies/Vegas) repping on the urban music scene. Faaar less common is Coloured (Mixed Race) & Indian peoples singing/rapping in Shona, so big ups to these brothas for putting multicultural Zim on the map.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Africa Day

We stand today on the stage of world affairs, before the audience of world opinion. We have come together to assert our role in the direction of world affairs and to discharge our duty to the great continent whose two hundred fifty million people we lead. Africa is today at mid- course, in transition from the Africa of yesterday to the Africa of tomorrow. Even as we stand here we move from the past into the future. The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa, will not wait. We must act, to shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they pass into history.
H.I.M. Haile Selassie I
extract from OAU speech , May 25 ,1963 African Summit

Happy Africa Day

Monday, 24 May 2010

Yinka in a Bottle

Black Gold

Reverend on Ice 

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

This is a replica of Lord Nelson's ship Victory set inside a giant bottle, by artist Yinka Shonibare which was unveiled today 24th May, 2010 (eve of Africa Day) at the the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London. It is a 1/30th replica of Nelson's flagship Victory, on which Lord Nelson died during the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. It has, like the original, 37 sails, with 31 set as on the battle day for a light wind. It carries 80 cannons, on deck and almost invisible below deck, and the materials are traditional oak and hardwood, brass, twine and canvas. The sails look like Shonibare's trademark African cottons, woven in England and printed with African patterns for export, which he buys in Brixton market and has used repeatedly to subvert iconic pieces of western art. They are actually made of traditional sail canvas, hand-sewn, and hand printed in batik designs by the artist.

All hands on deck.
once again blogger's size limitations lemme down,
 hope it's evident those are actual people inside the bottle...that's just how big it is. 

Yinka Shonibare with a smaller model of the bottle.
Behind him is Girl on a Flying Machine (2008).

pics and words jacked from The Guardian/Andy Hall/Getty Images

Naija Art

The Fire Next Time

It is a full moon
The recipient of a thousand
Folklore told by toothless griots
And matriarchal grandmothers
Here is the history book
Where warriors and heroes
Become myth and martyr
Also the laughing canvass
Where eunuchs are painted with mockery
And their balls hung dry like
Dry fruits

extract from the poem Full Moon by Victor Ehikhamenor

Point of View
and I'll say it again, blogger's pic margins suck!

Victor Ehikhamenor was born in Edo State, Nigeria, and grew up sorrounded by the folk traditions, spiritual festivals and art that now flower in his paintings and poems. He says of his works, "I am looking beyond the surface of everything…to commune with the spirits I have to look beyond the surface. And if we all do we will be surprised at what we see."

from Nigerians in

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Ten Days in Africa

Regi Allen travels to three West African countries to discover for himself the truth behind the myths that separate black identity in Africa from black identity in the Diaspora.
There's a shorter version which is woven more tightly; stylistically its better and sums up the whole film pretty nicely in 8:20 mins, unfortunately I couldn't embed or download & upload.

Friday, 21 May 2010

postcard from burma...

pic by Steve McMurry
Mandalay, Burma 2010
jacked from The Hairdryer Treatment (Tumblr)
*this shrunk version doesn't do this foto justice : ( click here for a better pic.

postcard from cape verde...

pic jacked from

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Bu'n Fifa

2010 world cup fifa blues

brand your own sperm
brand your own bad
breath brand your
own shit jobbies
brand your
your mother’s
cremation brand
your father’s autopsy
brand hitler’s moustache
brand churchill’s cigar brand
marilyn monroe’s mouth brand
jesus’ side wound brand mohammed
brand moses brand krishna brand vishnu
brand the fucking moon brand the sun brand
your wife’s ovaries brand your son’s tonsils brand
your acne brand your dandruff brand your piles brand
the phlegm that you cough up from your branded lungs

brand the slaves
brand the masters
too brand the germans
brand the jews brand the footballs
mostly brand the fucking footballs
brand fifa fuck fifa fuck football
fuck a world that has become
so stupid that soccer is more
important than any other
human activity shove
your brands up your
fucking arses you
all deserve what
you fucking get
brand this
me too
yes brand
me “fuck you”

by Kgafela oa Magogodi
kaganof blog entry may 11 2010 21:37

The Genius That Is, Kgafela oa Magogadi

Johannesburg is historically ‘the city of the white man.’ We hope it has changed. Pass laws are now applied to Africans from the rest of the continent. The darker you are the more ‘illegal’ you look. Who bothers foreigners who look ‘legal’? Is it a Pan-African city in which the whiter or lighter you are, the more ‘legal’ you look. The idea of a Pan-African City is tricky. What does it mean? Is it because there are so many African people impacting on the city’s temperament? Do these Africans beat drums? What is a Pan-European City like? Is it like Cape Town? Is Durban Pan-Indian? Back to Johannesburg; there is the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg for Indian businesses. There’s Chinatown around Bruma Lake. Is it about ownership? Africans own which part of the city? Africans are either struggling to pay the rent or they trade from street pavements. Is this what we mean by Pan-African spaces? … Africans always looking out for police … Police always raiding ‘illegal’ African vendors… I really need to be advised about the meaning of a Pan-African City. 

I grappled with this in Itchy City:

sobukwe’s flock grow cabbages and sweet potatoes on street pavements to feed clothe and school the children school the children teach them to walk on fire, who says the fire is fictitious, it’s a furious figment of the city’s madness, we point fingers at Nigerians, but who is shooting poison in the arms of wingless angels, heaven help us.

extract appears in the essay "Johannesburg" by Jyoti Mistry in the African Cities Reader, April 2010.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A Negroid Type

Carrie Mae Weems's haunting late twentieth- 
century images of naked and scarred black women and men have
their origins in a series of ‘slave daguerreotypes’ produced over one hundred and fifty years ago. In 1850, European scientist, Louis Agassiz,commissioned white American daguerreotypist, Joseph T. Zealy, to create fifteen views of seven slaves belonging to different tribal groups in Africa. These images are all that are now left of the lives of Alfred from the Foulah tribe, Jem from the Gullah, Fassena from the Mandingo and two sets of fathers and daughters, Jack and Drana from the Guinea and Renty and Delia from the Congo, all of whom were kidnapped or born into slavery in the American south. Mired in a nineteenth-century visual language of scientific racism, the black, white and grey textures of these original silver plates illuminate the lines, scars, bones and veins. of these women and men. Just as they provide intimate views of their physiognomies, musculature and genitalia, these images tell us nothing concerning the untold lives of these enslaved Africans.

extract from Introduction of African American Visual Arts, by Celeste-Marie Bernier
(a book worth reading for art crit types)
"My responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the rooftops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specificity of our historical moment."
- Carrie Mae Weems

Farsi Denims


pyjama coups and farsi denims
hang inside my closet
wedged between peace and revolution
for the bargain price of buyonegetonefree,
in the heat of june's power sales.

a color match strikes into a restless flame
of crushed denim and glitzy green scarves
dying the ocean red
giving it the texture of hardness
only the kiss of lead
can give.

it's a death only
beatnik mermaids vibin'
to breakbeats,
on oceanfloors
can resurrect.

and in this trance their
sequined swishing tails
can turn red seas back to blue.

copyright konwomyn 2009, to be published.

i wrote this almost a year ago when neda soltani died - yes the iranian girl even tho' the references are quite obscure. that's the whole point of poetry right - to be obscure, yet creative in your craft, not to the point that no one understands you, but with the right degree of mix of creativity and obscurity to reflect or make comment on how life is lived. dunno if it works here, but ay fashion makes a good metaphor. ; )

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Fashionistas of The Congo!

The word “Sapeur” is derived from SAPE, an acronym for the movement itself, Société des Ambianceurs et Persons Élégants. The word sape, perhaps not accidentally, also means “to dress with elegance and style” in French. The roots of this male movement can be traced back to 1920s and 30s when the first privileged Congolese who had spent time in France returned with wardrobes of dapper suits. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that the cult of style really took off, thanks to musician and singer Papa Wemba.

Multiple trips to Paris in the early 1980s only fueled his fever for French fashion, and Papa Wemba soon developed a flamboyant, exaggerated style that was in direct opposition to the Mobutu-approved uniform, the dreaded abacost (from the French “à bas le costume,” or “down with the suit”), a dull Zairean version of the three-piece suit. He called his new style Ungaru, and it was a throwback to the elegance of the 1930s—complete with tapered trousers, brogues, neatly trimmed hair and tweed hats worn at a rakish angle. For Congolese all over the world, the look was irresistible. SAPE was born.

A Sapeur, by definition is a non-violent person, despite the 3 civil wars that have taken place since the independence. They stand for an exquisite morality, but as they say “There can only be Sape when there is peace”. They represent an illusion that has been supported by the government itself, trying to normalize a post-war situation. The SAPE interrupted its activities when the civil war started in 1997, and did not reinitiate its activities until 2002. Their motto became “Let’s drop the weapons, let us work and dress elegantly.”

Old school Sapeurs often spent years saving up for outfits.They started out by renting or borrowing suits from their more established peers. However, many of the new generation don’t like to wait that long, and they’re not so fussy either when it comes to sources of income to fund their passion, as Edmund Sandars reports:

"Indeed the great Papa Wemba himself needed more than concert fees and album royalties to pay for his stylish gear. It is obvious that there is an inconsistency between the way they live and the way they dress.” Even wealthy Papa Wemba had to resort to tricks to keep himself in Cavalli—soliciting money for working the names of fellow sapeurs into his songs and, recently, charging upwards of US$4,000 for smuggling Congolese men and women into Europe disguised as members of his band, which led to his arrest in France in 2003 (whereupon there were riots in Kinshasa)."
Within the SAPE movement there are rivalries and affiliations. Paris vs Brussels, Brazzaville vs Kinshasa, Bacongo vs Mungali. It is total fashion warfare. The rules of engagement also differ from gang to gang. The Brazzaville Sapeurs tend to follow the three colours only rule. Meanwhile in Kinshasa it’s all about going overboard. Sapeurs don’t dress up all the time either. “Fight days” are limited to once every week or so, and the combat arenas are the local outdoor bars on Avenue Matsoua.

Ironically Papa Wemba converted to Christianity whilst serving his prison sentence. He is no longer an advocate for 5,000 dollar suits. A number of his contemporaries now also express sadness at having spent so much money on SAPE. King Kester Emeneya lamented, “I really regret it. We set a bad example. If I had invested my money instead, I would own several houses. It was like a drug.”

However, judging by the amount of Paul Smith suits on display at club La Main Bleue on Sunday nights, the younger devotees have no intention of turning their backs on the “cult of the cloth”.

pic by Daniele Tamagni

Words from AfricaFeed.

Pics jacked from Héctor Mediavilla Sabaté who has been studying and photographing the Sapeurs since 2003. 
Please checkout his amaaazing pictoral collection here,
pity blogger won't let me post Adobe flash pix.

TruthisTimeless: The Last Poets

Madiba Covers Esquire

                                                                                                                 fisttap AfricaIsACountry
The Spainish Edition of Esquire - May Issue

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

"There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.
There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear
and want and that they can grow up in peace."
- Kofi Annan

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Tory Party: defending the rich and attacking the poor since 1678.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Welcome To Lagos

Welcome to Lagos from Oo Nwoye on Vimeo.

Welcome to Lagos is a three part documentary that was aired on BBC2 quite recently in the UK. It follows the lives of several slum dwellers in this Nigerian megacity and shows how resilience and resourcefulness are key to survival in the slums. Admittedly, when I first read the series byline on iPlayer I was put off and thought 'here we go again: let's glamorize these piss poor Africans', but I recently saw a piece in The Guardian in which Wole Soyinka is reported as being highly critical of the show. Soyinka argues that the show reinforces colonialist stereotypes of Nigerians which in the 21st century show the people to be primitive and extremely impoverished. This criticism prompted me to watch all three shows this morning but primarily because the dreamwell had run dry at about 5 a.m and sleep could not be summoned back.

I co-sign with Soyinka to an extent, but I also appreciate the docu for what it reinforced about the power of community, faith and culture. Significantly, the indomitable survival spirit of the Lagos slum dwellers is an observable truth that resonates in the narratives of poor people all over the planet. The docu also made a very salient point about the crucial importance telling one's own stories. Nigerian writers, Chris Abani and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie both convincingly argue that there is not one story that is truth, but many stories and stories that must be told by their owner. Given that Nigeria and its Diaspora has established media streams like BEN TV and Nollywood so why is there a continued dominance of others telling the stories of Nigerians? I find it hard, if not false to believe that there are no upcoming Nigerian documentary filmmakers (post Akin Omotoso's generation) interested in these sorts of social issues, and I find it even harder to believe that these narratives would be of no interest and/or are un-marketable to BEN TV or Nollywood. I hope I am very wrong about that.

What I found patronising about the show is voice of the narrator, David Harewood. His script and his happy-go-lucky tone are ever-so condescending and it grated on me throughout each episode! Another criticism I would make is that it felt suffocating seeing Lagos through slum eyes, like there was nothing else to the city - yes I know watching this film 3 hours straight can be a li'l 1xtra - but because there are so few documentaries on present-day Nigeria, it would have been nice to see other parts of it.
This Is Africa drops this gem of truth:
If the only documentaries about the UK seen by the world's TV viewing audience were about poverty and teen pregnancies in places like Salford, or about the country's prison population, or about football hooligans and the far-right doing Nazi salutes, I don't think the UK government would be particularly thrilled. So it is understandable that Nigeria's federal government has lodged a formal complaint against the BBC for portraying Lagos as a slum. 
Co-sign 100!

Continuous, singular narrativization of a nation as diverse and as dynamic as Nigeria, however well-meaning, is not accurate representation; potraying poverty through different lenses is still poverty porn and this has got to change. In the politrix of representation, more native playas need to step-up and assume the role of storyteller, not character and dominate these MSM platforms. I'd like to see how if presented with the opportunity Soyinka, having been involved in several documentary projects, might alternatively represent the slums of Lagos, places home to +-7 million of the city's 11 million and growing.

Best of all iLoooved the soundtrack. A few choons here n there coulda been missed, but there is some excellent Naija music out there, oh! Some of the characters and the poverty situation, I could relate to with my own country, but those gory slaughterings - JAAAH! That was much too much for me. At times some of the scenes felt invasive and glamorised these abject conditions - almost naked Black bodies bathing in a scrapyard mmm poverty porn, much? One blogger, Bunmi Olurontoba has accurately described this sort of film trend as slumsploitation, of the Slumdog Millionaire type, and unlike him, I certainly wouldn't include City of God or The Wire on that list.
But, I digress. I also wondered about the impact of all that activity on the enviroment especially episodes 2 and 3, the narrator never addressed that nor did any of the people.
I'm not pushing for a follow-up series, well maybe without David Harewood's voice, but I'd be interested to know what happened to each of the main speakers. Finally I'd like to know how the Beeb will respond to the Nigerian government's complaint...

Sunday, 2 May 2010

in the mood for revolution

               ...and chronically homesick, hapana chakanka f'real

Open up, Open up!

                 fisttap AfricaIsACountry for image
I've always argued that the concept of the nation state with arbitrarily drawn borders is a political fiction which is fast becoming outmoded due to the rise of supranational institutions and the ever-increasing power of multinational coroporations. In the face of these two juggernauts, the function of the state becomes that of agent and henchman - the one who provides a market for freely moving goods and at the same time prevents the free movement of persons. Immigration control is a form of selective policing - depending on the passport you hold, your movements are controlled. Now in Arizona; race and economic status are the arbitrary tools to identify 'illegal immigrants'. What exactly does an illegal migrant look like? Latino. Poor. Speaks Little English. Has Shifty Eyes...What??? 
Yet this territory legally belongs to Mexico anyway, so who are these lawmaking eedjits to be legalizing racial profiling and anti-immigrant laws? Needless to say if all the currently undocumented and illegal peoples left the U.S today, the economy would take a huge hit...Mmm that wouldn't be such a bad thing now would it?

And in all seriousness, watchout Africans and Arabs in Europe, you're next. Italy's already got the ball rolling.

Congo, weGo Hard, weGo Hard!


Baloji is just the phunkiest, most stylish emcee on the Continent - his vintage throwbacks are just on anutha level.

Baloji's been in the game for quite a few years now and musically he just keeps getting beta and beta, visually, he's untouchable.
The top vid is shot on the streets of Kinshasa at the site where Mohammed Ali fought George Foreman.
Karibu Ya Bintou (“Welcome to Life in Limbo”) is a short film with music from the 2010 album ‘Kinshasa Succursale’ by Baloji. Electric finger piano (likembé): played by Konono N°1, the legendary Congolese band who collaborated with Björk & count Vampire Weekend and Beck amongst their biggest fans. (fisttapAfricaIsACountry)

This second vid is shot in the "Bon marché" (Barumbu) neighbourhood, at the heart of Kinshasa, featuring the late Wendo Kolosoy’s backing band, "Indépendance cha-cha - Le jour d'après" is a new take on the African independence anthem written in 1960 by Joseph "grand kallé" Kabasele and Nicolas " dr. nico" Kassanda.
"The wide range of backgrounds, the various ethnic groups and traditions: this has and will never stand in the way of sharing a common set of ambitions." 

Checkout his MySpace page, it's so retro yet so 2010, so phresh yet so classic. laaav it.

In DOPE Music We Trust!