Samuel Bazawule was born in Accra, Ghana in April 1982. He is the third of four children and attended the renowned Achimota School. While in school he amassed awards for his visual art, but later developed an obsession with hip hop music after hearing his older brother play the classic Public Enemy album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Drawing on his love for history and social observation, he began to research and write historically-loaded rhymes for which he became famous in school: “I had never heard young Black people express themselves in that way before.”
After graduation from Achimota School in 2000, Blitz (as he had come to be known) was first recognized by Ghanaian Ace producer Hammer of The Last Two. Blitz was asked to come to the studio the next day after delivering an impressive eight bars upon meeting Hammer, who wasted no time in putting him on wax. He recorded a verse on the song Deeba and – in the fashion of one of his idols, Nas, gained instant notoriety and received an award for best new artist at the 2000 Ghana Music Awards. Soon after, in 2001, he moved to the USA to study at Kent State University in Ohio. It was while studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration that he developed his skills as a live artist, performing at several live shows and opening for iconic rappers such as Rakim as well as recording a self-released album, Soul Rebel (2004), under the moniker Blitz.
After graduation, Blitz moved to New York City to pursue his dream. In NYC, Blitz recorded another album, Double Consciousness (2005), and more recently he released Stereotype, a live-instrument-heavy musical exploration, that tests the limits of Hip Hop. Drawing from his diverse musical background, he immersed himself in the project with explicit intent of changing Hip Hop forever. In order to achieve the live sound he was looking for, he formed a band, The Embassy Ensemble, and brushed off his own djembe skills.
After three long years of recording, Blitz took the album to several major labels. Getting the major label run around one too many times, Blitz decided to go it alone. He established a label, Embassy MVMT and is now connected to The Roots community initiative Okayplayer.
In late 2009, he was chosen as of one Beyond Race Magazine’s “50 Emerging Artists,” resulting in a spot in the publication’s #11 issue (with Bodega Girls and J. Cole on the cover), as well as an exclusive Q&A for the magazine’s site.
In 2011, he released “Feelin’ High” with the French singer Ben Mazue, and in 2012, we can hear him on the album Tetra of the French electronic crew C2C. Credit: Wikipedia
Happy International Women’s Day! It’s been a perfect day for listening to an assortment of African music. #musicfriendsofTenaciousM enjoy!
Prophets of Da City (POC) is a hip hop crew from Cape Town, South Africa. They are composed of about eight members, though the exact membership fluctuates frequently; these include Ishmael Morabe (vocals), Mark Heuvel (dance), Shaheen Ariefdien, Ramone and DJ Ready D. Their style uses elements of hip hop music, reggae and traditional African rhythms. Their albums include Our World (1990), Boom Style (1992), Age of Truth (1993), Phunk Phlow (1994), Universal Souljaz (1995), and Ghetto Code (1997). They are currently signed under the independent record label Ghetto Ruff. Credit: Wikipedia
Nomfusi was born in the township of KwaZhakele in the Eastern Cape. Her single mother, Kwazibani (“Who Knows?” in English) raised her while her father languished in jail for 21 years. A domestic worker by day, Kwazibani was a sangoma (African medicine woman) with a gift for music. Nomfusi would accompany her mother to the weekly sangoma rituals (“Intlombe”) where Nomfusi would develop her musicality by dancing and singing for hours. Today she is a two time SAMA nominee, Metro FM Award nominee and has multiple local and international tours under her belt. Credit: Wikipedia
Sonny Okosun (January 1, 1947 in Enugu, Nigeria– May 24, 2008 in Washington DC) was a musician from Nigeria. His surname is sometimes spelled Okosuns and first name Sunny. He was one of the leading Nigerian musicians from the late 1970s to mid ’80s.
His first band, The Postmen, was formed in Enugu in 1965. In 1969 he joined Melody Maestros, a band led by Victor Uwaifo. From 1972 to 1974 he led a group known as Paperback Limited and then formed a new band, Ozziddi. From then on, he released several albums either with Ozziddi, or solo recordings.
His 1977 song, “Fire in Soweto”, became a major international hit. He was featured in the anti-apartheid album Sun City, and his song “Highlife” was in the soundtrack of 1986 film Something Wild. His mainstream success started to fade in the late 1980s, but he continued his career as a gospel musician under the name Evangelist Sonny Okosun
He died aged 61 on 24 May 2008 at Howard University Hospital, Washington DC. His musical styles ranged included reggae, highlife, Afro-funk and gospel among others. He made music in the Edo language, Igbo language, Yoruba language and English. Credit: Wikipedia
Never discount the educational value of “Sex In The City”. It’s where I first became aware of french rap, specifically a rapper by the name of MC Solaar. “La Belle et Le Bad Boy” (The beauty and the bad boy) is the seventh song on the 2001 album Cinquième, and it was featured on the final episode of the show in 2004. I had to find out more about the artist and his origin.
MC Solaar, born Claude M’Barali, March 5, 1969, is a francophone hip hop and rap artist. He is one of the most internationally popular and influential hip hop artists. MC Solaar is known for his complex lyrics, which rely on word play, lyricism, and inquiry. In the English-speaking world, Solaar was signed by London acid jazz label Talkin’ Loud and recorded with British group Urban Species and the late Guru, member of the acclaimed New York duo Gang Starr.
M’Barali was born in Dakar, Senegal to parents from Chad. When he was six months old, due to the political troubles in Senegal, his parents emigrated to France where they settled in the Parisian suburbs; initially in Saint-Denis, subsequently Maisons-Alfort and finally Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. At twelve he went to live with an uncle in Cairo, Egypt for nine months where he discovered the Zulu Nation and became fascinated with the rapping styles of Afrika Bambaataa. He coined the stage name MC Solaar in his teens from his graffiti tags “SOAR” and “SOLAAR”. Credit: Wikipedia