African 669: African HipHop and Politics

Damon Sajnani

3 credits

Undergraduate & Graduate

A decade after HipHop’s fabled 1970s origins in the Bronx, New York, the culture began to take hold in South Africa and Senegal. Several decades later, HipHop has become a major cultural force across the African continent. While scholars and journalists commonly lament the decline of overtly political rap in the U.S., African HipHop—from South Africa to Tunisia, and Kenya to Senegal—is associated with political protest, democratic movements, and the toppling of regimes. This course explores the history, politics, and political economy of HipHop in Africa. We will consider cases from all five regions of the continent to explore how HipHop, a quintessential manifestation of African American culture, has been adopted and adapted by African youth to express their local concerns and shape their immediate environments, while at the same time constructing a diasporic African sensibility and “cultural citizenship” that transcends boarders and oceans.