Arts + Culture

Check Out This Kenyan Collective of Eccentric Hip-Hop Grandpas

Kenyan digital photographer Osborne Macharia does it again with his editorial follow-up to Kenya’s League of Extraordinary Grannies.

African Digital Art has uncovered another gem with Nairobi Watchmen.


It’s hard to follow up such an edgy-yet-fun editorial like Nyane: Kenya’s League of Extraordinary Grannies, which we reported on a few months ago, but Kenyan architect by trade-turned-digital photographer Osborne Macharia satisfies again.

This time with "Kabangu," a conceptual editorial that spotlights four muscular grandpas who do double-duty as hip-hop aficionados and security guards in Kariobangi, one of Nairobi’s settlements.

As true hip-hop heads, they’ve been following the evolution of the music genre since the 80s. The men have been teaming up to mentor aspiring artists looking to spit bars in the hip-hop industry. Honoring the five elements of the genre: MCing, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti and knowledge—the eccentric grandpa collective instill in their juniors the importance of principles such as peace, equality, prosperity and social justice.

Set your sights on the eye-poppin’ editorial below.

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Single cover. Still From YouTube.

Idris Elba Teams Up With Wiley, Sean Paul and Steflon Don on New Banger 'Boasty'

Yes, Idris Elba makes music too.

After it was announced earlier this month that Idris Elba is one of the many musical acts performing at Coachella this year, some folks on the internet were surprised to discover that the celebrated actor also makes music.

In fact, everyone's favorite zaddy DJ turned mega-actor, began his entertainment career as a pirate radio host. Elba reminds us that his music-making skills are still very much in tact on a banging new collaboration with British rapper Wiley "Boasty," which also features fellow British MC Steflon Don and Jamaican heavyweight Sean Paul.

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M.I Abaga 'A Study On Self Worth' album cover.

10 Albums That Prove Nigerian Rap Is Back On the Rise

Featuring Falz, M.I Abaga, Ice Prince, Poe, and more.

Until 2018, rap in Nigeria was all but dead. Lamba or party afropop blew up and became way more lucrative. There weren't too many rappers who were able to make commercial-yet-indigenous Nigerian rap music since the likes of MI Abaga and Ice Prince. More and more rappers were singing at the same time "Alte Cruise" was growing in Nigeria, trap was big in the US, grime was rediscovering itself in the UK and South Africa was at its most vital yet.

So what happened to Nigerian rappers? The big names were couched in the comfort of their pop status. The younger rappers were yet to find their voice and in these intervening years, lamba music just got bigger and bigger, and rap less lucrative. Whether planned or by coincidence, a slew of confident and well thought-out albums were released with the trend continuing in 2019.

Read on for our selection of the best new albums that prove Nigerian rap is back on the rise.

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Cassper Nyovest. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Op-Ed: Cassper Nyovest Says His Latest Album Is a Game Changer (It’s Not and Here's Why)

Sweet and Short is a great moment for South African hip-hop, but Cassper Nyovest is far from breaking any new ground sonically or culturally.

Sweet and Short, Cassper Nyovest's fourth album in as many years, sees the South African hip-hop superstar facing an existential crisis of sorts. He dubs his album a game changer, one that's revolutionizing South African hip-hop. Whether he does so or not is part of a larger question around his music, as an artist perpetually in between genres.

Whatever our evaluation of his musical output or the extent to which we measure his impact, what Sweet and Short highlights is how imperative music descriptors have become in Cassper's quest to stand out. This ironically devalues the very descriptors he employs in his attempt to do so. The problematizing that Cassper Nyovest (unintentionally) represents is not a new circumstance for two genres with a long love-hate relationship.

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