Video

South Africa's Motswako Originator Khuli Chana Spends A Day Out In NYC With Okayafrica TV

South African "Motswako Originator" Khuli Chana spends a day out in New York City with Okayafrica TV.


South Africa's Khuli Chana (a.k.a. Khulane Morule) is the "Originator" of Motswako, a clan of proudly Mzansi rappers that rhyme in a mixture of Setswana, English and a number of other vernaculars. The Mafikeng born and bred emcee recently set out on a trip to the US to collect his first international award (for Best Male Southern Africa) at the African Muzik Magazine Awards in Dallas. When we found out he'd be making a stop in NYC we knew we'd have to document the Maftown King's New York minute. Thankfully Okayafrica TV had the chance to spend a day out with Chana as he embarked on a cross-borough photo shoot with NY-based photographer Gugu Lethu. It was a day filled with firsts– from his first time in an American diner (where he shared his New York dreams, like meeting Jay Z), to his very first encounter with Times Square (you can't even compare it to a "Joburg on steroids," he says). The cameras were also rolling when Chana opened up for the first time about his "situation" with South African police last October. Watch this and more in a Day Out With South Africa's Khuli Chana on Okayafrica TV below.

Producer: Allison Swank

Videographers:

Jake Remington, and Lance Steagall

(Collabo!)

Editor: Jake Remington

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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