Interview: Ladipoe Is the 'Leader of the Revival'

Mavin Records' Ladipoe has become one of Nigeria's hip-hop stars. We caught up with him to talk about how he got into rap, what he's currently working on, and what makes him tick.

The true meaning of hip-hop in African contexts has perpetually been the subject of an identity struggle between rapper and listener. What does African hip-hop truly mean and sound like to us?

Decades have passed and the question still casts a dark shadow over a genre that's struggled to be as popular as Afrobeats, Afropop, and other alternative sounds. However, a glance at the amount of recent African hip-hop hits hints that the ebb and flow of interest seems to be moving in hip-hop's favor. The most recent artist at the helm of African hip-hop charting success is Nigerian rapper Ladipoe.

On meeting Ladipoe, a simple answer was presented to me: our hip-hop is simply fusion, that's the only way it can live up to our expectations of it. For a genre born from a place of racial struggle––an issue we don't overtly relive on a daily basis––we have to identify with it in our own way. Through melody, by merging hip-hop with the poppy, introspective, drum driven, upbeat elements that make up the African sound, we can arrive at something that we understand and call our own.

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