Video: Rap Speaks To Politics

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It's no secret that rap is political. A recent New York Times article highlights various songs and MCs who've made a real impact on revolutionary movements in the Middle East and Africa - sometimes paying a serious price for their rhymes. DIY production and social media have made it possible to spread the word of MCs like El Général, AKA the voice of Tunisia, who has been imprisoned. El Général's song, "Head Of State" (video above) helped spur public outcry that ultimately ousted President Ben Ali. OKA fav Keyti from Senegal, and Mohamed el Deeb from Egypt (below) were shown love for their outspoken politics. When interviewed, Deeb rightfully noted that “shallow pop music and love songs got heavy airplay on the radio, but when the revolution broke out, people woke up and refused to accept shallow music with no substance.”

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Photo: Nick Beeba

Interview: Sango's ‘Da Rocinha 4’ Is a Polished & Grinding Take On Baile Funk

We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.

It's a common joke in Brazil: once three or more Brazilian people gather together, they will start a WhatsApp group. The producer and DJ Kai Wright, who goes by the alias Sango, is well aware of that. While he is giving this interview through a Zoom call, a sound notification pops from his computer. "Do you hear that?" he says, amidst laughs. "It's WhatsApp, this album was made through WhatsApp groups."

Once and for all, Sango is not Brazilian. "I am an ambassador for that sound, but I am a Black American," he says. "That sound" is baile funk, the most prominent Brazilian electronic and popular music of the past decades. Born in Michigan and based in Seattle, Sango became a beacon for a new strain of baile funk around 2012, when he released the album Da Rocinha—a suite that he revisits in his new release, Da Rocinha 4.

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In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.