The African Hip-Hop Generation Arrives


I remember it like it was yesterday. My older brother had just returned from his freshman year of secondary school and the loud engine of my father’s old Nissan Stanza pulling into the compound had sent us all rushing to welcome him.

Amidst my parents chatter about his grades and how he’d lost weight, my brother signaled me to follow him. He pulled out a Sony Walkman and told me he had a new dance to teach me. I can’t remember exactly what he called it, only that it was similar to the running man.

The soundtrack to that dance was a sound I had never heard before: ‘Hip-Hop music.’ I spent the days that followed filled with immense curiosity, digging into this new sound. Years later, I would come to learn the names of the artists on that cassette tape: Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, KRS One, Salt & Pepa, and Public Enemy. This was my introduction to a culture that changed my life.



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