Back To Interviews Archive The Hip-Hop Headrush

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An African State of Mind

Words and photos by Taji Ali

The Hip-Hop Headrush takes you to West Africa where the Hip-Hop scene seems reflective of the rest of the African continent. The pressures of poverty and a lack of infrastructure are holding back a culture which has an amazing amount of talented devotees. American-born Hip-Hop is now officially a global culture with its influence extending far beyond it's humble South Bronx beginnings. To open your mind to what is going on in Africa, Taji started off in the capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan (also known as the "Paris of Africa").

At opening day of an art exhibition involving the youth of Abidjan's streets, the DJ takes a break from the R&B and traditional African music and succumbs to his urge to play some Hip-Hop. Until then, the place was dead. After a while, the young men are begging the DJ for the microphone. The DJ throws on an instrumental as they get in a cipher and take turns ripping the mic in French, English, and their native African tongues. After they're done, they dance tirelessly to the Hip-Hop sounds that vibrate through the city streets from the abandoned frame of a building where the art exhibition-turned-Hip-Hop-party is being held......

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