8.21.2012

Afternoon Afrobeat (#11): "Africa" by X Plastaz


I was going to try to scrounge up an Ethiopian track today given the fact that PM Meles Zenawi’s death has put Ethiopia on the front cover of newspapers, but during my iTunes dig I rediscovered this song and figured it is also applicable to political events this week in Africa.

So today I ended up choosing the song Africa by the Tanzanian hip-hop band, X Plastaz. Although I’m relatively unfamiliar with other X Plastaz songs, I’m pretty in love with this one.

X Plastaz is a group made up of three brothers and their younger brother and sister (ages 13 and 11) and another one of their friends. They classify their music as Maasai hip-hop which, according to them, is “a unique mixture of traditional Maasai chanting andelements from hip hop, dancehall and even Hindi music”. They have politically, economically, and socially conscious lyrics that discuss topics relatable to the youth of Africa, such as unemployment, war, famine, politics, AIDS, health, peace, and life in prison.  

The group formerly consisted of another member, Faza Nelly, who unfortunately died in a stabbing incident between two quarreling neighbors. In spite of his death, X Plastaz lived on and carried on Faza Nelly's socially conscious messages.

The song above discusses many issues that plague Africa such as bad governance, poverty, and lack of social services. Although the song is not sung in English (I’m assuming it’s Swahili), it has English subtitles – and the lyrics pretty much speak for themselves:

We don’t live to solve. We live to inherit bad governance systems of our predecessors…’Fake’ is a word or phrase right before the word ‘democracy’.

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