In Celebration of #June12: 8 Conscious Songs You Should Know
Today, June 12th is the day late Nigerian politician MKO Abiola won the 1993 elections but it was annulled by the then-military ruler Sani Abacha with the present Nigerian president declaring it as the new Democracy day. We celebrate with some of the best conscious tracks by African musicians (take the comment box and suggest any conscious song you think is as dope)
See list below:
“Rara” by Tekno
This was one of the most unexpectedly record from rave of the moment. Away from all the “Lamba” Nigerian artiste Tekno is known for, The ‘Pana’ singer returned with something quite different – An Afrobeat tune dubbed “Rara” that’s not just fantastic but also has a strong message – talking about all the happenings within the country at this time.
“Questions” by Black Noise
Formed in 1988, Black Noise is considered South Africa’s first hip-hop crew. The group was immersed in all aspects of hip hop, including graffiti and breakdancing, and in 1997, they took third place in the Germany’s breakdancing Battle of the Year. Black Noise was comprised of South African activists, and their political stances came through in songs like “Questions,” in which they question the suffering of South Africans.
The group still exists today, but Emile Jansen is the only remaining founding member.
“Patience and Goodluck | Money Launderers and HeartBreakers” by Brymo
Brymo is a larger-than-life and philosophical songwriter and this is one of his most poetic and conscious record off the ‘Oso’ project. The record takes on two of the most controversial figures in Nigerian political space even up until now – after their exit as first family. Brymo is as conscious as he talks love and more on this record. “Money Lauderers and Heartbreakers” is another of those brilliant records on the album.
“Kaffir” by Arthur Mafokate
Kwaito and African Hiphop is a mix. Kwaito for those who don’t know is a South African variant of house music and “Kaffir” was one of the first and most popular kwaito songs, written by Arthur Mafokate in response to political liberation in South Africa. Band member Mafokate and a female singer repeat “Don’t call me a kaffir” – The word “kaffir” was once a neutral term for South African blacks but became a highly offensive slur during Apartheid.
“Respect the Nubians” by Positive Black Soul
Positive Black Soul was formed by a group of Senegalese activists in 1989. Like many of the artists on our list, the group raps in multiple languages, including English, French, and Wolof, and incorporates traditional Senegalese instruments. “Respect the Nubians” starts off with traditional Senegalese singing and transitions to an N.W.A.-esque beat, over which Positive Black Soul sing-raps in the style of Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony.
“Leila” by Angélique Kidjo
In an interview with Amnesty International, Angélique Kidjo speaks on the conflict in Darfur and asks, “How can we talk about peace, when fundamental rights are not being respected?” The outspoken Grammy-award winning songstress has made a career of speaking on some of the continent’s most controversial topics and singing songs like “Leila” for international humanitarian efforts. Kidjo has worked with organizations like the Mo Ibrahim foundation and UNICEF to bring attention to health and education issues in Africa’s communities. As co-founder of the Batonga foundation, she now advocates for the increased access of education for girls around the world.
“Is Police your Friend” by Ruggedman
Ruggedman has always been fearless and controversial since his breakout. ‘Is Polie your Friend’ is protest music as it should be, with real life police prutality clips in the video.
“This is Nigeria” by Falz
Falz gave his rendition of the viral Childish Gambino’s This is America and it was a trending topic for over 4 days with the Muslim body – MURIC asking that he brought down the video over a scene where Ladies dressed in Hijab were dancing the popular ‘Shaku Shaku’ dance.