Jay-Z Associates Africa With US Hip-Hop Bling Culture

Confused?: Jay-Z

Confused or Connected?: Jay-Z (C: Annansi.com)

Jigga, (as US rapper Sean Carter(Jay-Z) is otherwise known) made reference to Africa in a track from his latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail, via a sample of late fellow American rapper Pimp C. The song, entitled F**kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt featuring Rick Ross, opens with a recording of the late UGK (Under Ground Kings) rapper’s post jail-release interview. In the recording, Pimp C attributes his rush to blinging-up after jail-release to his African heritage.

The bilng culture (wearing shiny gold and diamond chains, finger rings, earrings and even teeth) is synonymous with Rap/Hip-hop artists, the culture and the music itself.

Here is what Pimp C said in a part of the  audio sample, “The reason why we like this, this jewelry and this diamonds and stuff, they don’t understand is, because we really from Africa, and that’s where all this stuff come from.” Jay-Z took the sample and made it a part of his song which talks about going for shopping in affluent parts of Europe and of course features a lot of standard US rap profanities. Rick Ross does not go out of his usual script, mentioning the word b*tch after every 2 to 3 bars. Although wrongfully blunt, the pseudo-rap-song is satisfactory club material. I will rock to it any minute.

But, was Africa really ever about men and women walking around with necks laden with gold and diamond chains, gouging out our teeth for diamond and gold alternatives. I mean, is the African American culture really representative of African culture? Please correct Jay-Z/Pimp C (RIP)/Rick Ross if you disagree or endorse them if you agree .  While addressing that bit, please take note of the fact that Jay-Z’s main protoge’s, Kanye West allegedly gouged out a number of his bottom row teeth and replaced them with diamond ones a couple of years ago, just to promote an album.

The full transcript of the featured part of Pimp C’s recording is as below;

A little over a year ago I was in bondage, and now I’m back out here reaping the blessings and getting the benefits that go along with it, everything that’s out here for kings like us. The reason why we like this, this jewelry and this diamonds and stuff, they don’t understand is, because we really from Africa, and that’s where all this stuff come from. And we originated from kings, you know what I’m saying? So don’t look down on the youngsters because they wanna have shiny things. It’s in our genes, know what I’m saying? We just don’t all know our history, so—

Apparently, Pimp C succumbed to respiratory depression due to an overdose of promethazine and codeine (another current US Hip-hop staple) coupled with a preexisting sleep apnea condition in late 2007, while in his hotel room. Like many other Southern rappers, Pimp C frequently referenced the recreational consumption of “syrup” in his music.

Nonetheless, it’s not like these guys are ignorant of Africa and the African way of life. Jay-Z has done a charity based documentary/project to bring clean water to some disadvantaged African communities in the past and he has worked on the Fela broadway project, in order to bring awareness to the works of the Afrobeats legend. Rick Ross has collaborated with major Nigerian act P-Square and has frequented Nigeria quite a number of times to do shows and record videos.

Where do you draw the lines between African American Hip Hop Clulture and African Culture or are the two cultures identical?


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