It has been 14 years since the passing of Biggie Smalls. I can well remember where I was in Africa when the news arrived. Unfortunately, we did not have the privilege of hearing or watch this on the news, neither did some of us have the internet. A phone call from a freind or family living in the US to the unknown receiver was probably how the information came in and by word of mouth it trickled down to the local community. “It was all a dream”, one of the well known hip-hop disciple to the new world of “African Hip-hop” was dead, right after Tupac. I remember the night biggie cassettes were playing in almost every taxi. I remember students gathering around a boombox to rap along with Biggie’s song and argue about how he was killed and who did it; no facts, just assumptions. The East Coast and West Coast feud erupted among friends and neighbors as we argued and created groups. Thank God no guns were involved. Petty stone fights, yet waiting for the one VIBE magazine to show up and circulate around campus, searching for facts.
“It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine, Salt’n’Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine, Hangin’ pictures on my wall, Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl”
Ok let me be honest with you, I had my own old African version before seeing the lyrics. I believe others might have done the same, replacing certain words we did not know. My Version:
“It was all a dream, I used to reh reh bordom magazine, Salt’n’Pepa and Heavy D up in the lemon sea, Hangin’ pictures on my wall,Every Saturday ratata, Mr. Magic, moli more” .. Dont laugh. How the hell would I have known that this line was “”Remember Rappin’ Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha” with out any written lyrics, this is what I heard “Remember Rappin’ Do, da heart, da heart ” that made sence in my line…the easiest for everybody was “if you dont know now you know, nigga”…Hey you cant laugh, this was due to bad stereo tapes (excuse), fast rap and slang not accustomed to (probably right)
In Africa, we might not have had the same impact as many people did in the US when Biggie died, but it was certainly a shock and the beginning of African hip-hop. The sudden death of two hip-hop legends had giving birth to new rappers in Africa . Entertainment night in boarding schools had female or male ‘ Tupac and Biggie ‘ rappers, now we have great musicians all over Africa like Nigeria’s: Dbanj, 2face, 9nice, Wale ….Ghana’s: Reggie Rockstone, Sarkodie, Kwaw Kesse,Wanlov, R2Bees, Sway, D-Black…South Africa’s: Khuli Chana, JR…Somalia’s: K’Naan and many others.
Orijin will like to dedicate this article as a tribute to the celebration of Biggie and the growth of African hip-hop which has taken its own Identity and a force to be reckoned with. Let hip-hop continue to unite us all with positive minds to educate, fight political and social issues for a better tomorrow.
Christopher George Latore Wallace ” Biggie Smalls “(May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997)
African Hip-hop Documentary in Uganda: A Voice to fight Economic and Politics
BET Cypher Ghana
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