Rap Music As A Tool For Socio-political Change In Africa

Hip Hop/rap has proved to be a critical means to develop and disseminate political consciousness as can be seen from the lyrics of rappers like Nas, Common, Talib Kweli, Ice cube, and Hip Hop groups like De la Soul, The Roots, all in the United State of America. 

In Nigeria, Eedris Abdul Kareem, Sound Sultan, Eldee the Don and I, (Street Poet), with some others have lyrically contributed to socio-political state of the country.

My rap single released in 2007 titled Nigeria we hail, which has the combination of the first lines of both the old and new national anthem as chorus, is a rap track that thoroughly deals with the socio-political issues in the country. The message is still relevant looking at the lyrical content of the song; for example, 

"I wanna talk to the leaders/senators, governors/chairmen and councillors/you took a vow/don’t allow/sacred cow/in your cabinet/i'm loud like a clarinet/to y’all my country-men/ even in the continent…"

This remains potent a message to the leaders in the country, looking at the present level of corruption.

According to Michael Eric Dyson in his book, "Know what I mean?" he said ‘At their best, hip-hoppers have the potential to raise people’s awareness'; and when people’s awareness is raised, change will take its normal/natural course.

Eeedris Abdulkareem’s "jaga jaga" track released 2004 became a hit song but was publicly condemned by the then president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and as a result, TV and Radio stations stopped playing it. Years after, precisely August 28, 2012, while speaking at a forum organised by Nigeria Leadership Initiative, the former president revisited the track and condemned it again saying ‘How could a sane man dare call his country 'jaga jaga’ calling it the height of blasphemy. 

Another issue, and quite major is the cultural factor: we are a partying people and we love parties a.k.a "Owambe" (that’s a name given to parties meaning “being present at the occasion"). This had made many socio-political songs ‘go with danceable beats in order to reach people at the occasion with the message, the way they want it. This has a positive side of making it acceptable but the negative side is people only dance to the song because of the beat, oblivious of the essence of the message.

Subscribe to access this work and thousands more
Overall Rating


5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Olateju, O. & Poet", O (2018). Rap Music As A Tool For Socio-political Change In Africa. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/pdf-rap-music-as-a-tool-for-socio-political-change-in-africa

MLA 8th

Olateju, Olajide, and Olajide Poet" "Rap Music As A Tool For Socio-political Change In Africa" Afribary. Afribary, 12 Apr. 2018, https://afribary.com/works/pdf-rap-music-as-a-tool-for-socio-political-change-in-africa. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.


Olateju, Olajide, and Olajide Poet" . "Rap Music As A Tool For Socio-political Change In Africa". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2018. Web. 24 Jun. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/pdf-rap-music-as-a-tool-for-socio-political-change-in-africa >.


Olateju, Olajide and Poet", Olajide . "Rap Music As A Tool For Socio-political Change In Africa" Afribary (2018). Accessed June 24, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/pdf-rap-music-as-a-tool-for-socio-political-change-in-africa