Who is Rhymson?
MC Rhymson is a rapper from Tanzania who was the founder of the Villain Gangsters and helped found the Kwanza Unit of which his troop was a part. They produced three albums, Tucheze, Tropical Tekniqs, and Kwanzanians, the latter of which received the most support.
The struggling Tanzanian economy and the rise of ‘hip hop nationalism’ served as a broader socio-economic backdrop for the group expansion of what MC Rhymson termed the ‘Kiswacentric’ concept. Rhymson's efforts to create this hip hop nation, coined Kwanzania, is one of his largest contributions to Tanzania's hip hop scene as he tried to create a hypothetical community whose "cementing force is hip hop." Creating this hypothetical, yet important space for hip hop in Tanzania was a way to unite rappers to lyrically express their culture, values and goals, and overall way of life. Rhymson along with the other members of Kwanza unit developed ideologies and ethics to accompany the concept of Kwanzania to romanticize and idealize these hip hop artists involved as "heroic warriors resisting oppression" echoing an old mentality of rising a country from a colonial state into an independent country called ujamaa. By developing this sort of community, Rhymson showed an authentic quality that was far more profound than just the expression of hip hop through the Swahili language. Kwanzania developed into a vanguard against the cultural imperialism of American hip hop as Africans looked past the romanticized ideals of American "gangsta" hip hop of violence and drug addiction and developed them into a positive message that hip hop is a means to raising one's life into a positive state. Rhymson wanted to ensure that Kiswahili meanings were the focus of their songs, and even if in English, their meanings should never be lost in translation. Kiswacentric aimed to give hip hop a politically charged cultural image, relating hip hop with the Tanzanian environment.
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on July 23, 2013
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