With their mindblowing dark, apocalyptic trap, GAMEFACE and BLVCK are one of the most promising and innovative Dutch music acts today. As part of this year’s Global Activism project, organised by Hivos in collaboration with Incubate Festival and ourselves at Generation Bass, they now team up with the Tanzanian rap formation Watengwa, one of the most influential voices of the East-African hiphop underground.
“Watengwa is a revolutionary hiphop group of musicians based in the slums of Kijenge ya juu Arusha Tanzania East Afrika. The group was established back in 1990’s by 11 members, but the group spread into many neighborhoods of Arusha. Watengwa lyrics are rooted in real life experiences, with particular attention to the worldview of Afrikans and the global flows that inform their lives. Watengwa considers themselves a revolutionary army in the fight for positive ways of confronting and surviving street life. While their music is deeply embedded in Afrikan perspectives and realities, they have been influences by western Hip-hop legends such as MC Hammer, Kool Moe Dee, Busy Bee, Public Enemy, Snoop, Dr. Dre, NWA, Warren G, Salt n Pepa, Heavy D, Wu-tang, Notorious B.I.G, Onyx, Lost boys, Guru, and Immortal Technique. As their songs gained popularity, they received limited radio play; restricted by imbalances of power existing in the music industry. They were denied adequate airtime from radio djays and presenters who demanded bribes, or coerced them to commercialize their style. They were pressured to follow trends in lyrics and beats that prioritized entertainment and club life over education and advocacy. Watengwa refused to engage in bribery and did not waver in their message or sound. The album sales occurred largely in the slums of Kijenge ya juu and around Tanzania supported by those with similar values and commitments to the voices and struggles of the masses. Watengwa continues its mission in educating the masses through hip-hop, and raising awareness on issues like drug abuse, empowering women, school corporal punishment, the importance of selfdetermination, and Afrikan identity.”
Last year, they took part in the Paris based East Africa Rise Up project where they toured through France and collaborated with French hiphop artists. Check out this trailers for a documentary about the project that will be released soon!
We’ve seen GAMEFACE earlier this week with his Tortured EP, dedicated to the Palestinian struggle, but BLVCK is also back with fresh, brutal heat since my last roundup.
Here a selection from their newest releases..
GAMEFACE blows the trump of doom with this overpowering trap sermon!
And here a collection of unfinished exclusive demos.. Comment to tell him which one you want him to finish and release!
BLVCK skillfully rips the skin off your skull with these terrifyingly heavy vibes!
And here the newest edition of his Blvck Magic mixtape series, presenting the New Era of dark music!
And via their jointly owned label Pyramyth, they also released this absolutely stunning collab!
Watengwa‘s most recent release is this deliciously laidback tune, featuring the Kenyan rapper Rawbarz Wenyeji who also took part in East Africa Rise Up!
And, also for East Africa Rise Up, this collab with the French rapper Koulirou!
And here I made selection from the fantastic releases available via their soundcloud account!
Upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday, Watengwa and Pyramyth will present the fruits of their collaboration in a live performance at Incubate Festival.
And if you can’t be there, they’ll continue their tour through Holland and Belgium in Rotterdam, on Friday, 19 September. Be there!