Dr. Matsemela Odom, InPDUM President
Comrades General Nobody, Thanos and K-Beast from Occupied Azana recently participated in this cypher. In hip-hop a cypher is defined as: “a gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or breakers in a circle, extemporaneously making music together.”
In this cypher you can witness the fusion of hip-hop and African Internationalism.
Hip-Hop was formed in response to the counterinsurgency
The International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement, the mass organization of the African People’s Socialist Party, was created to bring the masses of African people back into political life after the defeat of the African Revolution of the 1960s and the onslaught of US counterinsurgency.
These are important historical and political precedents to this panel today because hip hop is a cultural product that was created in a moment of global counterinsurgency. It was a global counterinsurgency that thrust the African communities in North America into rap underdevelopment and deindustrialization. The African communities of North America were flooded with drugs. African communities were occupied by domestic military forces. African men and women were shoved in colonial prisons at rapid rates. These are the conditions that influenced the rise of hip-hop and the revolutionary politics embedded in it.
Let us not forget that the origins of hip-hop, as it is told, was in an attempt to push back the devastating impact of counterinsurgency on African people. The popular history of hip hop has DJ Kool Herc and his sister throwing a block party to raise funds for back to school purposes. Introducing soundsystem practices from Jamaica to the United States, DJ Kool Herc and others claimed liberated territory by tapping into public utilities and taking over public parks and abandoned buildings. Hip-hop emerged from practices of resistance in the African working class. Hip hop’s origins represent the African Nation and African national unity.
Hip-Hop has the ability to unite the African working class
In my own writings, I research the jazz and mbaqanga traditions in South Africa. So one of the first times that I interacted with the comrades in South Africa/Occupied Azania, I mentioned that music. They liked it but what I found out was the I had a lot more in common with them through my personal hip-hop interests.
Hip-Hop, like InPDUM, gives voice to the African working class. Yet, for hip hop and rap to achieve its fullest meaning, rappers and hip-hop artists must follow the lead of these comrades here.
For rap music to be meaningful, up and coming African rappers need to abandon their petty bourgeois aspirations. Accomplished rappers need to also commit class suicide, which means uniting with the African working class.
These rappers need to come into political organization. They need to produce work that uplifts the African working class and teaches African Internationalism.
This cypher represents the best of hip-hop’s traditions. These are not just rappers, they are organizers with InPDUM, the African People’s Socialist Party and the Better Life Association. Their words are not simply abstractions. They represent a way forward for us as a people.
Build African Internationalist Hip Hop!
Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!
Build InPDUM Internationally!