Thursday, March 10, 2011


By Buddha Blaze
Don’t you just love hip hop? I know I love it because I am always on the move. Hip hop is so genius that you can do many things with it. You can rhyme it, you can talk it, you can spit it, you can perform it, you can elaborate it, you can experience it and better than all you can translate it. When Goethe-Institut asked me to moderate this project I was more than elated to accept and cancel any other travel plans I had for these dates. Its projects like these that make me proud to be a part of the hip hop community. Always getting creative and close to out answers is what I need in my quest for truth, life and purpose. Translating Hip Hop is a hip hop project by The House of World Cultures in Berlin, Germany and its back ground is very interestingly creative.

Buddha Blaze Moderating
Translating Hip Hop comes from the need to understand hip hop lyrics. On ‘Renegades’: Jay Z asks “Do you fools listen to music or do you just scheme through it? Translating Hip Hop seeks to address that. It is about the content. Anyone who wishes to understand hip hop lyrics must not only be able to decipher the diverse sub-cultural codes on which the language of the rappers is based – above all, what is needed is deep knowledge of the language in which the rapping is done. As part of a series of workshops in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut in the four cities of Beirut, Bogotá, Manila and Nairobi, lyrics are translated into the languages of participating rappers.

MC Kah
Based on these lyrics, the participants from Berlin, Beirut, Bogota, Nairobi and Manilla will draft songs in their own languages which address the original subject but also infuse it with their own experiences and interpretations. Thus, a variety of different versions of the same song are created through different languages, gestures and individual styles. The musicians then perform the songs together on stage. Eventually, Translating Hip Hop will lead to a festival in Berlin in autumn 2011. The chosen artists from Kenya are my favourite rappers Nazizi and MC Kah who have already toured Bogota and Beirut in the last month. Their accounts of those trips are following soon.

Mad Maxamon from Berlin
The Nairobi module takes place on the 24th of March where rappers Anne Kahn and Mad Maxamon from Berlin, La Melanina from Bogota, Restly Perez from Manila, and the lady of Arabic hip hop Malikah from Beirut will all converge at Goethe Institut Nairobi to translate the lyrics of Nazizi and MC Kah. The highlight of the Nairobi Translating Hip Hop project will be a concert with major Nairobi hip hop and poetry names such as Wanjiku Mwaurah, Big Mic, L Ness, Octoppizzo, Sharama of Ukoo Flani, Moroko at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi on 25th March at 8.00 pm, which will be moderated by Buddha Blaze. This is one concert that you do not want to miss out in any way possible.
More about Translating Hip Hop: Visit this page:

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