I'm Doug Johnson.
And I'm Faith Lapidus with EXPLORATIONS
in VOA Special English. Today we tell
about more hip-hop music artists who are spreading their messages around the
music is popular around the world. Hip-hop
artists created their own Declaration of Peace that is recognized by the United
Nations. Socially conscious hip-hop
artists spread messages of peace, security, unity, forgiveness and
happiness. Often, their songs teach young
people about human rights and fighting for their freedoms so they can have a
DAM is known as
the first Palestinian group to sing hip-hop.
Members of the group are Tamer Nafar, his younger brother Suhell and
Mahmoud Jreri. They lived in the poor
area of Lod, just outside Tel Aviv. It
is a town where both Israeli Jews and Arabs live.
group's music is influenced by the Israeli and Palestinian conflict as well as
social issues that affect people's freedoms.
In an interview with Time Magazine, Tamer Nafar said that the conflict
is their life and their window; whatever they see, they write about. They also sing about issues such as
terrorism, violence linked to illegal drugs and women's rights. The group sings
in Arabic, English and Hebrew.
hopes to teach young people about their history and rights. They tell children not to be influenced by
other people, but to learn on their own what is right and what is wrong. Children sing with them on the song Ng'Ayer
Bukra, which means Change Tomorrow. The children sing that they want education
and the ability to change tomorrow.
Israeli group Hadag Nahash also sings about the Palestinian and Israeli
conflict in some of their songs. Other
songs deal with issues like racism, women's rights, Israeli economics, class
divisions and politics. They want young
people to question the issues that affect them and the future of Israeli
society. Their political songs have
caused public debates in Israeli newspapers, radio and television stations, and
even Israel's parliament.
In the thirteen years the group has been
together, Hadag Nahash has produced five CDs and has performed around the world. Many people have become interested in the
band because of their song called "The Sticker Song."
song includes words from stickers that are placed on cars in Israel. These bumper stickers are usually about
Socially conscious hip-hop has become a popular form of music
around the world. It is possible that
every country has at least one or two socially conscious hip-hop singers or
groups. However, sometimes it is not
easy to learn about these artists. Their music is suppressed in countries where
freedom of expression is limited. These artists fear that they will get in
trouble with the government if they sing about political issues. Some musicians do sing about political and
social issues in suppressed societies. However, these musicians often sing in
secret and their music is not widely known.
China, rap or hip-hop has become a popular form of music. The musicians sing in Cantonese, Mandarin or
other local languages. Many artists sing
about issues that affect them and their Chinese listeners.
artists sing about social issues, but they do not sing about political issues
or the government. Andreas Hwang, also
called Young Kin, told VOA that he is at ease with performing or singing songs
that include political and social issues.
He said that if his musical career in China were to end, he could
continue it somewhere else.
Kin was born in Switzerland, but moved to China at a young age. In the past, he has said that making
political statements in music could result in the end of your job as a singer, being
put in jail or being forced to leave the country. Young Kin believes that the socially
conscious hip-hop movement will become more widespread in China after Chinese
society goes through changes.
Brazil, artists use hip-hop to express social inequalities and racial
issues. In the largest city, Sao Paulo,
one of the oldest hip-hop groups is Racionais MC's. They started their music group in nineteen
eighty-eight. Their songs are about
social injustices in the city, including police violence against young people.
of their songs are about people living in poor areas called favelas. The members, Mano Brown, Ice Blue, Edy Rock
and DJ KL Jay, all lived in favelas. The
singers are also activists for the work and goals of their songs. In nineteen ninety-two Racionais MC's joined
forces with Brazil's Ministry of Education.
They visited schools to teach people about life in the favelas,
including issues related to drugs, police violence, poverty and racism. They have also used their music to earn
money for health clinics, youth sports programs and schools. In two thousand nine they released their
sixth album called Ta Na Chuva.
Rio de Janeiro, a famous hip-hop artist called Marcelo D2 also lived in a favela. However, when he turned thirteen he left the
area to work. Some of his friends who
remained in the favelas were killed in gun battles with criminal groups. His first productions in hip-hop were in
nineteen ninety-five in a group called Planet Hemp. Three years later he left the group and
produced his own album. His songs are
about his life experiences. Marcelo D2
became famous when he created a new form of hip-hop by mixing it with the
Brazilian music called samba.
Marcelo D2 has performed with famous American hip-hop
artists such as will-i-am from the Black Eyed Peas. He has also performed with the famous
Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes.
Jean is one of the top socially conscious hip-hop artists in the world. Wyclef was born in Haiti. At the age of nine
he moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York and later to New Jersey. He was a member of the hip-hop group called
the Fugees with Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Samuel Michel, also known as
has since released seven of his own CDs and will have an eighth coming out in
January. Wyclef's songs are a mix of
social and political issues as well as entertainment. Many of his songs are about the life of refugees
or immigrants in the United States. Wyclef brings attention to the injustices some
immigrants experience in the United States.
two thousand five, Wyclef formed the Yeli Haiti Foundation.
foundation works on issues such as education, health, environment and community
development. It also works with the World Food Organization and the Pan
American Development Foundation to help Haitians, especially after the food
shortage riots last year. In two
thousand seven, Haitian President Rene Preval appointed Wyclef a traveling ambassador
to represent the country. Recently, Wyclef travelled to Haiti with former
President Bill Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon .
This past summer, the Black Entertainment Television
network, BET, honored Wyclef with its Award for Humanitarian Work. And Wyclef was named hip-hop's unofficial
This program was written by Kim Varzi and produced by
Dana Demange. I'm Faith Lapidus.
And I'm Doug Johnson. You can download podcasts and comment on our
programs at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for
EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English.