Hip Hop Veterans Drop Knowledge to Morgan Students

The MSU Spokesman

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Asheru, Dr. Jared Ball, Omar Hunter El and HPP (Jabilani Tsambo)

Hip-hop thrived in Morgan State University’s communications building with a listening party for hip-hop enthusiast, emcee and educator, Asheru. The legendary DMV figure is most commonly known for his single, “Judo Flip,” the theme song to the popular Adult Swim cartoon, “The Boondocks.”

Asheru shared tracks from the newly released “Sleeping in Soweto,” his follow up to the 2006 EP “Insomnia (Sleepless In Japan.)”

“What is blackness? Is one of the reoccurring themes,” says Asheru in reference to the album.  Asheru has spent the last three years traveling from DC to South Africa to make music and collaborate with other artists. “I’ve been making music since ’97. I’ve been making music since there were tapes,” he says. Rap veterans and friends of Asheru, Omar Hunter El and HPP (Jabilani Tsambo) also shared some insight on their musical careers.

The rappers stressed the importance of being yourself in everything from rap to life. HHP, a South African rapper briefly discussed how the flows of American hip-hop artists have impacted aspiring artists in Africa today.  “It’s very important for us [African rappers] to find our own voice,” says the 16 year rap veteran. “The African youth has lost their own identity. It’s about modernizing Africa instead of Westernizing it.”

Later during the discussion, Dr. Ball allowed the class to view hip-hop Pantsula’s video “Animal,” which features Asheru and a collective of 10 other rappers from the U.S. and different parts of Africa. The video allowed the class to view hip-hop as a common language. Though each of the rappers had different flows and styles, they were unified by their love for music and the way they personified their struggles through the characteristics of different animals. They urged students to avoid imitation and find their own voices.

The listening party ended with a few inspiring words about bringing people together.  “Technology is separating us,says emcee and legendary producer Omar Hunter El. “We need to get back to our human experience.”

Asheru wrapped things up with a few final words of encouragement: “Identify yourself as who you are and who you want to be.”


Sleeping in Soweto is currently available for purchase and download on iTunes and Amazon.