Divine ft. Naezy – ‘Mere Gully Mein’ (Hindi, India)
Indian Rapper Divine was the first Hindi rapper to appear on BBC Radio 1’s ‘Fire in the Booth’. Divine was signed by Sony Music and was also awarded Best Video by Rolling Stone India in 2015. Often drawing inspiration from local life in Mumbai, the rapper makes real music about Indian communities, claiming he has never lied in his rhymes because he lied too often to his mum when he was young.
Karol Conká – ‘Boa Noite’ (Portuguese, Brazil)
Brazilian rapper Karol Conká combines an old school flare with modern rap, afro-Brazilian and baile funk (Brazilian funk music) influences to create a massively colourful sound. The tone of her music is also reflected in her dress sense, making her videos exciting to watch and listen to. She flaunts her alternative style with her choice of quirky costumes, particularly in ‘Boa Noite’. Conká has decided her ‘protest is against sadness’, and this makes her sound uplifting and all about raising self-esteem – well, only if you can understand Portuguese.
Keith Ape – ‘잊지마 (It G Ma)’ (Korean, South Korea)
This is a brilliant example of how rap has woven its way into the most unexpected places. ‘It G Ma’ by Korean rapper Keith Ape sounds a little like American trap, but it’s not – it’s Korean trap. Due to copyright issues, Keith Ape later released a remix of ‘It G Ma’ featuring American and Korean-American rappers A$AP Ferg, Father, Dumbfoundead and Waka Flocka Flame. Most of his videos are pretty trippy and fun to watch, but this one is the most popular on YouTube, with over 36 million views.
Ace Tee – ‘Bist du down?’ (German, Germany)
Sarkodie – ‘Trumpet’ (Twi, Ghana)
MC João – ‘Baile de Favela’ (Portuguese, Brazil)
MHD – ‘Afro Trap Part.8 (Never)’ (French, France)
No non-English rap list can be complete without at least one French offering. MHD grew up in Paris, but has Guinean and Senegalese origins. This mix of influences encouraged his creation of a seemingly alternative sound – Afro trap, a mixture of African music (afrobeats) and American trap… yet rapped in French. That’s a ridiculously high level of musical fusion. In any case, it all blends flawlessly with this video, giving the audience the sense that MHD and his posse just came to freestyle and have fun.
Riky Rick – ‘Boss Zonke’ (Zulu, South Africa)
Riky Rick (recently changed to King Kotini) is signed to his own independent label and has gained international acclaim, winning awards from MTV Africa and peaking at number three on the South Africa Hip Hop Top Ten List. In ‘Boss Zonke’, Riky Rick blends English and Zulu together seamlessly –it’s this and the addictive beat that makes this a tune that should only be played at the highest volume.