Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post presents information about Liberia's HipCo music and Liberian recording artist Takun J.
This post also showcases a video of Takun J's "Song For Hawa" which refers to a young girl being sexually abused.
In addition, this post includes selected comments from this video's discussion thread.
The content of this post is presented for educational, socio-cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to Takun J for his musical legacy and thanks to all those who are featured in this video and quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publisher of this video on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT LIBERIA'S HIPCO MUSIC AND TAKUN J
Rap and pop music are also performed in indigenous languages across the country, with a generation of artists a creating their own style of uniquely Liberian rap music called Hipco (or "Co"). Hipco is usually performed in Liberian English or the local vernacular, using the style of communication with which Liberians speak and relate to each other. Hipco evolved in the 1980s and has always had a social and political bent. In the 1990s it continued to develop through the civil wars, and today stands as a definitive mark of Liberian culture.
Some young Liberians who have come to prominence through their charismatic Hipco messages are Luckay Buckay, Takun-J, IamDred, Bone Dust, Red Rum, Kenny Da Knowledge Noy-Z, Real Mighty, Mighty Blow, Picador, Benevolence, Sundaygar Dearboy and T-Five. These rappers have been able to remind their listeners and fans about the history of Liberia.
Songs such as "Behold Behold" by Luckay Buckay, "It Not Right" by Takun J featuring Luckay Buckay, and "Technique" by Bone Dust have been among the many prominent songs that have told people of the government lack of consciousness for her people, prostitution, jealousy, hatred, envy and fornication all over Liberia."
'Hipco' Is the Soundtrack of Monrovia's Post-War Youth
I hung out with Takun J, the MVP of Liberia's newest dance music scene.
by Ashoka Mar 31 2014
...“Hipco” is a style of music that emerged from the streets of Monrovia a few years ago. It’s uniquely Liberian, spoken in the local, mixed-English tongue (known as “Colloqua”) and rooted in the fears, joys and dark humour of the country’s young urban poor.
The genre draws some of its inspiration from rap and RnB, as well as other West African dance music scenes, but its local character is what defines it. The music can be a little rough – production values are low by modern standards and the sound is still evolving – but, at its best, it’s one of the most innovative genres in modern African music – upbeat without being corny, political without being self-referential and always good to dance to.
Jonathan “Takun J” Koffa is as much of an icon as Liberia’s struggling music industry can produce. He’s a Monrovia “city boy” – born and raised in a place that, until not too long ago, was defined by its block-ruling warlords and trigger-happy Nigerian peacekeepers. The city’s youth see him as a success story who didn’t need an American masters degree or an election victory to make something of himself.
“Hipco is our own way of relating to each other easily,” he says while sipping a cup of sour red booze called Mandingo Bitters. “I’m trying to talk about my country, and I want people to understand what I’m saying, so that’s why I bring it into that vernacular.”
Sitting in a downtown courtyard he’s converted into a makeshift bar and performance area, he explains the value of keeping the music local. “Artists talk in an American accent, and people say, ‘What kinda thing that man talkin’?” he laughs. “All we gotta keep doing in Liberia is to keep doing what we’re doing and recognise our own culture. I think that’s gonna go faster than me trying to rap like Americans, be like Americans.”
The redemptive message of Takun’s music holds an appeal to this generation of Liberians, as well as those who are starting to come of age in the shadow of the country’s long internal conflict. For example, since the civil war brought with it an increase in sexual violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse remain among the most frequently committed crimes in Liberia. That prompted Takun to write a fictional account – “Song for Hawa” – of a young girl being sexually abused. It’s not rare to see a young woman fall to her knees or silently cry when he performs it.
Takun released his debut album in 2012, and it’s pretty much dominated Liberian airwaves ever since. The album, titled My Way, is a ground-eye view of life in Monrovia, featuring high-BPM dance tracks, some Liberian reggae and more takedowns of government corruption and neglect.
...hipco itself is a departure from the belief that musical success can only be achieved by putting a Liberian twist onto an American sound, rather than the other way around.”...
SHOWCASE YOUTUBE VIDEO: Liberian Music Video: Song for Hawa by Takun J
TakunJTheHipCoKing, Published on Mar 12, 2013
Takun J uses hip co, a blend of hip hop and Liberian English, to speak up against sexual abuse.
Special thanks to Media Impact, THINK, and Faron Films.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread (with numbers assigned for referencing purposes only)
1. Thomas Freeman, 2013
"Great subject matter bro, salute we need more awareness of the hard struggle in Liberia."
2. Teddy Telo, 2013
"nice song hip co king"
3. chawadeboss, 2013
"This guy is good, great massage brah"
4. DIRACHE, 2013
"Love this song bru, ur really talented, keep up the nice work i live in the u.s and ima do my best and share ur songs and make it heard,"
5. Liberian Echo, 2014
"Poignant message...hopefully it resonates...keep doing your thing bro"
6. Weasemah Abdallah, 2014
"i love all of your songs bro am from Lib hipco king i love listenin to u not forgettin pot boilin. i love u bro"
7. jimmie york, 2014
"nice joint bro. keep doing you son..."
8. frank hutcherson, 2015
9. Prince Sharpe, 2017
"5ne song by Takun J kall hawa"
10. Owingo Tarpeh, 2017
"so gr8 dat is why u will 4ever be the hip hop king..so touching"
11. Tamba Daniel, 2017
"Nice song Takun j
You are a real hipco king"
12. Daniel Nyanfor, 2017
"best song it's so emotional."
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