5 Reasons Why You Should be Listening to International Hip-Hop

January 13, 2014
Chris Emdin

A few years ago I was invited to a university in South Africa to deliver a speech on ways to improve education by focusing on youth culture. I gladly accepted the invitation, and was excited to get a glimpse into South African culture. Once I arrived, I met my very gracious hosts, who insisted that they show me their city. For the next week and a half, I spent much of my time being ushered around the city of Johannesburg as my hosts showed me what they considered to be the “best of South Africa.” I was invited to amazing dinners in posh restaurants where black, brown, and white faces were equally sprinkled around perfectly decorated tables. Most days were spent on the college campus or at events scheduled by my hosts. Everywhere I went seemed oddly perfect, and I fell in love with the experience. Somewhere between being chauffeured from my hotel to various events, I fell in love with a very sanitized view of South Africa. By the time I made it to the event where I was speaking, I had learned to view the country through the eyes of people blinded from reality. I drank from the cupped hands of the privileged, and sadly, I enjoyed it.

After my speech, I decided to take a flight to Cape Town for a few days of relaxation before I returned home. This short trip became one of the most transformative experiences of my life. As my way from the airport to the hotel I would be staying, I asked the cab driver to take the scenic route. I sat in the back of an old Mercedes as he led me through streets where I witnessed poverty in one minute, and affluence the next. The experience was surreal, and immediately erased my experiences in Johannesburg. I wanted to see more…

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