Hip Deep June 1, 2017
Hip Deep in Northern Nigeria

Kano State in northwest Nigeria is a land of paradox. The ancient home of the Hausa people, it has ties back to the oldest civilizations in West Africa. Muslim since around the 12th century, the region remained largely self-administered during the era of British colonialism, and never significantly adapted Christianity or Western culture and values as in other parts of Nigeria. In 2000, Kano instituted Shariah law. But by that time, the city of Kano was also the center of a large and active film industry, dubbed Kannywood. And it would soon be home to a nascent coterie of hip-hop artists. There have been a series of high-profile conflicts and crises between these forces of religion, politics and art in the years since. But as the Afropop crew discovered, Kano has achieved a delicate balance that allows film and music to continue apace under the watchful eye of clerics and a censorship board. We visit studios producing local nanaye music, with its echoes of Hausa tradition and Indian film music. We also meet young Hausa hip-hop artists striving to develop careers under uniquely challenging circumstances.