Relatively unknown in the global rap world, mainly because of a not so robust and vigorous marketing for local artists, out in the United States of America, the country has been receiving a few shout-outs from well-known rappers.
With talent ranging from Oracle, Scar and Fosta Juliano (formerly Mr Doe) to new skills, amongst them ATI, Botswana has not been able to penetrate the world market.
Despite being on par with some of the continent’s successful rappers talent-wise from South Africa and Nigeria, local rappers have found it tough to hit the world stage. With a limited budget, the local promoters have also found it tough to bring in international rap acts, which would have probably opened gates for local rappers for some form of collaborations. Outside rap and music, Botswana has been well recognised because of its democracy, diamonds and tourism.
Despite all the setbacks facing the local rappers, several US artists continue throw-in the country’s name in their lyrics, although not extensively. Latest to give a shout-out to Botswana was Nas (real name Nasir Jones), who is regarded as one of the best rap artists in history.
In his latest offering released a few weeks ago, Nas mentioned Botswana in the single, War Against Love, from his latest album, The Lost Tapes II, sparking some excitement from his fans in the country.
“Did the GOAT (greatest of all times) say Botswana? WOW WOW,” commented one of his local fans on YouTube. In the song, Nas also mentioned countries like Haiti, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada. He says, “The war is against love, we under attack, Paris, Pyar, St. Thomas, Dior, The war is against love, who’s busting back? From New York to Botswana, London to Guyana, to every single African that’s on the map.”
Before Nas, the late American underground rapper, Sean Price had also once showed some love to the Diamond country. He kicked off his verse on his Figure Four single with a shout out to Botswana. “Botswana, Small time little league playa’, Pop Warna’, Rock corners with hot blocks that’s drug infested, Supply suppliers my money stay thug invested, No disrespect to Duck Down Records (Waddup), After this go round a nigga lookin’ for the exit, Peace!”
Common, real name, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Junior is one US rapper who has managed to catch the attention of Botswana Hip Hop lovers because of his poetic excellence in songwriting. In 2007, Common increased his fan base locally when he released his second single, The People from the album, Finding Forever. In the song, Common said, ““I found the new primo, Yeah you know how we do, we do it for the people, From Englewood to a single hood in Botswana, I see the I in We my nigga, yours is my drama, Standin in front of the judge with no honor, Barack stick, knight the people like Obama.”
Quite interestingly, these shout-outs all appear in the rappers’ well revered singles. For the better part, South Africa, probably because of its giant economic status, has been the host for many of US artists, including rappers.
Botswana in the past has managed to host only the likes of Eve (Jihan Jeffers-Cooper), Dead Prez, Ja Rule and Rick Ross.
With all these rare and not so extensive shout-outs, expectations are that one day theis will pave the way for local rap artists to make their mark globally and penetrate the US market. South Africa and Nigerian artists have already managed to forge some relations with couple of collaborations.