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from Photographers' Blog:

Bissau: fashion, flair and hip-hop

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau

By Joe Penney

If you drive through the Mistra neighborhood of Bissau - the charming, ramshackle capital of Guinea-Bissau - signs of peoples’ love for American hip-hop are everywhere.

The local football pitch is named “California” after Tupac’s song “California Love.” Clothes reading “50 Cent” or “Thug Life” are commonplace, and Rihanna’s latest hits blare out from rusty radios beneath the mango trees.

While a fondness for American hip-hop is shared throughout West Africa (Tupac is nearly everyone’s favorite rapper), Guinea-Bissau’s unique cultural influences give it its own distinctive style.

A colony of Portugal until 1974, the small, West African nation maintains strong cultural and economic links to other Portuguese-speaking countries including Angola and Brazil.

from India Insight:

Responsibility or censorship: why Bollywood should pick

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

The mother and father of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim were cremating their daughter's body around the same time I discovered Honey Singh, now lately known for his notorious song, "Ch**t," or "Cu*t." The song revolves around the singer's vision of satisfying a woman's lust, followed by beating her with a shoe and then moving on to other things.

from Fan Fare:

Can Tempah turn BRIT nods into awards?

PlantHe's leader of the pack in terms of BRIT nominations tonight, but can London rapper Tinie Tempah convert them into prizes when the awards ceremony is held on Feb. 15? Bookmakers would have us believe that British pop's biggest night could be one of disappointment, not delirium, with Ladbrokes backing the 22-year-old to scoop just one of his four nods, and arguably the least prestigious of them all -- Best Breakthrough Act.

Not that the category is unimportant -- a BRIT is a BRIT after all, and, after a Grammy, perhaps music's most coveted statuette. But when you think that Tempah is in the running for best male solo, best British single and, most important of all, best British album, a Breakthrough prize alone may not be enough to keep him happy.

from Africa News blog:

Ugandan president is hip-hop hit

The track starts with a soulful “well, well” as a hip-hop beat rises in intensity. “Do you want another rap?” the same deep voice then says in perfect time. “You want another rap?”

But this is no ordinary rapper. This is, believe it or not, 66-year-old Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, previously better known for rebellion than for rhyming.

from Fan Fare:

Joaquin Phoenix says “I’m Still Here”

Joaquin PhoenixBut is he all there? Really all there.

He quit a golden Hollywood career because he was bored. He thought movies weren’t interesting anymore. He didn’t have anything else to learn. And today, Joaquin Phoenix has re-emerged in the trailer of a new “documentary” called "I'm Still Here" that is directed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. The documentary tells about Phoenix’s supposed attempts at a transition to a career in hip hop.  We wrote about it here and here. Surely, we think, it's more mockumentary, something on the order of “This is Spinal Tap” that sends up the entertainment industry. Tellingly, it was “written and produced” by both Affleck and Phoenix. Then again, who are we to say he's lying just because what he has done seems so odd. One never really knows, and "odd" is rather normal in Hollywood. You can watch the trailer -- and judge it -- for yourself below.

In interviews, despite a bizarre, mumbling shaggy-haired appearance on David Letterman that baffled many, Joaquin Phoenix coherently insisted to all in promoting his last film in 2008, “Two Lovers,” that he was indeed quitting acting (he still has no more movies announced). And yes, absolutely and convincingly, he said he was pursuing a career in hip hop.  And yes, there was Affleck right on hand to tape all media interviews with Phoenix. (Note: we politely said "no" to being taped for a possible spoof, much to Affleck’s annoyance.)

from FaithWorld:

Japanese monk gets down with the beat for Buddhism

gold buddha

A gold statue of Buddha in Tokyo, 26 Nov 2009/Yuriko Nakao

He raps. He chants. And this month, Japan's famed hip-hop loving monk, better known as MC Happiness, will tap dance on stage, in the name of Buddhism.

Kansho Tagai heads the 400-year-old Kyoouji Temple in central Tokyo, offering softly chanted prayers throughout the day amid traditional bell chimes and wafts of incense.

from Fan Fare:

Taiwan’s old-school KMT gives voters its new rap

taiwanTaiwan's government, run by the old-guard Nationalist Party, has turned a bit more youthful in recent days, using rap music to head off fears at home that it may sell out to political rival Beijing during tense talks this week. (Click here for more about the talks).

"The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign independent nation," the fast-paced, video-enhanced lyrics begin. "Twenty-three million citizens will decide its fate."

from Africa News blog:

War child sings songs of peace

"When you see a Sudanese walking on the street there is a story," child soldier turned hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal says.

That's certainly true for Jal. He was sent to fight for Sudan People's Liberation Army when he was just six years old.

from Fan Fare:

Eminem’s wish comes true as Lindsay Lohan, galpal split

eminem2Lindsay Lohan's breakup with celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson is good news for Eminem, who eloquently expresses his passion for the actress in his new video. 
    
The reclusive rapper took a swipe at the couple in "We Made You," which was released on Tuesday, days after the women broke up.
    
In one scene, Eminem is driving a big rig while Lohan and Ronson lookalikes are making out next to him.
    
"He does not mean to lesbian offend, but Lindsay please come back to seeing men," Eminem intones in his rapid clipped style. "Samantha's a two, you're practically a 10. I know you want me, girl. In fact I see you grin."
    
Declaring that he's "looking for more women to torture," Eminem also claims he would be a better lover for actress Portia de Rossi than her wife Ellen DeGeneres. He also fantasizes about Sarah Palin, while a scantily clad lookalike of the former vice-presidential candidate poses seductively on her desk. 
    
Other targets of Eminem's rapier wit include tabloid starlet Kim Kardashian, and singers Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Amy Winehouse.
    
"You think that's bad. You should hear the rest of my album. Never has there been such finesse and nostalgia," he promises in the video.
    
That album, "Relapse," the follow-up to his 2004 release "Encore" is due in stores on May 19.

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