HHAP Ep78: Eavesdrop on Cultivating Spaces for Authenticity in Hip-Hop

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Eavesdrop is a multi-hyphenate artist who is an MC, a producer, a director, and an actor. She has been active in Cape Town’s Hip-Hop scene for almost 2 decades and as a lyricist she often produces meaningful lyrics, expressing ideas that have depth. In this interview, we had an important conversation with Eavesdrop about the importance of representation and authenticity. We talked honestly about sometimes feeling conflicted on how best to support younger artists, especially women. Strength and confidence are a prerequisite for being a Hip-Hop artist, and we reflect on how to support other women while encouraging them to rely on their own strength and confidence to excel. “If you need me to hold this door open for you, how are you going to learn the weight of this door?” Eavesdrop We also discuss South Africa’s political history and how that influences the presence and participation of women in Hip-Hop. Eavesdrop introduces us to the concept of “imbokodo” (“rock” in Zulu”), which emerged during the anti-apartheid movement. A common chant during the movement was “Wathint’abafazi, wathint’imbokodo!” (“You strike women, you strike a rock!”). “As an MC you’re seen as imbokodo, you’re seen as that rock, you’re seen as that pillar, and you are somehow helping to preserve that legacy that your country is known for … for its strong women” Eavesdrop We also talk about the cost of authenticity. Eavesdrop says that being authentic to yourself as an artist is freedom. It often does not mean wealth, but it does mean freedom. In an industry where some equate talent and success with material things, placing higher importance on wealth than on the actual art or the message, Eavesdrop reflects on the importance of being her authentic self “When you live in the ghetto, your TV is never off… It’s just constantly running a program on you.. we have a lot of work to do in terms of rewriting that code” Eavesdrop

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