Home Institution

University of Southern California

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Kenya: Swahili Studies and Coastal Cultures


In the global world of the 21st Century, music is one of the few things that has the ability to cross physical as well as cultural borders, which is why my Independent Study Project (ISP) focuses on the role of hip-hop music in the youth culture in Kenya’s largest coastal city, Mombasa. Throughout history, music has proven its artistic power; inspiring people to resist oppression, challenge inequality, and even claim salvation.

This enduring characteristic of music is central to my ISP which explores the emergence of hip-hop in Kenya as well as the evolution of Ukoo Flani, one of the groundbreaking kaya hip-hop groups from Mombasa who have been described by many youth as a revolutionary musical movement. The objective of this ISP is to prove to the reader that hip-hop has become a culturally-relevant, culturally-significant form of artistic expression for urban Kenyan youth to cope with the struggles they face on a daily basis.


Anthropology | Ethnomusicology | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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