Rapper Gsan of the group X Plastaz from Arusha, Tanzania, is representing Africa in this year's edition of the BET Hip Hop Awards, broadcast on BET (Black Entertainment Television) in the USA.
The annual BET Hip Hop Awards are watched by millions of hip hop fans across the United States. Especially the part of the show in which Gsan participates, titled the BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, is highly anticipated as it's a true gathering of giants in rap music.
The inclusion of X Plastaz in this year's BET Hip Hop Awards came about when BET contacted X Plastaz, after seeing their music video 'Nini dhambi kwa mwenye dhiki' on the Youtube website.
'Nini dhambi' which has drawn over 400.000 views is one of the most popular East African music videos on the web. Gsan flew out to Brooklyn, New York where the cypher was pre-recorded in an empty factory building.
His contribution was a rap in Swahili over an old school loop, cut up by dj Premier. While Swahili language hip hop was something new for the other artists, KRS One and Premier were full of love for the African input into this year's cypher. After recording the cypher, Gsan attended the Awards ceremony which took place in Atlanta on October 10, and was broadcast October 27.
Says Gsan in an interview with Emcee Africa presenter Lee Kasumba: "Well, the Cypher segment was recorded in New York before the actual award ceremony. For me, it was just amazing to be there with people like Eminem, KRS One, DJ Premier playing the beats, and being able to showcase what I had. Many people were blown away with what I did and asked me why I rhymed in Swahili ‘cause they wanted to understand. I was just like ‘English is not my first language, I speak it, I love it but you will be able to mess me up if I rhyme in English’.