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January 20, 2014

A Collaborative Digitization and Annotation of Kenyan hip-hop Lyrics

January 20, 2014 | By | No Comments

My project aims at creating a one-stop site for hip-hop scholars, educators, practitioners and fans interested in accessing and learning more about the Kenyan hip-hop lyrical content. The project is motivated by the desire to collect and preserve Kenyan hip-hop lyrical content in ways that are accessible to fans, practitioners and scholars both locally and globally. My interest in creating the site arose from my personal frustrations as a hip-hop scholar in trying to find Kenyan hip-hop lyrical content for my own research, and lack of reliable metadata needed for citation/bibliographic information. My goal is to create a collaborative online site similar to rapgenius in an effort to begin building a community between Kenyan hip-hop scholars, practitioners, artists and fans. Besides digitizing and sharing lyrics, people will be invited to write annotations to the lyrics, and encouraged to participate in discussions that contribute in understanding not only the lyrical content, but also the entire Kenyan hip-hop culture.

I believe the site will be particularly useful for scholars given the fact that global hip-hop is drawing a lot of scholarly attention today. By providing annotations to lyrics, the site will contribute to an easier understanding of the lyrical content since Kenyan artists compose their music in multiple languages or in the complex creolized urban youth code—Sheng.  Also to be included in the site is an online Kenyan hip-hop language dictionary. I will begin building lexicon specific to Kenyan hip-hop and provide definitions and explanations. As part of the community building process however, artists, scholars and fans will be invited to contribute/submit new lexicon and provide definitions as well. In addition, the site will be used to feature Kenyan artists by sharing their profiles, current projects and links to their social media sites.

Through the CHI fellowship, I will begin building a website for the project using Foundation. To be part of the community, one will create an account to be able to submit, share, annotate lyrics, and be part of the conversation. I will also use a web-based annotation tool a.nnotate to promote collaborative digitizing, annotation and discussions of the lyrics. Since I am building/launching the project, I will be in charge of running the site with the hope of enlisting serious contributors to help run it. My plan and hope is to see the site continue to grow beyond the CHI fellowship.

 

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