Together Liberia, a platform for Liberian storytellers, tells the story of Hip-Co, a not yet well-known genre.
Takun J is Liberia’s premier Hip-Co artist. In terms of musical genre, Hip-Co (Co as in short for colloquial) is uniquely Liberian. In short, it’s music of the vernacular, the way people speak and relate to each other. Hip-Co evolved in the 1980s and has always been socially & politically bent. In the ‘90s it continued to develop through the civil wars, and today stands as a definitive mark of Liberian culture. Takun J has climbed his way to the top of the scene and is widely know both here and abroad. Linguistically he sets the tone for street talk in Monrovia. The slang he creates in his songs is picked up by the youth, who rapidly incorporate it into their everyday jive.
Takun’s music reflects the climate of Liberian society and his songs expose the reality of a flawed and corrupt system of governance. His song “The Police” led to his arrest and brutal beating at the hands of those he dared to criticize. Since then, he’s constantly on the watch. If you want to find Takun J, take a trip down to Carry street, Monrovia’s hub for local artists and musicians. His abode, a small upstairs room above the bar, plays host to crowded gatherings throughout the year.
Lately Takun J has been collaborating with Nasseman, Liberia’s leading Reggae star. Nasseman’s forthcoming album, “Redemption Time” features their collaborative track ,“Down in Africa”, an anthem of social struggle and corruption endemic in the continent.
Boima Tucker offers more insights into hip-co, in her great reportage from liberia for clustermag.