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Cape Verde: Small Island Doing BIG Things

Cape Verde: Small Island Doing BIG Things

By toksala
June 30, 2009


Dust off that old Atlas, turn up your speakers and get out your seat. There is a new nation on the international hip-hop scene—Cape Verde. Don’t let its size fool you; artists from this small country are doing BIG things!

When it comes to music, Cape Verde is home to more genres than one can count. Google ‘CV Music’ and you’ll find more information than the white pages. Given its rich musical history, it’s no small wonder that when the Diaspora first brought hip hop back to the islands it spread quicker than H1N1.

CV Hip Hop blends rich island rhythms, hard-hitting beats, and razor sharp lyricism. Think Talib Kweli, mixed with Buena Vista social club, topped off with a sprinkle of your favorite club banger. Oh, and with a lyrical mélange of English, Portuguese, CV Kriolu, Dutch and French.

For CV MCs and DJs hip-hop transcends music. In 2006, East Coast artists formed The Movement a collective dedicated to musical collaboration and community activism. Here is where you get out your pad and pen… their lineup is deep (Think Wu-Tang). Here’s the scoop on two of my favorites:


Chachi reps hard for Cape Verde’s 11th island—Rhode Island. The man’s resume is STRONG. Chachi has graced stages across the country with some of hip hop’s best. You don’t have to take my word for it. In 2007 VIBE magazine voted him one of the hottest new MCs state-to-state and in 2008 he was crowned the Champion of 106 & Park’s Wild Out Wednesday. For Chachi it’s not all about the mic. Out of the studio and offstage, he is a dedicated father, coach and youth advocate in Pawtucket Rhode Island.

Check out the video for his new track ‘Freedom Rings’ and keep your ear to the streets because his debut album About Time is schedule to drop this summer. For more info join his email list at (


If Chachi is Domino, Shokanti is one of those brown packets of ‘In the Raw’ sugar they push at Starbucks. Shokanti’s music radiates raw CV flavor. Shokanti spits solely in CV Kriolu. His lyrics paint pictures of past, present and future. Remember the first time you heard Nas’ ‘N.Y. State of Mind?’ (Much respect to king of Queensbridge) and were transported to the streets of Queens? Shonakti’s music is kind of like that, except instead of grey stoops and stairways he reflects about the dusty streets of CV and the poverty of his homeland. Check him out at (

–Written by Jason Azevedo for Nomadic Wax

Photo Courtesy of Chachi

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