Film Image
Living the Hiplife
61 minutes
English subtitles
Trailer and More

Living the Hiplife

This film is a musical portrait of street life in urban West Africa. It follows the birth of Hiplife music in Accra, Ghana, a mix of various African musical forms and American hip hop. Archival footage and hip hop music videos are remixed with interviews and the daily lives of rap artists. We follow Reggie Rockstone, the Godfather of Hiplife in the founding of the musical movement, as well as the Mobile Boys a group of aspiring rap artists as they try to make it in the music business. With humor and personality these characters move across the political and musical landscape of urban Ghana.
Pricing & Ordering
Buyer Type Format Sale Type Price
Higher Education Institutions DSL 1-year License $150.00
Higher Education Institutions DSL 3-years License $300.00
Higher Education Institutions DVD Sale $225.00
Higher Education Institutions Life Digital File Sale $600.00
Click a 'Price' to add an item to your Cart. If DSL or LDF rates are not listed, or if you are interested in a public screening, please fill out this form and we will get back to you with availability information.
"...thoughtful and visually exciting at the same time. It is a musical documentary that gives a powerful sense of life in contemporary Africa." - John Akomfrah, Filmmaker
"...cleverly portrays contemporary West African expressive culture. It is especially important because it shows the importance of Pan-Africanism and African Diasporic artistic and political connections to people in Africa." - Chinua Achebe, Writer
"This film reveals for American and European audiences what is happening in the streets of Africa. It's a really powerful film that documents a vibrant, yet sadly underreported part of the rap world." - Link Landvik-Larsen, Writer
"LIVING THE HIPLIFE captures the textures of West African music in a visually compelling bricolage. Its vivid characters have ambitions of fame and fortune that are contrasted with archival footage and the geographies of afro-cosmopolitanism." - Jyoti Mistry, Filmmaker
"Rappers in Accra, Ghana, have fused American hip-hop with a form of Ghanaian music called highlife to create a new genre: hiplife. Living the Hiplife hangs out with several of the rappers, DJs, and producers, capturing their views on hiplife's origins and significance. The film's director, Jesse Weaver Shipley--a professor of African Studies--draws on his scholarly expertise, while also deftly mixing in commentary from University of Ghana professors on the cultural, historical, economic, and political contexts of hiplife. A fascinating, thoughtful, and entertaining study of creative appropriation and cultural cross-fertilization in a globalized world, Living the Hiplife is highly recommended." - Video Librarian
"Highly recommended. This highly-engaging documentary looks at the development of the Ghanaian popular music know as Hiplife…the documentary does an admirable job of showcasing the diversity of ideas and talent in the movement…"Living the Hiplife" could be used in classes to discuss topics such as syncretization, popular/youth culture, the globalization of hip hop, Africa's relationship to the Diaspora, and music history in Ghana." - Martha Kelehan, Binghamton University, Educational Media Reviews Online
• African Studies Association Annual Meeting, 2007
• Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, 2007

Call Us 1 (212) 947-9277
  • Third World Newsreel
  • • 545 Eighth Avenue, Suite 550, New York, NY 10018
  • • Telephone 212-947-9277

TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.