Banjoko launches Hip-Hop Chess Federation

On Friday, February 23rd, Adisa Banjoko hosted a  chess event at the King Library in San Jose, California called, "Hip-Hop, Chess and Life Strategies." As part of the initiative for his Hip-Hop Chess Federation, his idea is to provide an arena for youth to interact with hip-hop artists in an effort to show the universal popularity of the game. "There's a lot of intelligence in hip-hop that does not get showcased," Banjoko said.

When asked in a KCBS interview about rappers' enthusiasm for chess, Banjoko stated,

"It started in the  early 80s with the political rappers making a lot of chess metaphors, but then as gangster rap started to rise up, it looked like obviously a lot of the intellectual stuff was kind of dying off, but what you actually found out was because of the  street hustlers that play chess, the metaphors came back!"

Adisa Banjoko. Photo from

Adisa Banjoko

About three dozen people attended the event as rappers exchanged challenges and trash-talking, but also traded morsels of wisdom. Banjoko seems to have found a winning combination and the hip-hop journalist plans more events in metropolitan areas including international locations such as London, England. His newly-formed Hip-Hop Chess Federation hopes to galvanize these efforts and serve as a bridge between the two artful genres.

Listen to KCBS interview with Banjoko, 23 February 2007.
Visit Banjoko's websites at Lyrical Swords and  Holla at a Scholar!!

Posted by The Chess Drum:  25 February 2007