Thank you Abu-Fatima, for your observations.
I have heard people repeatedly refer to Gambara as rap (or rap as Gambara). I think this reflects a very poor understanding of BOTH Gambara and rap. They are NOT the same. Gambara is about PERFORMANCE, theater, mimesis, audiences, etc. It is COMEDY targeted at incorporating the audience into the performance, and often using the audience as sub-text.
Rap is poetry in verses that draw attention to specific issues that affect essentially urban denizens. It has nothing to do with Gambara, is not a sub-text or sub-genre of Gambara, and certainly does not pay historical performatic homage to Gambara. Rap CAN be performed; but then any other music can be performed (e.g. Beethoven's Symhony No 5) Late Mallam Ashana Dan Kama (who lived three doors away from our house in Daneji, Kano city, Nigeria) was a perfect example of Gambara musician (comedy, humor, jester-like, jokes, etc). In fact consider Eddy Murphy's stand up comic routines (which he started before landing a role in his first film, TRADING PLACES) as classic European Gambara, sans the music (although often WITH music). Consider also SPITTIN' IMAGES of London Weekend Television as another example of Gambara, and you get the idea of what Gambara really is.
On the other hand, KARIYA by K-Boyz and KAYAN AURE by Kano Rider are perfect examples of (in my view, excellent) modern Hausa rap. Bagobiri Sullutu is a perfect example of Hausa traditional ACAPELLA rap (and now that I have reactivated my box.net account, I will certainly upload him when I return from Istanbul, where I am currently). I still maintain that K-Boyz and Kano Riders are the ONLY pure modern rap musicians in Kano. Others don't even come close because they are too besotted with Nanaye formats.
So what do we call Gambara - Stand up Comedy. For attentuation, here's what Wikipedia has to say about stand up comedy:
Stand-up performances are usually short, where the comedian recites a fast-paced succession of humorous stories, short jokes (called "bits"), and one-liners, which comprise what is typically called a monologue, routine or act. Some stand-up comedians use props, music or magic tricks to enhance their acts.
That is what Gambara really is. But not rap.