HHAP EPISODE 59: Moonaya on Dakar’s hip hop collectives, hip hop Pan Africanism, & Western imperialism in Africa.

Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.

Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in “Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.

Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.

“We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!”

Moonaya
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.

We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.

Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.

To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKkp-gOdxcmRBV7faC7w0Q
https://www.instagram.com/moonaya221/
https://www.facebook.com/MoonayaOfficiel
https://twitter.com/moonamuzik
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/moonaya/1435034416

Hip Hop African Podcast Episode 58: The Tanzanian and Diaspora Artists Behind The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape

The Lounge Tanzania Mixtape Volume 1 is a project that brings together Tanzanian and Diaspora singers, rappers, and poets. The project features artists that are internationally known, as well as artists just starting their careers.

In this conversation with seven of the artists, we talk about the evolution of the project and how the project reflects hip hop and popular culture in Tanzania. We also discussed the message the project sends to the music industry in Tanzania, which has tended to only promote one style of music.

We talked about the collaboration between English and Swahili performing artists, the lack of East Africa representation in recent projects like Black Panther and the Lion King, and how this project shows East Africa’s engagement in Pan African projects as well.

The seven artists interviewed in this episode are
Mike Tareto/IG: @miketareto
Joe Legendary/IG: @joelegendary
Shamsa/IG: @vikombeviwilivyakahawa
Fete Jen/IG: fete_jen
Ronny aka Ty Charls/IG: @ronnycharlz
Mex Cortez/IG: mex.tz
FG Tony/IG: @fg__tony

The episode begins with “Tougher” by Lo SayAloha Ski and Mex Cortez and “Wale Wale” by Zenji Boy. The episode ends with “No Time For Trash” by Mex Cortez.

The video version of this episode can be found on our YouTube Channel

The mixtape can currently be streamed on the following platform:
https://soundcloud.com/fete-jen/sets/the-lounge-mixtape-vol-1

The artists on the project are
Mex Cortez
Frankie Maston
Joe Legendary
Chi
Lufu
Mike Tareto
V.I.C.
Zamdazitta
Lo SayAloha Ski
Zenji Boy
Sima
FG_Tony
Ty Charlz
Mteganda
H
Shamsa

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