Posted in Artist Profiles, Senegal

African Hip-Hop Artist #4

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Biography

Sengalese group Daara J Family creates shared the molding of their artistic talents through their music. The group raps in their wolof dialect to share messages about their journey towards success. Daara J Family embraced different styles including soul, reggae, and traditional music to help produce their own style. The group had no difficulties becoming popular following the formation of their group in 1997. The members are heavily influenced by the American hip-hop style that appeared in their songs. From their first album, Senegal, to their later albums, Daara J Family expanded on musical and political ideals to communicate with its audience. Boomerang was known as “one of the best hip hops albums of the century” by a British newspaper. The harmonious rhythm between the artist’s personal attachment to the lyrics helps to create a relatable and empowering emotion.

In addition to music, Daara J Family is heavily involved with activism. In fact, their drive as activists is one of the main contributors to the group’s formation. Because wars and conflict arise frequently in parts of Africa, the group focuses on peace and educating the world about Africa. There are several misconceptions about Africa that depict the continent mainly in a negative way. The stressed the importance of educating individuals worldwide on the truth about Africa promote unity on a solution to ending the wars. Both their musical and activist roles have made a huge impact by integrating their style and politics to convey different messages.

Artist’s Review

Darra J Family’s song “Bayi Yoon” produced the exact opposite song that I was initially expecting. I began watching the music video and didn’t expect to see a large family singing the song because I anticipated a few family members in the group. The lead singer who has dread locks began singing softly after the family sang their part. I was not expecting such a soft noise to come from his mouth because I typically only see and hear men who have dreadlocks rapping. It was refreshing to hear a different sound and actually be interested in what he the lyrics would be about.

The background chants and grunts are directly from the voices of other family members within the group. The rawness of their voice creates a homely connection to their African roots. Although the song is sung in their native language, the constant mention of Africa makes you assume that the song pertains to that topic. In addition, the video takes place in an area where spiritual rituals are held. The members are dressed in traditional African clothing in bright, vivid colors to represent certain meanings within their culture. The beat turns from a faster paced tempo to a slower one to create variety within the speed of the song. This creates a soothing effect as you continue to listen to the artist sing the words while being accompanied by drums and other sounds that reflect the culture. There is also a member of the group that raps and speeds up the tempo of the song and creates an intense mood during his delivery. The song ends with the original singer and ends the song on a faster pace that invites listeners to dance along and enjoy the music.

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