Lij michel gets his name from the famous title that was used by the Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellasie before becoming Emperor. “LIJ” literally can be translated to kid in English. But the other translation is a person who is second in line to the throne. His real name is Michael Taye and it is his mother who gave him the nickname Faf. Lij on the other hand is a name he used back in the day as his grandfather is called Lij Tsigey.
Aptly fusing the Ethiopian sound with Hip Hop, Lij is representative of the vibrant new age Ethiopian music scene. During his performance at coca cola studio in Kenya, Nairobi he said, “There were some other Ethiopian rappers rapping in English before me, but I brought Ethio Hip Hop to the big stage.” To let everyone, know that he prides himself in being a Hip Hop pioneer in the ever-changing industry of Ethiopian music. He takes his inspiration from classic Ethiopian artists and other internationally distinguished hip hop legends.
The song that I choose to blog about is entitled “Zaraye yehun nege” the English equivalent would be life is uncertain. On this song Lij tries to tie the day to day Ethiopian life into his music. He does an excellent job by including video clips and snap shots of the hustle and bustle of the average Ethiopians. Even though the music genre is hip hop, the lyrics is in Amharic (Ethiopian language).
The effects of globalization and the shadows of American hip hop (red cups) is heavily present in this video. But the way he tries to reconcile this with the Ethiopian culture is so amazing. He plugs in the Ethiopian coffee tradition to show that the youth is still attached to the culture of the grandparents.
Lij michale was nominated for the MTV Africa Music Award for Listener’s Choice in 2017. He continues to perform across Africa and tries to crossover to the global market as a unique Ethiopian hip hop artist.
I will attach the link to his video below.