Liberian’s American Based Artist Stays True to the Diaspora

Liberia’s well known hip hop artists Mdot, migrated to the United States when he was just four years old. Although he left his native country at a young age, he uses his platform in Philadelphia to recount the horrifying nature of the Liberian civil war.

In a sense, Mdot serves as a voice for those who struggled during the conflict and afterward. He mainly raps in standard English, rather than  koloqua(liberia’s local patois), so both Liberians and Americans are able to enjoy his music. His sepia colored memory of the continent and his experiences in America helps to shape his lyrical purpose. Mdot’s themes about Liberia, his impoverished environment in Philadelphia, and the daily struggle of being black in America, creates highly relatable lyrics that resonates with a wide audience.

In his song “Pray for Africa” he showcases his patriotism for his country with “Liberia is where I’m from and I’m reppin till the grave”.

Broad daylight where guns pop

If you wasn’t in the war that took place you ain’t never seen a killer

If we don’t fix the past then we can’t turn the page

In another song “Product of my Environment” he says “I be living life on the edge”, which is a reality for many young people enduring the destitute and crime ridden neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

I be on that violent shit, product of my environment

Killadelphia’s my environment

The crime rates here to stay like bacteria and roaches

Although he uses this song to highlight his life in Philadelphia, people in Africa and in other parts of America, can relate to the song because its a shared experience.

Many artists who leave the continent usually assimilate into the new culture and leave their old one behind. As we can see, Mdot may be living outside of Liberia but he remains true to the diaspora.

Author: Verolyne Barnard

Howard University, Liberian, Activist

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