Moona (or also known as Moonaya), a Beninese hip hop artist currently living in Senegal, represents uncommon themes and unheard struggles in her music. Moona was born in Benin, and moved to Senegal for her studies. Despite living in Dakar, Moona is well known in the Beninese scene and represents Benin in the West African hip hop collective United Artists for African Rap. Her father was a musician, but Moona initially did not follow in his footsteps. In Senegal, she studied law and became a lawyer. However, her friends encouraged her to continue her own musical explorations. Today she does so through hip hop, and has participated in several festival. The influences of her legal studies can be found in her music. Additionally, Moona has released several albums starting with “A Fleur 2 Mo” in 2009. For this blogpost, I will be looking at several songs from her debut album.
Moona’s unique approach and explorations are heard in her song J’déprim. Opening with a bloodcurdling scream, the track dives deep into the artist’s feelings and battle with depression. Throughout my coverage of the Beninese scene, this song stood out as a fundamentally different approach to what music can discuss. Unlike some other artists, Moona is not afraid to discuss personal feelings that may counter the braggadocio present in many songs.
Another worthy track to listen to is Moona’s “Toutes les fam 2 ta vie”. Through a groovy beat, the song focuses on Moona’s portrayal of various women that people encounter in their lives. Walking the fine line between stereotypes and criticism, the artist manages to expose the shallow views and regard that some women face while also demonstrating the individuality of women and their unique experience. The song also exposes Moona’s great lyrical flow (worth a listen even if you do not speak French), as it presents a story that other male Beninese artists would not be able to do.
For more Moona/Moonaya check her out on MySpace and Youtube: