Art and Expression

Mereba is an Ethiopian rapper who I have been interested in for quite sometime. Her music is not only methodical but also reflects a lot of her heritage. In an interview with Sway, Mereba discusses the evolution of her sound. She discusses how growing up in America with Ethiopian parents who influenced her a lot. Growing up her parents placed a high value on education. Mereba being a rebel decided to drop out one year and to ‘punish’ her, her parents sent her away to Ethiopia to live and reconnect with her culture and see how many opportunities she had in America. However, she ended up loving Ethiopia and its essence. It inspired her to learn to play guitar. And unlike most rappers, she began her career in the music industry through folk music. It wasn’t until her Ethiopian family members told her they couldn’t connect with just the guitar, they needed beats, rhythm, and drums that she changed her style. At this time Mereba went back to the drawing board searching for her music’s context. To do this she enrolled in school in Atlanta, Georgia to study at Spelman College. There she explored who she was as a woman, an African-American, and an artist. And she also met the members of her hip hop group EARTHGANG. They too are socially conscious and dedicated to spreading their experience and expression as members of the African Diaspora. They collaborated on the song above. It’s very emotional and telling of the growth of their persona in the rap industry. It speaks to the people they’ve lost on the journey and the family they gained. The vocals in the back remind me of soulful calls often found in African music which speaks more to how she connects to the motherland Africa, and to the Diaspora.

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