Sister Fa, formerly known as Fatou Diatta, was born in Dakar, Senegal. She debuted her first demo tape in 2000 and officially entered the stage or West African rap. Her songs are meant to expose the realities of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Continue reading “Sister Fa: A Human Rights Activist”
Blitz the Ambassador was born in Ghana. Growing up he idolized Nas. After gaining notoriety after recording part of the song “Deeba”. One of his songs, recorded in the states, “Dikembe” is a clear ode to his heritage. While he employs Nas-like verse form and style, his lyrics clearly put Africa in the spotlight. A critical line in the song is: “The African attack, Yese wo kum apim a apim beva, chale koko da, let me translate: you can’t fuck with us” is subtly saying “back off” to European/the west in general. He means that Africa has something important to offer and its artists should be valued. In the music video he wears African fabric on his shoulders, making it known that he is proud of his heritage. Another line that has fantastic historical meaning is inserted into his song: “spitting at these lames, watch them touch down in Africa, get snatched for their chains.” This lyric has many layers. One of them might be the fact that Africans and black culture are rarely credited and recognized. Too often their work is stolen or used without mention of its influence. Chains can refer to the stereotypical rapper sporting gold chains, but it also alludes to slavery and the diaspora itself. Blitz the Ambassador clearly knows that his success is partly due to his move to the United States. While his lyrics in this song might not show it, he demonstrates American influence through his clothes. In this video he wears a baseball cap, jeans, and a black shirt. He combines this with an African print scarf, which shows a blending of two worlds. He also references another famous African figure that is popular in the US, Dikembe. Dikembe Mutombo is a basketball player in the United States and is known for his Internet meme. Blitz the Ambassador shows he knows how music is transnational and crosses borders with this line: “I’m in Morroco, penning another classic for the masses.”
Toussa is an up and coming female rapper in Senegal. Hailing from Dakar, she is one of the few female hip-hop artists that have gotten recognition. She resists patriarchy in many ways, including the way she dresses. She resists the stereotype that women should dress in a “respectable” manner. She created Gotal (which is a women’s group dedicated to promoting women in hip hop). The video showcases Toussa’s rap skills. One important thing Toussa says is that rap is something that one does, while hip-hop is something that you live. In the video, you get to see Dakar through Gotal’s eyes. We get a glimpse at the skills of all these women when they rap. One of Toussa’s rap songs called “Trompreur” describes that rap is not a game, but a rebellion. The best line, in my opinion, is “the rapper must speak between the people and the state line”. This is very important because women need to use their platforms to speak out for themselves and for those who do not have a voice. Toussa advocates for freedom of speech and for democracy. Another song that Toussa has written is called “The Life” where she talks about the difficulty in succeeding. There is definitely a challenge in succeeding in Senegal, but more so for women. She says that the people need a female rapper. I think the world needs female rappers. They overcome stereotypes and pursue their dreams that were previously unavailable. Gotal is collaborating with non-profit to promote women’s success and leadership. One woman in the group is the first female producer in Senegal. The video also takes care to show them in their communities like at the beach and in the Dakar streets. It is clear that Toussa is a key member of her community despite her rising fame and success.
The song “The Roots” rapped by Didier Awadi and M1. It is a striking stand against imperialism and white superiority. The song says: “I ain’t a black man, I am an African.” This might be used to describe the way non-blacks perceive all black people as the same. Continue reading “Didier Awadi: The Roots”
MC Solaar is a renowned Senegalese rapper and poet. At a very young age, MC Solaar moved to France with his parents where he developed his love for rap. His official name is Claude M’Barali, but he is known as MC Solaar, which was his old graffiti tag. Continue reading “MC Solaar: Hijo de Africa”