Female hip hop MCs are difficult to find in Burkina Faso. Many of the women I have come across online are not strictly rappers. Most of the women who are found rapping do so when featured with a male. This is to say that they produce music on their own as either R&B or pop. It is easily presumable that Burkinabe women in hip hop are accustomed to the notion that rap is a male dominated genre. It seems that their ability to be an MC depends on their reputation among the male MCs. The difficulty of transcending this notion is shown through the ways in which women are found rapping. Continue reading “Burkina Faso’s Malika La Slameuse: “All Night” feat. Stelair”
Burkina Faso’s Smockey or Serge Martin Bambara has been a staple for social and political change in his country. He has long been writing songs that have countered the dictatorship of Blaise Compaoré who had been president from 1987-2014. Compaoré’s government has committed many crimes and the citizens of Burkina Faso have felt disillusioned by the government and lack of change in this fake democracy. He is also the co-founder of the Balai Citoyen movement in an attempt to unite citizens under one large social movement. His music has raised political awareness to the youth of Burkina Faso. These messages are made to protect and inform citizens of brutal repression. Continue reading “Burkina Faso’s Smockey- La vie s’en va”
In his well-known song and music video, “Votez pour moi” [“Vote for me”], Burkinabé rapper Smockey takes to the microphone to simultaneously parody and criticize the 2005 presidential re-election campaign of then-incumbent Blaise Campaoré. In both the lyrics and the ridiculous video accompaniment, Smockey works to make fun of and tear down the messaging of Campaoré’s campaign. Continue reading “Parodying the President: Musical Activism”
In the music video for “Le Poids de la Tradition”(The Weight of Tradition), Duden J and his collaborators create a narrative that serves to display a Burkina Faso tradition. The music, on the other hand, is very much influenced by American hip-hop styles. The narrative takes place in a village. There, they have an area for “un jugement”. In this case, everyone gathers over the accusation of witchcraft. Continue reading “Burkina Faso’s Duden J: “Le Poids de La Tradition””
In his 2015 video “Rogomiki”, Burkinabe musician Art Melody takes to the streets of Ouagadougou to rap about the conflicts he’s witnessed between tradition and modernity in Burkina Faso. The video starts with a shot of Art Melody standing with a friend and someone dressed in long, flowing traditional top and a lion’s head in a Ouagadougou city street. Melody’s wearing clothes that are a departure from the jerseys and hoodies he’s worn in pastvideos. Continue reading “Rogomiki: In Spite of Modernity”
I had the pleasure to review a song under Kalakuta music, which is the only Pan African and bilingual record label in the Ivory Coast. Continue reading “Artist Music Review: “KMG” and “Yung Swiss””
This is episode 12 of the podcast, and the fourth and last in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode features a conversation with Mathurin Soubéiga, who does booking and promotion at Shrine World Music Venue in New York. He is also the former Coordinator of the Waga Hip Hop Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Soubéiga also runs the Burkina Rap Connection blog
The Waga Hip Hop Festival has a history of being an epicenter of West African, especially Francophone, hip hop. The festival had a strong reputation for promoting serious hip hop. In this conversation we discuss hip hop and Burkina Faso and the legacy of the Waga Festival.
In Ouagadougou, where the festival began and was held, the hip hop community has produced some serious & conscious hip hop artists. Smockey, one of the activists in the Le Balai Citoyen (Citizen’s Broom) movement that helped to overthrow Burkina Faso’s previous president, is also a pioneer in Burkinabe rap.
The intro and outdo song is “Insoumission” by Burkina emcee Smockey: https://youtu.be/e89IvPAq8Zc
In 2011, Nomadic Wax released a 17 minute documentary titled Hip Hop Burkinabé, and it can be found on YouTube[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf0OUz6LDEo%5D
In 2016, Aj Jazeera published an article on the involvement of the artists in the Le Balai Citoyen movement titled “The soundtrack to Burkina Faso’s revolution”
Text on hip hop in Burkina Faso include:
Marie-Soleil Frère and Pierre Englebert. “Briefing: Burkina Faso—the Fall of Blaise Compaoré” in African Affairs (2015).
Daniel Künzler and U Reuster-Jahn. “Mr. President”: musical open letters as political commentary in Africa” in Africa Today (2012).
Daniel Künzler. “Rapping Against the Lack of Change: Rap music in Mali and Burkina Faso” in the book Native Tongues: An African Hip-Hop Reader (2011) edited by P. Khalil. Saucier.
This is episode 12 of the podcast, and the fourth and last in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode features a conversation with Mathurin Soubéiga, Continue reading “HHAP Episode 12: Burkinabe Rap Dialogue”