HHAP Episode 56: Lord Ekomy Ndong on Gabonese Hip-Hop & French Politics

Lord Ekomy Ndong, has been a leading voice in the African hip hop scene since 1990, when he founded the Gabonese group Movaizhaleine. Movaizhaleine’s 1999 debut album was Mission Mbeng. He released his 1st solo album, L’Afrikain, in 2003. It is considered by many to be a hip-hop classic. Over his career, he has done collaborations with several artists, and released numerous studio albums.

Around the time of the 2009 elections in Gabon, Lord Ekomy Ndong released the singles “300”, “809” and “Engongol” (What a Shame). The songs were critical of both corruption in Africa, and of France’s controversial presence in Africa.

In 2011, with his 11th studio album, Ibogaine, he once again took shots at France. In the song “Questoins Noires” (Black Questions), he talks directly to French President Nicholas Sarkozy about France’s military presence in Africa. His 2017 album, La Théorie Des Cordes (A Theory of Cords), he reflects on the global protests that took place in the Gabonese diaspora around the 2016 election in the song “Sur mon Drapeau” (By My Flag).

In this interview, we spoke about his career and hip-hop culture in Gabon. We also spoke about France’s occupation of Africa, and the implications of that occupation. We also talked about his outspokenness, and the price paid by musicians who speak out against corruption and politics.

This past May, he released the album Petit Mutant Dans son Coin which can be found on online streaming platforms.

Facebook: @LORDEKOMYNDONG
Instagram/Twitter/SoundCloud: @Ekomy

The video of this interview can be found on The Hip Hop African YouTube channel.

HHAP Episode 52: Medusa, Navigating Hip Hop in Tunisia & France

Medusa is a Tunisian artist who emerged as an MC in Tunisia’s hip hop community around the time of the Arab Spring of the 2010s. Her career as an MC has followed an interesting path, as she often found herself in the role of “conscious MC”, being one of the few women in the Tunisian hip hop community and speaking out on important social issues.

In this interview she talks about hip hop under the Arab Spring. While many talk about the role of artists in the Arab Spring, Medusa talks about the impacts of the Arab Spring on hip hop culture. She says the Arab Spring encouraged youth engagement, and that post revolution, many youth have moved into more commercial rap sounds.

She has since moved to France, where she talks about her experience in the Parisian hip hop scene and her work with a new team of creatives. We met up with Medusa during a 2019 self-funded trip to the U.S. Medusa made to promote her work and establish contacts. 

During her trip, she visited the class of American University professor and hip hop scholar, Dr. Kendra Salois. Our interview took place after her guest lecture in Dr. Salois’ class.

Medusa is on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, BandCamp, and SoundCloud.

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