HHAP EPISODE 59: Moonaya on Dakar’s hip hop collectives, hip hop Pan Africanism, & Western imperialism in Africa.

Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.

Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in “Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.

Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.

“We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!”

Moonaya
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.

We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.

Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.

To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKkp-gOdxcmRBV7faC7w0Q
https://www.instagram.com/moonaya221/
https://www.facebook.com/MoonayaOfficiel
https://twitter.com/moonamuzik
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/moonaya/1435034416

HHAP Episode 57: Octopizzo on Hip Hop, Refugees, and POlice Brutality in Kenya

An MC, activist, and actor, Octopizzo was born in Nairobi, in the notorious Kibera slums, one of the largest slums in the world. His mixtape and album releases include: The Come Up V 1 (2008; Mixtape), El Classico (2014; Mixtape), Chocolate City (2014; album), LDPC (2015; album), Refugeenius (2016, album), and Next Year (2018; album).

He addresses a lot of social issues, including poverty, ethnic tensions, corruption, and the legalization of marijuana. He is also one of the few MCs to seriously and consistently address the issues around refugees. Kenya is home to a lot of refugees from surrounding conflicts, including people fleeing violence in the Congo, Sudan and Somalia.

On the album Refugeenius he collaborated with 20 Refugees from Kakuma & Dadaab Refugee camps in Kenya.

Octopizzo is the founder of the youth group Y.G.B. (Young, Gifted, and Black), which is a collective of MCs, poets, graffiti artists, graphic artists, and dancers. He founded his not-for-profit Octopizzo Foundation in 2015 and through the Foundation, he tries to use culture and sports to reach the youth.

More recently he has joined other activists addressing police brutality in Kenya, and drawing parallels between police violence in Kenya & the US. Recently he was involved in protests in front of the US embassy in Nairobi, holding up a sign of people killed and injured by the police. Recently, there have ben reports of over a dozen deaths at the hands of the Kenyan police supposedly trying to enforce a dusk to dawn curfew put in place to slow the spread of Corona.

The songs featured in the episode are “Nu Afrika” in the opening and “Another Day” in the closing.

Octopizzo can be found at: http://octopizzo.com/ | @OCTOPIZZO on Twitter & Instagram

The video version of this episode is on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/ZOu5ILtZ-Vc

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.

1 2 3 21