Cynicism and Reality in Hip Hop

Diamant Noir

Diamant Noir, a Beninese rap group, released the song Notre Monde in 2006.

Controversial and Bold, Diamant Noir Doesn’t Hold Back

Notre Monde is sung in French and discusses a variety of social and political messages. Central to the song is a concept of blackness, and how that struggle is linked to oppression worldwide. Overall, a pervading theme of cynical analysis runs throughout the hit. Diamant Noir brings up the tense media climate (fraught with news of bombings and attacks), corrupt politicians, ineffective leadership, the failure for students (even those with degrees) to have available jobs, and the failed promise of governments. These listed issues are all tackled within the first minute of the song—the rest of the song adheres to Diamant Noir’s framework and message as well.

The idea that Africans are separated from the modern world, condemned to be at the bottom of society (referenced in the lyrics through the dated ideology of third world countries), is another critical issue. The chorus states that to be black is a bloodbath. The group brings up how being African is seen by others worldwide as a handicap and compares their oppression to other groups worldwide such as Palestinians. Yet rather than use these outside conflicts as a rallying cry, Diamant Noir utilizes a cynical take by saying that leaders often take advantage of suffering to appeal to popular narratives. Ultimately, Diamant Noir rejects outsiders judging and taking advantage of Africans, claiming that they would rather stay in what some perceive to be hell than be in a heaven that doesn’t accept them for who they are.

Notre Monde isn’t about expressing answers, it’s a call of frustration by people who are tired of seeing the world (and their own governments) act against their own interest. Rather than spread an idealistic message, Diamant Noir critiques positive narratives and isn’t afraid to call out groups for their actions.

You can learn more about Diamant Noir by visiting their Facebook page and Youtube channel.

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