Dibi Dobo, one of Benin’s top hip-hop artists, has exceptional skill in his use of language. Rather than simply switch between his native tongue (Fon) and French as many other artists do, Dibi Dobo mixes Fon, French, and English in his songs. This is a deliberate choice, one reflecting the artist’s desire to incorporate traditional Beninese music with more modern day styles. Shifting from style to style, Dibi Dobo is consistent in his multicultural approach and lyrical skill, seeking to reach new audiences.
Dibi Dobo started his career in the Beninese rap group Def Lyrics. Finding success from there, he issued a solo album “Soyimavo” in 2010. For his album, he was nominated for the Kora Awards in 2010.
Check out an (older) example of one of Dibi Dobo’s collabs with Blaaz, another Beninese hip-hop artist.
Dibi Dobo comes in on the song rapping in Fon, reflecting his upbringing. In his own words, the artist is “truly linked to his homeland and people”, yet also strives for “music that has no borders”. In an interview, when asked why he sings in Fon, Dibi Dobo responded that he wanted his music to be accessible by everyone in his community (referencing everyone from the elderly to teenagers). These words reflect his ambivalent desire to have music accessible at the world stage and through his local community.
His focus on accessibility paid off, seen by his latest song “Mamacita”, which got over 1 million YouTube hits. However, this may be due to the artist’s recent shift from hip-hop to Afro-beats. Dibi Dobo describes his music as neither of these types, calling it a new style titled “Dibitiks”.
If you want to check more of Dibi Dobo’s work, check out his website and YouTube channel. Keep in mind that a lot of his earlier more hip-hop styled songs are not on his YouTube channel. To find those, searching Dibi Dobo on YouTube will bring up the relevant results.