Equatoguinean Hip-Hop Artist: Mefe

Equatorial Guinea is probably one of the more interesting African countries to research hip-hop artists in. Because Equatorial Guinea was once a Spanish colony, a lot of the music has Spanish influence. Mefe, is a female rapper from Equatorial Guinea. However, like many other current Equatoguinean hip hop artists, she resides in Spain. Equatorial Guinea’s geography makes it relatively hard for music to become popular, especially in the ’90s and 2000s. Most Equatoguinean artists traveled to Cameroon or Europe to record. Hip Hop is thought to have first emerged in the country’s capital in the 1990s. Some rappers speak in the primary native language- fang, while others primarily rap in Spanish. Some intertwine both languages, creating sort of a slang similar to what we call “Spanglish”, except it is a mix of Spanish and Fang.

Mefe is one of several artists who were exiled from Equatorial Guinea for their anti-government rhetoric and overall criticism of the government. Ironically, the son of long term-president Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is also a rapper. However, the Obiang regime is still very known for banning artists who criticize the government.

Her debut album, Fuego: The Street Album, commented on social justice issues. Most of the information on this album is in Spanish, however, roughly translated the album is described as “a positive project with a broad theme that goes from personal experiences to natural and transparent social criticism and where different styles ranging from hip hop to reggae through African rhythms are covered.” (hiphopgroups.com) Mefe is associated with hip-hop/singing acts like VKR, Yuma, and Joyota Mayascula. All are artists who have been targeted for criticizing the Equatoguinean government, and they all now reside in Madrid. Because Mefe is an older artist, it is hard to find her music still circulating on updated sites, and it is also hard to find accurate translations. Nonetheless, when her album was first distributed in 2002, it was done so for free through the internet just to help perpetuate the issues addressed in her music.

Source: Goldsmith, Melissa Ursula Dawn and Fonseca, Anthony J. 2018. Hip Hop around the World [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood

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