Omzo Dollar’s “La Signada”

Omzo Dollar first entered the rap scene in 2006 when a friend challenged him to a battle at school. Under the gaze of his comrades and even some of his teachers he surprised many with his very first lyrics and mesmerized an entire audience. As he began to rap more often, he formed a group with Zig Zag, his opponent during this famous rap battle known as Capsi Block. The group will soon leave its mark on the scene of the new generation of hip hop in Senegal. Today Omzo is a solo artist, but has a lot of popularity and no longer needs an introduction in Senegalese hip hop thanks to his single “Do Am Dara” as well as through his appearance on “showdi bi lol” and many others. His varied flow, his technique and his confidence makes him a rather out of the ordinary rapper in Senegal.

Omzo is known for his rather “cocky” lyricism which is evident in his song “La Signada”, for the youth in Senegal they believe that this song was a diss track towards Dip Doundou Guiss, another well known Senegalese hip hop artist. Omzo and Dip seem to often go head to head as the most popular artists in the rap scene. This confidence is seen in the song when Omzo states: “Ni nge guissé rappeur youma meune, nonou la wa Guediawaye  di guissé dragon.” This lyric translates to “the way you see a rapper better than me is how the people in Guediawaye (region in Senegal) see a dragon” meaning the way people aren’t able to see a dragon since it does not exist is the same way he is not able to see anyone being a better rapper than him because for him it is just not a possibility. Moreover, Omzo does not only rap in wolof in this song but rather there are moments in which he switches to French or even adds some english in the song. For instance he says, “ rappeur yi bougou niouma mane tamite bougouma len et c’est très bien comme ca.” Sticking with this overconfidence vibe, the lyric translates to “ rappers don’t like me, I also don’t like them and it’s very good like that.” The use of French s is important due to the fact that it illustrates the French culture that has also been embedded in Senegal since colonialism. Hence, although many speak wolof more often French remains a language used by the majority of the population.

Moreover, an important aspect of “La Signada” in terms of the lyricism is the fact that Omzo Dollar would infuse english but only through profanity. For instance, he uses words like “bitch” and “nigga” within the song to incorporate some of the American rap culture since it seems like those tend to be the common words when listening to American rap. In the song he says: ” Kagn ngey dioubo “Diw ak Diw” bitch jamais de la vie” and “Fuck you niggas anyway.” Therefore, the use of English particularly through it’s profanity illustrates the fact that American rap culture will always have some sort of influence in the rap scene in Africa. Therefore even though English may not be the national language spoken in a particularly country for instance in Senegal, there’s a certain understanding of how to capture the attention of it’s audience due to the fact that American rap culture is still widely spread within the country and continent, hence it’s influence will always be present.

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