Raja Meziane, a female rapper, singer, songwriter, and lawyer who is born and raised in Algeria, believes that rap isn’t simply a political tool but “a powerful means to directly address the collective consciousness, which, in [her] opinion, makes its strength”. This sentiment is more than proven in her 2021 song, ‘Ma Bella’.
‘Ma Bella’, which translates to ‘My Beauty’, is a powerful song with a beautiful rhythm. Raja begins the video with a small opening that translates to, “This project is dedicated to my mom, my heroine, to all the moms who fought for their children, and to all women who overcome the difficulties of life. I love you all my Bellas.”
While such a simple passage, the words carry so much gravity and sincerity to it, it is difficult to not become emotional while listening. Raja continues on with her chorus, singing in French and inquiring how “her beauty” is doing, going on to say that they are precious. The rest of the song continues on in Arabic, where Raja raps to creatively and artistically express the grievances of mothers in the oppressive society women experience.
The sentiments expressed by Raja in this song, and her ability to display them in such a powerful way, uphold the beliefs held by the quadruple threat, in which she explains that music is used to address the collective consciousness. Her lyrics (which I translated to get a better understanding) speak for the voices that are not heard in our society and give those voices a direct line of communication to our collective awareness. Her music provides perspective to not only Algerian women but women in general, which is much needed in the male-dominated rap industry. Within her music, and outside of it, Raja always speaks her truth, even going so far as to leave Algeria because of the pressures from outside sources demanding she supports something she doesn’t believe in.
Overall, Raja Meziane has shown, once again, that her music not only demands the respect it deserves but does so in a beautiful manner.