HHAP Episode 3: Xuman and Keyti on Hip Hop Culture in Senegal

This episode features an interview with Senegalese hip hop pioneers and activists Xuman and Keyti. Xuman and Keyti have been active in hip hop in Senegal for over 20 years. They now host a hip hop news show called Journal Rappé on YouTube. The episode featured on this podcast features the U.S. rapper M1.

Journal Rappé: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCImRGQL_sK7OHi1h823Nc0w


This episode features an interview with Senegalese hip hop pioneers and activists Xuman and Keyti. Xuman and Keyti have been active in hip hop in Senegal for over 20 years. They now host a hip hop news show called Journal Rappé on YouTube. The episode featured on this podcast features the U.S. rapper M1.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 3: Xuman and Keyti on Hip Hop Culture in Senegal”

Keyti: Music Review

Keyti is a Senegalese rapper who rose to fame through the group Rap ‘Adio. He initiated his career by expressing his ideals as to what true hip hop and rap should be. He intended to take rap back to its roots, that of which were of a political and socially critical driven nature. Keyti has repeatedly expressed his love for language and how important he believes it is for a people’s to maintain it. Through language he has found a way to express himself and thereupon believes everyone else should do the same.

Keyti, much like very many other people, believes rap music is a politically inclined work of poetry. Although the majority of his serious music is delivered by the use of the Wolof language, his showcasing music performed on Journal Tele Rappe or Journal of Rap, which is played throughout Senegalese television broadcasts and You Tube channels, contains a mixture of French, Wolof and at times, some English verses.

In terms of the Journal Tele Rappe, Keyti delivers his verses with a sense of dry humor. The most obvious of which may be found within and episode in which President Obama takes the primary focus due to his visit to their country. Within the song the verses are passed off between various of his associates and from the very few English verses garnered in the production it became apparent that said verses were used to express their supposed admiration for the President and his country, and maybe even slight jabs in between.

In the art of rap, lays a thick layer of poetic homage. In which case it became apparent that Keyti’s poetic verses tend to clash with his actual rhymes. As a result, Keyti’s “Poetry in the Street,” which is posted on You Tube with a verse by verse English translation showcases Keyti’s excellence with word play and drive for rhyming.

The production showcases Keyti in a populated neighborhood voicing his hopes for his people and a better tomorrow. In summary of his message, the rapper voices his want for people to go after what they want, and not to sit around and wait for the changes to be made for themselves. They must in effect pursue change in order to achieve it. In concluding his ideas he acknowledges those who do in effect pursue change, and accomplish it if only for themselves. He then goes on to make a call to action directed at the youth. Stating that the must continue to pursue better lives, rather than sit around and wait for them. It is interesting to witness a rapper who acknowledges his people’s grievances and also manages to see that blaming and pointing fingers to an unjust system does absolutely nothing to change it. He expresses his thoughts clearly without seeming repetitive or belittling.

Rappe, JT. (2013 June 21). Journal Rappe EP9 avec Xuman et Keyti [Video File].

Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHevxCIF4d4#t=60

Wax, N. (2011 March 11). Keyti: Poetry in the Streets [Video File].

Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/7EG3Z1VhYhw

Keyti: Biography

Keyti is a hardcore rap artist who originates from Dakar, Senegal. He was born on December 22, 1972. His name of origin is Cheik Sene, and he delivers his verses in his native Wolof language. He initiated his career by joining a rap group named Rap’Adio. Keyti’s first intent when arriving into the music scene was to return hip hop back to its original state. That state of which he spoke was one in which Hip Hop is a politically driven force. The ideology for  which he credits had been discovered through listening to the American Rap group, Public Enemy. Within some time, the group began to face some ideological differences and went on to be disbanded; leaving Keyti to pursue a solo music career in search of voicing his own ideals without having to consult grouping peers.

In an interview published on NPR.org by Jake Warga, when pressed on his ideology, Keyti informs the listeners that He believes, “Rap is to speak. . .Rap helped a lot of us channel that anger into music.” and so Keyti’s values became much clearer. He went on to orate how much he values language and how much importance there is to a language. He expresses his pride, and the pride other people should have when using their language, but in the end, he also voices his discontent toward what he perceives to be having had his native language stolen and erased. Keyti then states that, “rap is to speak,” and speaking is poetry, the art of rhyming.

Within time, Keyti was admitted into the United Artists for African Rap. As an advocate, Keyti has managed to move his musical talents on to a broader spectrum. Keyti is a permanent fixture on a television broadcasted, and YouTube streamed show called Journal Tele Rappe. Within the short broadcast Keyti, alongside rapper Xuman, appear rapping global news, and topics of political disruption within society.

The show is primarily directed toward a younger audience. In Warga’s interview, Xuman states that the reason for which the music tends to be comedic and thereupon humorous is primarily due to the fact that they seek to attract young viewers. By attracting young viewers they seek to keep them informed and aware of what is happening around them and inspire them to take action. Their You Tube channel with the username of JT Rappe has alone garnered up to a little above 15,000 subscribers, who consist of a dominantly under 30 crowd.

Warga, J. (2015, January 15). Rapping the News in West Africa [Audio File].

Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/15/377527029/rapping-the-news-in-west-africa