Medusa is a Tunisian artist who emerged as an MC in Tunisia’s hip hop community around the time of the Arab Spring of the 2010s. Her career as an MC has followed an interesting path, as she often found herself in the role of “conscious MC”, being one of the few women in the Tunisian hip hop community and speaking out on important social issues. In this interview she talks about hip hop under the Arab Spring. While many talk about the role of artists in the Arab Spring, Medusa talks about the impacts of the Arab Spring on hip hop culture. She says the Arab Spring encouraged youth engagement, and that post revolution, many youth have moved into more commercial rap sounds. She has since moved to France, where she talks about her experience in the Parisian hip hop scene and her work with a new team of creatives. We met up with Medusa during a 2019 self-funded trip to the U.S. Medusa made to promote her work and establish contacts. During her trip, she visited the class of American University professor and hip hop scholar, Dr. Kendra Salois. Our interview took place after her guest lecture in Dr. Salois’ class.
Female hip hop artists find themselves in a precarious situation. They navigate a male dominated industry that profits from objectifying women’s bodies through sexualized images and lyrics. Their environment is misogynistic. The presence of a female emcee (“femcee”) is antithetical to mainstream hip hop norms. Because of this, female artists (particularly black female artists) are