HHAP EPISODE 59: Moonaya on Dakar’s hip hop collectives, hip hop Pan Africanism, & Western imperialism in Africa.

Moonaya is an extremely talented MC in one of the strongest hip hop scenes in the world. A Pan Africanist, her background represents her political views. Moonaya is originally from Benin, but she grew up in Senegal. While her father is Senegalese, her mother is Togolese, and one of her grandmothers was Nigerian. She grew up in a musical home where she heard a range of African music, as well as music from across the Diaspora. While she went to school to study law, she’s been writing hip hop music for almost 20 years. Her debut album, A Fleur 2 Mo was released in 2009. Her more recent project, the EP Petit Oiseau, was released in 2019. In 2017, she became the 1st Senegalese artist to sign with Sony.

Over the years, her music has dealt with a range of topics. In “J’déprim” (I’m Depressed) she discusses the impacts of depression, in “Il est temps” (It’s Time) she talks about Pan Africanism and Black liberation, and in the song “Qui” (Who?) she samples Malcolm X’s speech and talks about self hatred and Black peoples.

Moonaya also spoke a lot about European, American, and even Chinese imperialism in Africa. She spoke about the exploitation of Africa’s resources, European hands in African conflicts, and the continued colonial relationship between France and francophone Africa. She also spoke about the struggles being faced by Black people all over the world.

“We are the richest continent, but we are the poorest people, and this is not normal!”

Moonaya
In this interview we also discussed the hip hop scene in Senegal. Senegal has a few women’s hip hop collectives, which have served as a resource for artists willing to work to build their careers. Moonaya talked about her experiences with these collectives as well as how helpful they have been to other artists. We also discussed the influences on her work, especially the growth of her own social and political consciousness.

We also discussed the role of Western researchers in Senegal. Senegal has one of the most researched hip hop scenes, outside of the United States. Most of these researchers are White, and come from Europe and the US. A lot of the research that is produced on Senegalese hip hop is problematic. There are some American researchers, like Catherine Appert and Colleen Neff, who have done extensive work on hip-hop in Senegal, and have also pointed out the problematic ways that other Western researchers have written about hip hop in Senegal.

Often because of language, Black scholars often choose to go to anglophone countries, and few do work in Senegal. Moonaya and I talked about the fact that more Black scholars need to go to Senegal, and we discussed some of the ways to overcome the language barriers: Hire a translator! While there is tons of scholarship on Senegalese hip hop, there is a need for scholarship on hip hop’s Pan African connections in Senegal. On how through hip hop culture, the Senegalese are in conversation with the African Diaspora.

To hear more of Moonaya’s music, she is on social media in all of the usual places:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKkp-gOdxcmRBV7faC7w0Q
https://www.instagram.com/moonaya221/
https://www.facebook.com/MoonayaOfficiel
https://twitter.com/moonamuzik
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/moonaya/1435034416

HHAP Episode 50: The Mixtape Episode P. 2

This episode is our second mixtape episode. The episode features the most recent works of 23 of Africa’s fiercest lyricists. All of songs featured on this episode were released in 2018 and 2019, and features women from across Africa, and African women who reside in the Diaspora. Some of the artists are fairly well known to followers of African hip hop scenes, while others are more up & coming. Some of the artists, like Burni Aman, EJ von Lyrik, and Jean Grae have been active for two decades. Others are new to the game, and quickly making a name for themselves. They also are diverse in their styles and the languages they rap in. The artists also differ in terms of content, some of the songs offer social commentary, some are displays of braggadicio, and some are simply about having a great time. The common thread is that they all represent some of the best lyricists out today.

It was important that all of the artists and songs in this episode be submitted and voted on by serious hip hop heads, people who are active in hip hop communities. So, thank you to the hip hop heads and experts who contributed to making this mixtape possible:

Mikko from Planet Earth Planet Rap
Ikenna aka Bionic from Rap Radio Africa
Seth Markle, Associate Professor and Faculty Advisor for the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College in the United States
Nimoh from Sauti Za Mabinti
Buddha Blaze, podcaster & talent manager
Xuman, Senegalese hip hop legend, pioneer, and avtivist
Elom 20ce, Togolese hip hop artists and activist and founder of Arctivism

Track List

Sampa The Great “Final Form” from The Return (2019) (Australia/Zambia)
EJ von Lyrik (with Roufaida) “Ego” (2019) (South Africa & The Netherlands /Morocco)
Burni Aman & Jean Grae “Masters of the Humanverse” (2019) (Switzerland/South Africa & U.S./South Africa)
Little Simz “101 FM” from Grey Area (2018) (UK/Nigeria)
Isatta Sheriff “Beat Therapy Freestyle” (2019) (UK/Sierra Leone)
Blaise “Hennessy Cypher” (2019) (Nigeria)
L-Ness “Freestyle ‘Peers w/Bars’” (Kenya)
Rouge “Rouge Freestyle on Sway” (2019) (South Africa/DRC)
Xtatic “Reignition” from Tatu EP (2019) (Kenya)
Abena Rockstar “Politically Incorrect” from Harvest Season (2019) (Ghana)
Eva Alordiah “Solo Life” (2019) (Nigeria)
Phlow “Hiphop” (2019) (Nigeria)
Lauretta Yemoja “Inferno” (2019) (Nigeria)
Moonaya “Il est temps” (2018) (Senegal)
Mina la Voilée “Girl Power” (2019) (Senegal)
Sista LB “Ji gën – Ladieme” (2019) (Senegal)
OMG “Lu Ci Sa Yoon” (2019) (Senegal)
Flash Marley (with Vicky R) “La Madre” (2019) (Togo)
Assessa “Izangoma” from Ugogo Ep (2018) (South Africa)
Kanyi Mavi “Umsindo” (2019) (South Africa)
Gigi Lamayne “Winnie” from Job Woods (2019) (South Africa)
Yugen Blakrok “Carbon Form” (2018) (South Africa)