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 48: Elom 20ce on The Role of Hip Hop in the Struggle for Pan Africanism

Togolese hip hop artist Elom 20ce is a multitalented artist, activist, and Pan Africanist. He brings Pan African ideals to his music and his art, and this episode Elom discusses studying international politics and working with the United Nations, and how his studies and experiences influenced his music. After witnessing the hypocrisy around international development and politics, he felt compelled to speak on it in his music. In his music he talks about the importance of Pan Africanism and the current state of neocolonialism that many African people find themselves living in. He stressed that neocolonialism is not just about what Europeans are doing, but it is also about our lack of unity. In the interview we also discuss hip hop in Francophone Africa, and how it differs from hip hop in Anglophone Africa. Elom explains that a lot has to do with Francophone Africa’s colonial history. The French had a system of direct rule, meaning that they were much more involved in not only economic control, but also influencing and transforming the culture of their colonies. The French maintained control over their colonies, even after independence. Elom believes that as a result, Francophone Africans are still struggling for their independence.

Elom 20ce also talks about his “Arctivism” project, and the importance of activism and hip hop. He talks about being introduced to the works of George Jackson, Frantz Fanon, and Cheikh Anta Diop, and others through hip hop. Through Arctivism, he hosts programs and workshops that facilitate dialogues around freedom of speech, development, and Pan Africanism. 

Elom 20ce is online at

African-Americans, Africans, and Hip-Hop

In this podcast, two of the students in the Hip Hop in Africa course discuss African and African American communities. The students, one from Kenya, and the other from Nigeria, pose 3 questions: 1. What do you think causes the tension between Africans and African-Americans? 2. What role has hip-hop played in bridging that gap? 3. Why do male artists from both cultures seem to collaborate more than women?

Resources
Unah, Linus. “Not Everyone Is Happy With Nigeria’s Viral Version Of ‘This Is America’.” NPR 1 June 2018. http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/06/01/615805868/a-nigerian-rappers-take-on-donald-glover-s-this-is-america

The World’s Largest Slums: Dharavi, Kibera, Khayelitsha & Neza. (2018, September 07). https://www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk/blog/2017/12/the-worlds-largest-slums-dharavi-kibera-khayelitsha-neza/

Clark, & Kibona, M. (2018, November 01). Feminisms in African Hip Hop. Retrieved from https://read.dukeupress.edu/meridians/article-abstract/17/2/383/136652/Feminisms-in-African-Hip-Hop?redirectedFrom=PDF

NGRTD

Known by his stage name “Youssoupha”, Youssoupha Mabiki embodies the defining characteristics of progressive French rappers in his song Entourage. A captivating story of immigration, education,

HHAP Episode 6: Kwanza Unit, Hip Hop, and Pan Africanism in Tanzania

This episode features a conversation with two hip hop pioneers from Tanzania, KBC & Zavara (aka Rhymson) from the group Kwanza Unit. The conversation discusses the early days of hip hop in Tanzania, the influence of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (Tanzania’s 1st President) on the social consciousness in Tanzanian hip hop, language and Kwanza Unit’s decision to begin performing in Swahili, the current state of hip hop in Tanzania, the relationship between artists and the national arts council and their policies around copyright and royalties.

Parts of the conversation are in Swahili. Non-Swahili speakers will be able to follow the conversation and attempts are made to summarize the Swahili portions into English.

Table of Contents

Podcast intro – :40

“Put Ya head Up” – 11:21

“Msafiri” – 14:40

Interview – 18:26

“Run Tings” – 1:37:35

“Check Navyo Flow” – 1:41:32

“So Why” – 1:45:35

Resources

Perullo, Alex. (2005). Hooligans and heroes: Youth identity and hip hop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Africa Today, 5 (4), 74-101.

Perullo, Alex. (2011). Live from Dar es Salaam: Popular Music and Tanzania’s Music Economy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Perullo, Alex. (2012). Imitation and innovation in the music, dress, and camps of Tanzanian youth. In Eric Charry (Ed), Hip Hop Africa: New Music in a Globalizing World (pp. 187-209). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Ntarangwi, Mwenda. (2009). East African Hip Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization. University of Illinois Press.

Lemelle, Sidney J. “‘Ni wapi Tunakwenda’: Hip Hop Culture and the Children of Arusha”. In Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, (Eds). The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture (pp. 230-54). London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Pres

Casco, J. A. (2012). From Music to Politics: Hip Hop in Africa as a political option for the youth: the case of Tanzania. Youth and the city: expressive cultures, public space appropriation, and alternative political participation (pp. 1-18). Madrid: 8º Congreso Ibérico de Estudios Africanos.

Reuster-Jahn, Uta. (2014). Antivirus: The revolt of bongo flava artists against a media-and-entertainment empire in Tanzania. In Matthias Krings and Uta Reuster-Jahn (Eds), Bongo Media Worlds: Producing and Consuming Popular Culture in Dar es Salaam (43-78). Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2012). Hip hop as social commentary in Accra and Dar es Salaam. African Studies Quarterly, 13 (3), 23 – 36. http://asq.africa.ufl.edu/files/Clark-V13Is3.pdf.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2013). The struggle for authenticity and against commercialization in Tanzania. Journal of Pan African Studies, 6 (3), 5-21. http://www.jpanafrican.com/vol6no3.htm.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). The role of new and social media in Tanzanian hip hop production. Les Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, 216 (4), 1115-1136.

Clark, Msia Kibona (2014). Gendered representations among Tanzanian female emcees. In Msia Kibona Clark and Mickie Mwanzia Koster (Eds), Ni Wakati: Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

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