Although female African emcees emerged years later than their male counterparts, some of these female rappers have been able to create a niche for themselves. Immersed in a predominantly male culture, these rappers have been able to voice the opinion of women who share similar experiences. By representing women’s issues, they have been able to speak against gender oppression, challenges that African women face, and violence against women. They have also been instruments for empowerment and self-celebration. One of such notable female hip hop artists is Wangechi, who is the focus of this discussion.
Wangechi Waweru is a 26-year-old rapper based in Nairobi, Kenya. Although Wangechi is a considered a young rapper, her amazing works, as well as successful collaborations with other Kenyan hip hop artists such as the Rabbit, Fena and Nazizi, have brought her to limelight. Also, like many female African rappers, Wangechi utilizes braggadocio which is evident in her songs such as “Used to this”. For our purposes, we would be analyzing the lyrics and music video of Wangechi’s song titled “Comeback”.
In the first scenes of the music video, we see a young lady with teary eyes, smoking a cigarette and looking sad. A man (who seems to be her boyfriend) then walks into the background and starts demanding for food to eat. The heated exchange gradually escalates into a full-blown argument which includes physical assault.
From these scenes, we can deduce that the lady is a victim of an abusive relationship. Such situation is not foreign to many relationships as most women have faced, or know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence, physical assault and/or abuse in a relationship; and this is what Wangechi depicts in her music video.
The situation can be further understood from the lyrics of the first verse when Wangechi says:
“So this is how the story ends, you found a replacement
I thought that she was just a friend but you were just pacing
In a position to be taking my place
Yeah you needed time away so I gave you your space…”
This excerpt explains that the man cheated on his girlfriend and got caught. When it got to a point where she was totally frustrated, she decides to leave him, but he is not ready to let her go. This correlates with the music video at 3:07, where we see the singer tell the man, Tony, to leave her car but he does not want to. She explains that she is done and is no longer interested.
In the next verse, we then see Wangechi confront the man in an empowering way. This is because she is not begging him to stay, but she is only stating her reason for letting go of the relationship and explaining why she isn’t welcoming him back. All these can be deduced when she raps:
“So tell me right now, Is she really everything?
That you wanted her to be, that she do it better it than me
Cause boy I gave you everything
You were number one put you up on a pedestal
But you chose to run, and that’s the last thought I have about you
Got so many other options I don’t even gotta choose
So imma keep it walking like I got some Jimmy Choo’s on
You thought I wasn’t gonna move on…”
In the song, Comeback, Wangechi does a good job in narrating a toxic situation that many women have encountered. Not only does she narrates the situation, she then includes self-celebration and empowerment. This song is a message to women, telling them that they can actually let go of such toxic situations because they are actually the prize. Wangechi is obviously a Kenyan hip hop artist to watch out for.
More about Wangechi Waweru can be found on YouTube, Twitter, Soundcloud and Instagram.