Potent SeneRap with a feminist message


Dakamerap (Out here records 2004)
It’s a fact that hip-hop & rap has taken hold in a big way in West Africa.
Notably the Dakar, Senegal, scene is thriving, built on the fluidity of the
Wolof language and a long oral history of similar vocalizing (who knows rap’s
origins anyway?). Step forward Senegal’s first all-female rap outfit, blazing
yet another feminist trail in a male-dominated society and setting some of the
sharpest SeneRap lyrics to tough, rocking beats. According to the sleeve notes Alif are the voice of Dakamerap – the camera
which is always on, documenting life around the clock in Dakar and covering a
broad range of subjects, all based in day-to-day life. ‘Jollaa’ recalls the
dread name of the ferry which sank off the coast in 2002 claiming the lives, in
terrible circumstances, of upwards of a thousand people. A song addressing the
extremely taboo subject of incest, called ‘Bataxal’, comes in the form of a
letter from a mother to her daughter, telling of her rape at the hands of her
father. ‘Porose Bi’ laments the lives of household servants in Senegal, a
virtual lower-caste group who work in approximately slave conditons.

Gritty lyrics, presented in a typically melodious song-rap style from the
trio: Myriame (Mariéme Diallo), Mina (Ndéye Aminata Sall), Oumy (Oumy Ndiaye)
and augmented by some familiar names from the Dakar scene – rapper Maxi Crazy,
the singer and kora player Lamine Kouyate and Pee Froiss members Xuman and DJ
Gee Bayss.