Wednesday, August 27, 2008

SeneRap, Rap Galsene : Hip Hop SeneGal

According to my stats, 'rap galsene' is currently the top search term thru which people find my blog, so I figured why not actually post about it.

Damn! It's so fun to see how rap galsene has developed since kicking around the region!

First of all, theres a lot more pure party beats than I remember. Senegal's never had a lack of dance music, so rap has often been free to be delightfully mellow. This seems to be changing, not that all hh is now 'booty beatz' but that rap galsene is becoming a more recognizable part of Senegalese dance music, largely by incorporating dancier pan-African or American hh styles. Here's a Snazzy video + serious crunky BASS:



Secondly, theres generally never been many Senegalese rappers who made my jaw drop in pure flow skill, and Ive been more interested in the beats, message, and incorporation of local soundscapes. A lot of early rap galsene, like a lot of old school American hh had a really simple rhyme scheme (every measure, etc). In the past few years I've seen seen more irregular, complex ryhme schemes for example Xuman & Amen-Ô-Fils' Bal Bi, tho it prolly doesnt sound worth noting to peeps with less galsene experience. It's another club track:



Im all for fantasy spaces, and I know its equally ridiculous in the U.S., but its lol to imagine anyone in Senegal actually living out that 1st video and cruising a street in a pretty conservative Muslim country and finding a babe in a bikini washing a convertible in public. Its not surprising that its got people talking.**(see below)

But hey don't let those videos give you the wrong idea of the current face of Senegalese hh as they exist within a really diverse roomy music scene & roots rap is still. dominant. esp when compared to Cote D'Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, etc.. Xuman (above) is also responsible for some crazy creative tracks, such as the following about domestic violence, presented in a pretty humorous way. The wife here is a 'victim' but also pretty capable of defending herself ball twisting style. K.O.!!!
Xuman - buki ak mbaam:



Boima just posted some tunes from the new compilation Lessons Learned featuring Islamic hip hop from north and west Africa. My fav part is Sister Fa's catchy, breezy chorus of Selebou Yoon [mp3]. However my all time favorite Islamic hip hop song is an old one, Bidew Bu Bess's 'Baye' which my pot smoking, sufihead pals would BLAST from their dorm. The chorus incorporates Sufi religious chants, a major part of the Senegal soundscape:



Once every 3-4 weeks on campus at least one brotherhood would have a holiday or religious scholar / leader visiting. This merits setting up enormous speakers and echoey microphones under a tent and chanting (or sometimes walking in circles) ALL NIGHT MIND NUMBINGLY LOUD from about 7-8 in the evening till the first prayer call in the morning at ~ 6 am in the courtyards of dorm buildings. A pretty beautiful, amazing thing to witness the first 1-2 times but becomes incredibly aggravating if you want to say, write a paper or get some sleep before an exam the next day. Like this for 11 hrs:



**It's really fun when I find discussions in the comments on various African music sites engaging similar questions as the folks at wayneandwax.com and dutty artz.

smut/slackness and vacant lyrics (senegal)
negative influence of american pop (ghana)
debating "western" mbalax artists & audiences (senegal)
understanding lyrics (senegal)

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