Friday, August 29, 2008


The Rai'n'B compilations were pretty big a few years back and featured famous hits like 'un Gaou a Oran', 'Mon Bled', 'C Chô, Ca Brûle', a la french urban sounds. I'm not sure if African Tonik is going to be on the latest Rai'n'B release, but I'm excited to hear Rai'n'B Fever 3 comes out october 6th. If not the mix already has some great updates:

As for fun internet finds, I found yet another mix with African Tonik, a way less predictable mix by Dj Kayz. PARIS! NEW YORK! ORAN! I'm happy to see the Ivorian presence on the mix as well:

Blog searching also got me to Cyan Wait, which posts fun music but kinda creeps me out with its naked women american apparelish porno chic vibes..



African Tonik + world + Internet = lovely fruitssss

I found African Tonik bouncing around here, on an amazing mix of reggaeton (/dancehall/rnb) songs, many quite arab/desi informed. The blog is bursting with electro reggaeton, and pointed me to a lot of interesting tracks ie FRESH FRESH global reggaeton. Also, check out the genres in the label list on the side : Reggaeton, RNB, Dance Hall, House, Elektro, Mamboton, Soca, Remix, Reggae, Hip Hop, Reggaeton Romantico, Caribbean, Latin, Rai'N'b, Bachata, Bachaton, Flamenco-RNB, Merengue, Salsaton, Slow RNB, Anime, Arabic, Cubaton, Elektro-Reggaeton, German RNB, Mixtape, Party Music, Spanish, Tropical!!! NU-Whirled indeed!

Thanks to DA-Cri-EM, aside from all the electro-reggaeton, Ive also found found AMAZING electro/desi/dancehall tracks by Baba Khan like Tonight:

(electro-reggaeton?)(electroton?)(electron?)Rakim Y Ken-Y Come On:

and African Tonik fits right in!

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 and dutty artz.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Afrika Youtube extravaganzathon

French tecktonik meets Algerian rai meets Ivorian coupe decale meets Guinean Afropop meets Hip Hop in Mokobe's song 'African Tonik'.

What?! They made a new sexier video! (with way better sound) I was originally going to post this video with my commentary, got bored with the idea, but now decided to do it anyway with my comments from the old video b/c im LAZY:

:01 aiight with a french accent.
:09 yeediii yedeeii - tu te rapple? ouiaa but what is this word?? Hes referencing Mohamed Lamines chorus of 'un gaou oran'.
:18 old people schtick. yesssss.
:19 trancy araby technoey noize loop. rai/arab pop/eurobeatttt. I'm sure theres more of this, but where? amazing!
:41 Coupe decale style. yessss. oh wait, I barely recognized him all glossed up, thats DJ ARAFAT.
:50 again, Mohamed Lamine! to me, vocoder = rai so when all this t pain vocoder/autotone love swept up lately ive been sorta hoping rai might surface strongly up somewhere. yesssss. Lamine has some fun rai only vids.
1:05 harp/kora kicks in and Mory Kanté pops up. his voice style is that baba maal / uber mali/ senegal/ guinee/ gambia / the western sahel sound that can be be echoy, sweet and dizzying in mbalax or uber soul gutting in its folksier rootsy deserty "blues" expression (think Xala soundtrack, not Tinawaren) anyway, yesssssssss. Kanté is old school afropop.
1:28 chubby singing kid. very meme - y. very internet. also, he stole kanyes glasses!
1:41 fat people replace old people.
2:28 GAY! yeah we are all in spandex dancing like fools, but were not gay, ok??? see? look men touching oops ew. NOTE: this part is no longer in the new video, looks like somebody said something? or maybe cuz it obnoxiously stopped the flow?
2:37 again that nice noize. thnx to all involved in this techno/trance & hip-hop love affair fad thing.
2:47 fat people replaced by tecktonik lessons! yesss
3:05 um.. who invented this ridiculous urban day glo style? when / where did all that electroclash get hip hop filtered into this aesthetic? everybody mentions it, has anybody written more about it?
3:06 keffeyis attack! weird that its in a "rai" vid. or is it more duh than wow?
3:31 awww drumming kid
4:00 full dance party commences
4:05 again... wtf is Lamine sayinnnnnggg? :( so far I can't find lyrics yet.
4:27 cest ca! (qui a la verite)

It seems like Mokobe is continuing along the lines of his 113 rai'n'b fever work. RIM'K also released a solo album last year with an interestingly titled single "l'Espoir des Favelas", showing shots from across france of it's "favelas" mixed w/ shots of brazil and algeria.

The rai'n'b mixing seems natural, like if everyone in paris is mixing their national musics with hip hop, why not just start blending them all together? He does seem to have his hands in a ton of this years amazing stuff. I recently saw him pop up in a Alex dioufaniokhobaay video, whom calls "le bow wow senegalais" :

Alex also shows up in this video with AKON, showing his crazy popularity in senegal, i haven't seen much footage of him there:

Speaking of senegal's music gods, how sweet is Youssou's dramatic intro to his live dvd album? part fantasy, part real, he emerges:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gay President

I just googled "ethnically gay" & found this:

"It has been two years since I moved back to San Francisco. ... An entirely new 21st-century urban high-density city is rising. Dire, street-survival poverty jostles up against an unprecedented exuberance of über-conspicuous consumption here. As gay community scholar Gayle Rubin remarked at a recent GLBT Historical Society presentation, our painted lady is being transformed into a "command city for the 21st century." Like Hong Kong or Dubai, it is a "desirable" place for the new global corporate elite to build their personal homes. ...

And as cities have become desirable again, deeper-pocket interests have been gentrifying the gays out of their urban enclaves all across the country. The Castro, our own homegrown "ethnically" gay neighborhood and symbolic (if less frequently visited) gay capital of the United States, suddenly looks like the last "traditional" gay neighborhood. As the Castro has been turning a bit seedy, local queer pride and, increasingly, the city planning and tourism boards see it as the Gay Capital of the World. Herein lies the ironic paradox today: as gay folk have been disappeared by AIDS or sucked into the queer diaspora, gays and straights alike see this newly "ethnic" community through gently softening lenses, engulfed in cloud-shrouded images of quaint, nostalgic, queer white picket fences."

- Les Wright, part 1 & part2

Growing up straight in a gay family I've come to think of myself as "ethnically gay" ie. gay culture being my culture, values, and community; place of origin. Ive noticed other "second generation" peeps speak similarly. I can't betray my people so it pretty much sums up my politics and influences my relationships, career, spirituality, etc. Also my notions of race. Thus, I feel my racism / ideas of race and class come out of racism within the gay community vs. middle class America per se.

It also informs how I see Obama. When he dismisses the cheap radicalism or the apologetics 'excuses & blaming' of black America while totally understanding and sympathizing, I get it. I dismiss the cheap radicalism or the constant apologetics excuses & blaming of gay America while totally understanding and sympathizing. As he is a biracial man who worries about appearing too black or too white I worry about me and my family appearing too gay or my own ability to pass as totally straight (ie. deliberately misleading people about my family, something i do all the time). Not to say i understand at all what racism feels like, but that i sympathize with his unique dual position and all the complications that come with it. We are both bizarre, unique productions of changing times.

For me Obama is also exciting in perhaps foolish ways - if sax-playing bill was dubbed the first "black" president then to me Obama, with all his metrosexual tendencies, is the first "gay" president. He exudes a very casual yet meticulous (gay culture informed) masculinity tho he might mention faith & pander (and trouble me) when it comes to gay rights. But how would his election affect American masculinity?

I know a lot of gays esp. boys who embrace pieces of hh & 'black' masculinity, and I'm curious as to when, where, and why I see so many black men embrace metrosexuality [the trappings of yet not actual gayness = whiteness / class ? The trappings of blackness = masculinity? ]. These two cultures deal with similar presence/absence in the public sphere. Both appropriations seem increasingly common. Both are somewhat awesome. Both are also offensive.

ps. hmm?
pps: speaking of gayness, i LOVE this video:

the shocking truth @ 4:11!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

stuff showing up places

I recently found an amazing kiswahili cover of Nancy Ajram's Yay, called sina hali by mask girls:

I heard whiffs of Arabic pop played in west afrique, and I always thought it was a Muslim Maghreb cultural connection. But this song is Tanzanian, and suggests perhaps a wider sub-saharan influence / linkages of Arabic pop in the continent. or perhaps a specifically tanzanian (&somali?) concoction? Im interested in how these links play out on the east coast.

I love the bubbling flustered girlishness jumping around these vocals. Nancy sings:

"yay, the charm of his eyes, his looks, once our eyes met ... I forgot my name"

also this:

Although this video's basic premise could beget major analyses, I'm less interested in what snoop is doing in the punjab (or australia?) and that now classic bhangra / hip-hop mix than I am in what hes wearing on his neck @ 1:38. After reading too many Hawgblawg posts Ive become a kuffiya hawk and was totally surprised to see one show up here on a Sikh character of a bollywood film.

Is this just the crazy aimless spreading of international fashion? Was it adopted obliviously for more 'punjabi' flair? Are kufiya so linked with edgy hip-hop culture its adopted as a signifier here? or is this a delibrate mashing of a new urban third/forth-world/global south pride chic? After all, with its sparta references and sarcasm it seems pretty u.s. culture saavy..

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mauritainian youth say whhhhhhaaatt??

I thought it would be fun to post some interesting opinions / reactions from a debate some mauritainians were having about the coup. Warning: loosely (poorly) translated by moi.

"en tous cas moi j'opte pour que les americains ns envoient des contegents pour raser ces imbeciles qui ne sont la que pour remplir leur compte."

"In any case I opt that the americans send contingents to demolish these imbeciles who are only here to fill their pockets."

**note** Its pretty interesting to hear somebody wishing the U.S. would invade their country. It shakes my perspective a bit.

"moi c ki me choque c, en plein crise économique, on a dépensé du fric pour fabriquer les bulletins de vote, toute la mauritanie c'est rendu aux urnes pour voter et aprés tout cela la situation change en quelques minutes."
"what shocks me personally is that in the middle of an economic crises, we spent money to print the ballots, all of mauritania goes to the polls to vote and after all of that the situation changes in a few minutes."

"Le pays va vachement mal,et tant que ces généraux fictifs sont toujours là alors, la situation que vivent les peuples mauritaniennes restera cyclique.Il faut les raser et je pense que c'est l'unique solution pour qu'on puisse initier la démocratie qu'on attendait depuis prés d'un démi siecle."
"the country is doing terribly, and as long as the sham generals are still here the situtation in which the mauritainian people ar eliving with remain cyclical. we must remove them, i think thats the only solution with which we can initiate the democracy we have waited for almost half a century."

"Mes fréres, un coup d'etat de tel genre n'est jamais valable.Mais, nous tous nous savons que le pays va mal, et que Sidi n'arrivais pas à regler le Bléme dépuis des mois,il a changé dans une année 3 fois le gouvernement. Mais tous cella, ne mérite un coup d'etat, les militaires pouvaient démande aux peuples de sortir pour démander le depart de Sidi, comme ce qui est passé aux iles de comore, dans ce cas s'il refise, les militaires auront les soutients de l'union Africaine, union europeen,des nation unis."
"my brothers, a coup d'etat of this type is never valid. But we all know the country was not going well, an that Sidi was not managing well for months. he changed the government 3 time in one year. But all that does not merit a coup. The military could have asked the people to demonstate for Sidi's resignation, such as what happened in the commoros iles, in this case if he refused the army could have assisted an organized effort by the African Union, European Union or the United Nations."

"les mauritanien la plus parts c des imbécilles ou des ignorant..dir ke certain poppulations sorte pour manifester en favuer des poutchiste! mmmrrrdd!
on s"en bate des kouille de leurs politike et des millitaire. nous on fait du fric. et vs devriez en faire autant, et laisser c lapidé avec leurs propre sorts. faite du fgric les jeunes, et ne vs intérraissez pas à ces cloone."

"Most Mauritanians are idiots or ignorant..To think that some parts of the population go out and demonstrate in favor of those who did the coup! shit! We don't give a fuck about their politics or their army. We make cash and you should too, leave them to handle their own fate. youth - Make cash and don't pay attention to those clowns!"

"Un pays qui va mal sans democratie sans dignité sans respect pour son peuple. 3 president en espace de 3ans! les militaires ont aujourdhui confirmé une fois de plus qu'il etaient les maitres de ce pays et c'est eux qui dirigeaient et pas sidi que son election a la tete de la president ne servait que de decoration pr le pays... kan ya pas de bon gouvernment yarra tjrs une division d'ethinique!"
"A country goes poorly without democracy without dignity without respect for its people. 3 presidents in the space of 3 years! Today the military has confirmed one more time that they are the real masters of this country and its them who rule and not Sidi whose election to president served as nothing but a decoration for their country. ... when there is no good government there is always an ethnic division!

Via a messageboard some friends were writing on. im paranoid. Not like my blog gets any traffic, but im a little hesitant to link up to this e-convo w/ everybody's attached personal profiles last names and locations and such until i know more about whats going on la-bas.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

شرف إخاء عدل Honor, Fraternity, Justice ?

Paint on boat, Nouadhibou - Mauritaine

Speaking of CONTEXT, Mauritania's military seized power yesterday and removed from office the country's first democratically elected president in over 20 yrs. To me, an unexpected blow, tho this seems to have been brewing for the past year or so.. I've been writing optimistically [naively] about Mauritania's 2005 onward slow shift towards democracy and recent discovery of oil, and what it could mean for the next generation of Mauritanians. B/c its so isolated yet connected, 'Arab' and 'African' yet neither, and so rarely written about, Mauritania was a really interesting/fresh space for me to examine all those themes of petrocracy, global china, terrorism, race, human migration, desertification and global warming, etc in college. So it goes.

sand dunes devouring the capital [Nouakchott]

Of course, its all hella complicated. a: The president was fairly corrupt and a previous coup leader himself b: the same military leaders who took control were some of the same ones involved in democratization efforts. c: Public anger at the govt for failing to protect them from rising food prices and costs of living may have helped push public opinion against the ex-pres Sidi. but in terms of optimism, and the future of race relations this feels like a huge step backwards. Like in the Sudan, southern "black Africans" have huge legitimate issues with the minority "northern Arabs" totalitarian rule (oversimplification of course, the majority are mixed race). Race riots and isolated incidents of and fears of ethnic cleansing have led to refugee populations, and the new democracy was organizing repatriation and nobody is sure what is going to happen to them now..

if you want more info, the bbc, nytimes, and even aljazeera have released vague, unhelpful reports. The most useful to understand the recent coup in context for me has been Western Sahara info (esp comments),The moor next door, and Mosaic.

sum wonderful awkward Mauritanian (puelar) dancehall/hiphop