I think this is a perfect example of how music can be a reflection of a nations popular culture. In our country rap seems to be concentrated on nifty Louis Vuitton accessories and getting lit. In Senegal? Their rap appears to be more concentrated on attacking government corruption, and getting national leaders to properly distribute wealth. I guess it’s cool that rap actually stands for something in certain places in this world. Now please excuse me while I listen to some new Future records…
DAKAR, Senegal (NY Times) – A revolution led by rappers says something about a country’s politics or its music, or maybe both.
In Senegal, the political mainstream appears stagnant and the musicians anything but, which explains why laid-back musicians with stage names like Fou Malade (“Crazy Sick Guy”) and Thiat (“Junior”) are leading a vigorous demonstration movement against the country’s octogenarian president, who does not want to leave office.
The usual regional trappings of power – a $27 million monumental statue overlooking the capital, a new presidential plane, tinkering with the country’s Constitution – have not gone down well in a poor but proud West African country used to something better. They have led to a season of revolt, on the North African model, in this coastal country, a former French colony.
There were riots this summer with tear gas and tire burnings, and several large-scale demonstrations, one of them even forcing President Abdoulaye Wade to back away from constitutional changes that would almost ensure his third term in office.
At the forefront have been rappers like Fou Malade (real name: Malal Talla) and Thiat (Cheikh Oumar Cyrille Touré). They have been firing up the crowds of young men who have surged through the city’s streets, leading the demonstrators and – picked on by Mr. Wade’s police officers – serving as martyrs for the antigovernment cause.