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Oberlin College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


Hip hop cultural production has flourished in Senegal since the early-1980s, especially in Dakar, the administrative and economic capital, since the early 1980s as both a medium of engagement with “global” flows of musical influence and a localized platform for socio-political and contestation and organization. In the past ten years, high-profile rap and hip hop personalities based in communities centered in the banlieues (the disfavored, often impoverished neighborhoods surrounding Dakar) have begun to realize formal structures of professionalization and education in the elements of “urban culture.” This paper focuses on research done at Guédiawaye Hip Hop Center and Association, an organization that presents an alternative to local youth’s inability to participate in formal schooling systems. In addition, the center is host to events in surrounding communities that promote values of citizenship in common with the New Type of Senegalese (NTS), an agenda put forth by the Senegalese collective of rappers and journalists Y’en a Marre. Through the rap texts and commentary of hip hop actors and musicians based at G Hip Hop, the broader city of Guédiawaye, and Dakar proper, I examine the intersections of hip hop with the ideals of local and transnational musical practices, as well as narrative links with NTS on environmental and socio-cultural levels.


Ethnomusicology | Music | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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