Global Hit: Dirty South

The World

Instead of playing Senegalese beats, the clubs here are pumping with Dirty South, a style of hip-hop that comes straight from the US.

XUMAN: “The whole day, what kind of music are they playing? They’re just playing Dirty South music. There’s no more politics.”

Xuman is another of Senegal’s political rappers.

When he put out an album last year, TV stations wouldn’t air his video because it was too critical of the government.

And he says the clubs wouldn’t play his music either because Senegalese youth just wanted to hear Dirty South beats.

So Xuman did his own take on a dirty south rap.

XUMAN: ” That’s why we take the form of Dirty South and exchange what’s going on in it, so you have to have some good lyrics, some education lyrics in this music.”

Xuman’s song is called “Bal Poussier,” meaning, Dusty Party.

It’s a big hit on the streets of Dakar.

The song parodies a young Senegalese man scrounging for money in his dusty neighborhood so he can go to a club in his American hip-hop clothes and drink champagne.

It’s a reminder for Senegal’s predominantly Muslim youth that American rap doesn’t really speak to their lives.

XUMAN: “It’s a funny way of saying what’s going on in the club. Instead of saying, ‘I have the money, I have the girls,’ it’s not the truth! I don’t have money, I don’t have girls. So I’m talking about my reality. That’s why it’s big now. People like it because they recognize themselves in it.”

The other tracks on Xuman’s album deal with domestic violence, political oppression and the hot topic of today, the spiralling cost of living.

XUMAN: “We have two fights. The first fight is to make sure the music is going to be played in the club, and secondly, still representing the message.

Xuman says it’s up to Senegal’s political rappers to find a way to do both.

For the World, I’m Rose Skelton in Dakar, Senegal.

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