Rap Acapella : “Bataaxalu Jigeen”
In “Bataaxalu Jigeen” (“Letter of a Woman”) Toussa speaks about the difficulties of women in the world and in Senegalese society: cooking, cleaning and taking care of the family are not the only qualifications a woman has in this world. “Woman you are intelligent and brave. Live for yourself and your thoughts. Nothing exists without you”.
“The strength of a woman in the rap game is to be a woman and a man at the same time!”
Toussa (Astou Gueye), who describes herself as an activist, feminist, artist and entrepreneur, started to be interested in hip-hop music 10 years ago when she was a teenager. Back then she already wrote her first lyrics about what was going on around her and what was happening in her community – lyrics that serve as social commentary. Because of her love of hip hop, she has given up her education as a gardener and has since focused exclusively on her music career. She lives in Guédiawaye, one of the populated suburbs of Dakar. Her grandmother, in particular, has strongly influenced her and has had an important role in her social views of her society and taught her about morality and tradition.
Toussa performs regularly at national rap competitions. To support women in rap, she founded the purely female rap formation GOTAL (“unity”, “unit” in Wolof) in 2009. Now she focuses her solo career as a musician and is the CEO of her own music label Fam Musik. Many of her songs are locally influenced with sounds from Griots, Senegalese pop (Mbalax) and American beats. It is this bridge of old and new that makes up the strength of Senegalese rap music – influences of Missy Elliot and Beyonce mixed with traditional female poetry.
Her texts, mainly in the local language Wolof, deal with work, dreams, migration, slavery, the challenges of being a woman, strength and visions of the future.
Lyrics: Astou Gueye aka Toussa
Translation Wolof – English: Cheikh Séne aka Keyti
Video: Sandra Krampelhuber
Subtiteling: Alenka Maly
Location: Djarama, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal