2009-03-18

The Second Hip-Hop President

There's been a lot of reporting in the past few days about the coup and/or revolution that's been rocking Madagascar. (There's some interesting background info summarised here.) One piece of information that is of particular interest to this blog is the fact that the new leader of the county used to be a DJ, but no-one has bothered to post the really crucial piece of information: what kind of music did he used to DJ?

If we don't know, how are we supposed to know whether he's a good or a bad politician? In any case, I've yet to find out anywhere (see below), but his political movement seems surrounded by hip-hop. This sort of pro-TGV protest video with a rap soundtrack seems to be fairly common. His radio station (whose website is still down after it was taken down by the army) seems to have played a fair bit of the stuff, and of course hip-hop is wildly popular on Madagascar.

I've seen the claims and counter-claims by both sides and can't honestly tell who's right and who's wrong. But musically, the hip-hop produced on the island is of unusual quality. I'll keep following the information coming from Antananarivo with interest, but in the meantime here's a wonderful video of choppy, rock-hard, pared-down hip-hop/dancehall, which surely must be some of the best material I've heard all year once it gets started. Let's hope for a peaceful resolution so they can keep producing music this good.

Mpi'vendrana ft L Saphira - Deuxieme round


Edit: Andry Rajoelina, according to fellow blogger Tahina commenting below, used to be a dance DJ. I'm not sure if that means electronic dance or the kind of african popular dance you'd see over in East Africa, but in any case I'd like to hear some.

Edit 2: Tahina's blogging colleague (or alias?) r1lita commenting below informs me it was indeed electronic dance music Rajoelina used to DJ.

3 comments:

Tahina said...

Hey Johan,

thanks for this post first it's cool you're interested in what's going on in my country. Andry Rajoelina is a former DJ way back in the 90s and at that time the trend in Madagascar was "dance", nothing to do with hip-hop. He used to organize popular and big events and to invite foreign celebrities as well (but not hip-hop stars).

I don't know who's rapping in this video but I'm not sure his movement is surrounded by hip-hop.

History will tell us whether he's a good prez or not but for the time being he promises changes to the country and all Malagasy people.

In case you want to see some real Malagasy hip-hop vids just drop me a line.

Tahina

Birdseed said...

Hi Tahina,

I almost suspected as much. (He's a bit too old to be of the current African hip-hop generation.) Are we talking some sort of popular/"african" dance here or electronic dance? How would a DJ work for the former? Or did he not DJ nights, just promote them?

Thank you immensely for the fact updates (which are going into the OP) and I've just added your blog to my RSS reader. While I totally love watching all these great videos, what I'm really after would be a better-quality musical record to be able to keep and play, but a lot of the material only gets VCD releases, correct?

//Johan

r1lita said...

He used to DJ nights with "Electronic Dance" :)

Yes, it's easier for them to release VCD besides it's cheaper for the very low purchasing power of the fans. Piracy rules here and the artists want to make sure people can buy their albums.

I don't know much about the studios here but I think their facilities don't match the talent and the potential of the Malagasy artists.