You are on page 1of 27
Global Popular Musics and Changing Awareness of Urban Tanzanian Youth Author(s): Pieter Remes Source: Yearbook

Global Popular Musics and Changing Awareness of Urban Tanzanian Youth Author(s): Pieter Remes

Source: Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol. 31 (1999), pp. 1-26

Accessed: 06/09/2011 08:42

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. International Council for Traditional Music is

International Council for Traditional Music is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Yearbook for Traditional Music.

http://www.jstor.org

GLOBAL POPULAR MUSICS AND CHANGING AWARENESSOF URBAN TANZANIAN YOUTH

by PieterRemes

Tanzania's Urban Youth: No Longer

tend to be invisible and inaudible" (Bar-

ber 1987),

musics

like rap and reggae and have created local, loud varieties, and are thus

making

poration

popular

rapid article I will focus on the

with the

globalized

-

youth

Africa) urban youth

invisible. Access to, and incor-

a "Silent

Majority"

If

"ordinarypeople [in Africa]

African

are

youth initially appear audible.

majority. In Tanzania (and elsewhere in

global popular

to be the silent

Yet

becoming increasingly

and

young

sure their

experience

of,

global popular

culture like

adults have absorbed

is no

musics

longer

global

and other elements of

and sports

-

society

fashion, food, dance,

have intensified

mediatization of Tanzanian

between

in the 1990s. In this

popular musics and

relationship the experiences of Tanzanian urban

Tanzanian

youth

and

young

adults

jah

when

shaping contemporary

(a Tanzanian

youth in the

incorporate

1990s.'

various musical and

foreign reggae and hip

textual (as well as visual) elements from local and

hop

Rastafarian) or

identities like msela(an urban

mlalahoi (a toiler; lit., a

person

"sailor"),

who

goes

to

youth to young generations

ground

global

(both in fantasy

they negotiate

rappers

nessed the rise and fall of

policies

as the varied media reverberations in and outside Tanzania imbue

complex

rapper

participates

meanings

sleep tired).2 These musically

in

them in local

and local

and

of

mediated identifications tie Tanzanian

this

dynamic transposition shows how

youth

move

Jamaica and the U.S. and simultaneously

of

contexts. Analyzing

musics, images,

and

reality)

their national

reggae

and identities

in transnational environments, as well as how

experience

as Tanzanians. Most of the

born after independence

young

and wit-

and the CCM

past as well

youth's future. When II Proud, a rising

he

hip hop's global development while infusing it with local

and the

musicians were

Nyerere's nation-building project Africanized socialism.3This remembered

present

and the

exclaims that he is the

play

of

Ujamaa,

views of the

in Dar es Salaam,

in

and a verbal,

my

research

with

"Nyerere wa [of] rap,"

musical

possibilities.

after I had

While

initially

concentrated on

youth,

popular language

developed

urban experience

tionships

rap were intertwined with

became clear that

of Tanzanian

close rela-

interviews, it

or abroad,

and

A number of

rap compositions, reciting rhymes in the of friends or at

organ-

youth

Tanza-

groups of youth and

and

had done a number of

whether

produced

of

locally

reggae,

the experience and expression

idiosyncratic ways.

their own

urban youth

young

young adults in multiple,

nians were

streets, and

ized by

to a venue). NWP was

and Daudi were

creating performing in front

rap competitions that attracted

large groups

years

know was called

Niggers males, all about 20

of

discotheque owners (a strategy

One

rap group I got to

of four

young

composed

still in school;

With Power.

old. Wense

Hamadi and Jontwa were

awaiting the

2/ 1999YEARBOOKFORTRADITIONALMUSIC

resultsof theirFormFour examination, whichwoulddeterminewhether or not they couldcontinuein a public school.

In the

early

1990s,most of the

raps.

like Mwanza'sNWPor

the capacity to recordor

young groups

yet

have

Dares Salaam'sKwanzaUnit did not

distributetheir

recordings were prob- friends,relativesand

ably

acquaintances. Nevertheless,such recordings were rare, and even after

repeated

performances at the timewere

at school

Nigger

wordof mouth. Tanzania'smediaenvironmentin the

in

ButaftertheCCM government introduced political andeconomicliberal-

izationin the late 1980sand

and the

dom followedand new media outlets increased.The numberof inde-

Somedemo cassettesand live

made and then circulated among networksof

searchesI never

gatherings. A

One,

scope

managed

live,

to

get my

at beach

handson them. Most rap in

parties,

discotheques, or

likethe late

would spreadby

1990swasstill

very

limited

successful rapper's nameandfame

-

one of the foundersof KwanzaUnit -

early

and comparable towhatMalmandWallishavedescribed (1992).

early

1990s,due

in

part

to

popularpressures

free-

growth of the informal economy(Tripp1997),greaterpress

pendentnewspapers and weeklymagazineskeptgrowing at a rapidpace. Mwanzabecamethe siteof DMInvestments' new, modern printingpress.

In 1994 the state-ownedRadio

only

by

Mawingu Studios, a

Discotheque, started operating VCRswerestillrarein the

were mostly used to watchvideos since only a few wealthy individuals

ownedsatellitedishes(one

networkin the TanzanianAsian community of Mwanza, though subscrib-

ers had to watchwhateverthe dish ownerwas

could capture thebroadcast signal of Ugandan Television. Imported musics

like rap and reggae couldbe bought, in cassette form, in music shops and

streetstalls (compact discsand vinyl recordswere rare); the majority of

thesecassetteswere bootlegrecordings fromDubaior Pakistan.Fora fee,

requestspecial Marley on one side and Lucky Dubeon the other.Mix

hits were also

tapes whichwouldthen circulateand be copied at

home

of

the Senegaleserap group PositiveBlack Soul, whichis only releasedin

Dakarin

1997, be available(in bootlegversions) in Tanzania by

by howmusictravels through thesenetworks:for

Tanzania, whichfor a

long

time wasthe

radiostationand

recordingfacility in

privaterecording

mainland Tanzania, was joined

studio and

a new, private radiostation,Radio One, whichbroadcastsin FMStereo.

subsidiary of Clouds

in the summerof 1993. Televisionsand

early 1990s, butless so thanin the 1980s; they

ingeniousentrepreneur createdhis owncable

watching). At times, one

customerscould also

orderssuch as a cassettewith Bob

tapes

withcurrent

with relativesabroadwould occa-

available. Finally,youth

sionally receivemusic

networksof friends.Moreresearchshouldbe done to uncover

year?

mediascapenowadays is quite

example, howcana tape

August fallof the same

different:Tanzanianow features

"overone hundred

registeredpublications and nineteenlicensed private

radioand televisionstations" (Media Instituteof SouthAfrica

12/24/97).

RadioOne in Dares Salaam(an IPPMedia venture)appears to dominate the radiowaves.Mwanzahas Radio FreeAfrica, a private radio station

The

REMES

AWARENESSOF TANZANIANYOUTH/ 3

owned by DM Investments. Rap and

produced,

also has

places

Internet -

expensive,

reggae, both imported

are cybercafes

computers

and

Internet home

and

locally

Dar es Salaam now

-

access the

public

are featured

regularly

programming. stations. There

operate

in the

four private

where

paying

in a

is

growing.

television

customers can

number of towns, and

rap

and

reggae

"old school,"

is

long

access, though still

Tanzanianvarieties of

started appearing around 1990.

rap from the old

and

growing:

days.

II Proud,

The list of Gangsters

De-Plow-

Rough

etc. There are

friends in

known in their own

production (recording

etc.)

studios,

remains under-

Saleh J is now considered

current crews

With Matatizo

Matz, Kwanza

Niggaz, X Plastaz, Struggling

undoubtedly many

a school

neighborhood Tanzania's infrastructure for musical

cassette reproduction

developed.

situationwhere few have the capacity to produce cassettes on a large

many rappers tary studios or even on ordinary

plenty

are shown

poor

Nevertheless,

and performers

(Gangsters

Unit,

Ebony

more

or in a local

or town.

This

fact,

facilities,

With Problems, GWM), Hard Blasters,

Moalim, Contish, Ras Pompidou,

Islanders, Jontwa Jokeri,

groups who perform a capella, among

discotheque,

and

are only

yard,

music promoters,

youth's

combined with

capital, leads to a

scale.

often in rudimen-

gets

clips of local groups

dis-

in cassette form. Fewlocal productions eventually

II

lack of

record their

radio

compositions, recorders. While this music

widespread

buyers.

excep-

tape stations, and video

of

airplay on private

on television,

the

recordings

undoubtedly

copies

high

infrastructurehinders

of

tribution of

reach the street stalls and a

Proud (also known as Mr. 2; his real name is

tion. He is that 10,000

ance of FM Production, a

"I estimate that by now the number

number may be

potential

lion is

potentially large group

and distribution

circulating

Tanzania's

young

Joseph Mbilinyi)

is one

population

is an

the most

popular rapper nowadays

officially

company;

and claims

released with the assist-

he adds,

million."4 That

considering the numbers of

of his albums were

recording

but not inconceivable,

copiers.

consumers and home

of 23 mil-

the 10-

primarily young: 72% are younger than 29, and

24% fit in

19-year age-group.5

Hip

The current Tanzanian ent than that of the early

Hop

and

Reggae

Reverberations

1990s.

until 1993-94.

scene of rap and reggae is dramatically differ-

were a

However,

were already firmly rooted in youth's experience. This was

baggy of the LA Raiders or

logos crewsof the time like NWAor

knit caps and bracelets, X's

styles

versions of

Locally produced rap

the

and

reggae

budding phenomenon

these musics

visible in the

pants,

LA

Public

scribbled on

popular dress styles

marketing,

use to

imported

of dress

adopted by young emblazoned with the

rap

men and women -

T-shirtsand

caps in favor with U.S.

Kings (styles also

Enemy), red-yellow-green

pants or hats,

as is evidenced

colors in

T-shirtswith Public

by global

Enemy prints, fashion trends and

etc. These

are also fueled

by

clothing

youth

fashion (also a street-Swahili term), originat-

the term katalogi, a street-Swahiliword

describe "up-to-date"

4 / 1999 YEARBOOKFORTRADITIONAL MUSIC

ing in the European

youth

of

the U.S.

Ebony,RightOn,Jet, RapMasters, and cassettes and on videos.

and American

clothing catalogues

that circulate among

and local tailors. These fashion trends combine with the

their dress styles

the

styles they

see in

practices on black youth culture in

like

Blackbeat, as well as on the covers of

youth who actively model

orJamaica, copying

popular magazines

Beyond

dress

styles,imported

musics also affect the ways in which

At a Sunday youth picnic a short

welcoming

asking people

young

but a number of

D, Red Queen

youth

identify

of

that this was a

selves

themselves. Some

presented

Butcher,

refer to or are fashioned after U.S. musicians

hop

and name themselves.

friends. He

along the shore

speech, stressing to consider them-

attendees introduce

Lake Victoria, the

among

day

to

organizer gave

enjoy oneself,

and

suggested

that the

simply gave

their first names,

youth

Judy

etc., names that also

and rappers, evidencing hip

themselves as follows: Ice T,

SWS, Soldier

Boy,

MC, Extra

Lato B, Heavy

Large

and

One,

affinities.

The

on

presence of imported from stereo

emanating

reggae and rap could also be heard in the

youth

sounds

were the

youth

fee),

1993 were

Ranks, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Brand Nubian,

youth enthusiastically shouted their approval

bass-heavy

Bunny

oms also

to learn more American English like his favorite

his own Swahili

artists. And though this is difficult to

like

or brotherman, and the common

the street-Swahili

originate

can culture.

systems

discotheques

Discotheque

whenever

primary

Sunday

audience. When Deluxe

hosted Mwanza's

evening

pop

and

and Western

rap,

artistssuch as Shabba

Resident

and The Wailers,

reggae and rap

example,

Jontwa

idi-

wanted

modeled

expression poa ("cool";

things?")

also

afternoons (the entrance fee wasless than itsusual

dance music,

by

and

Marley

the music selection shifted. Instead of Congolese

would

play more imported

during

music, deejay Sure Boy

reggae/ragga;

the favoritetracks

appeal

Apache.6

and danced en masse to the

tunes. The

of artists like Bob

Wailer, and

seep

into

Lucky

Dube endures. Elements of

of

speaking.

verify,

greeting

Daudi, for

rappers.

I

youth's ways

rhyming delivery on the rocking English of Jamaican

believe Swahilicized words

geto (ghetto)

reply in the realms

to the

"Mambo/Howare

of popular

music and/or popular African-Ameri-

In the Tanzanian press, these influences of

youth are often deplored.

crime,

musics

In articles and readers' letters,

imported popular

on Tanzanian

youth's embrace of imported, foreign

rising traditions, and lack

of

position in debates on world music that

homogenizations

the demise of "traditional"musics. I argue that U.S. and

cal and expressive practices

youth, resulting in greater

portant reggae or U.S. rap, both

can

music and culture is considered to

for "African"

be the cause of

rap

and

high unemployment, disrespect

of interest in "traditional"musics. Tanzanianversions

are viewed as mere imitations; this stance echoes the

holds the grand forces of global

for

musi-

Tanzanian

and multinational music

are

corporations responsible

Jamaican

transformed

by

being locally

diversification and innovative musics. It is im-

young Tanzanians find appealing in Jamai-

diversified, and commercialized musi-

rich,

reggae

to understand what

REMES

AWARENESSOF TANZANIAN YOUTH / 5

cal traditions. Some see it as a

sider it fun dance music, a serious

or all of the above. And while U.S.

evance to their lives, some

coverversions.These versions areboth similarand different, "Made

beyond

in

sider these practices

As intrinsic

further in this article,

they are elements in ongoing constructions of

identities, social spaces, and everyday life which merge youth's visions of

the West and of Tanzania (and

Africa and

youth). They complex transnational is not

but sociocultural

agination

where im-

calls "the

serting English features of local

contemporary Tanzanian

bumpy

road to riches, while others con-

form of communication, a skillful art,

rap

and

Jamaican reggae

bear rel-

youth have created Tanzanian versions that go

musical styles, wearing baggy jeans,

as

simple borrowings.

Tanzania," with (a) particular Tanzanianness(es) to them. I do not con-

in-

- adopting

idioms into Swahili -

experiences, a theme I will develop

engage are manifestations of what

how the West and Tanzania view

Appadurai construction of imaginary landscapes,"

simply fantasy, pastime, escape, or mere contemplation

practice (Appadurai 1990).

work on

popular painters

in

One can

compare

bicycles, telephones,

of colonial society while

envisioning the West and "integrat-

and

into its occidental framework

activities,

mass

project of

capitalist entrepreneurial

and act in modem life.

on

ethnography,

also drawson

Congo (the former

the cur-

rent Tanzanian youth to Congolese painters of the 1920s like Lubaki,

whose drawings

woman) with umbrella and handbag. Jewsiewicki argues that Lubaki and

others "created an

ter it" (1997:141). These artists were

[it] into their construction of a world vision" as much as the Westwas

people the paintings "chronicles of social and

political life"and "materializationsof the imagination and social memory"

(ibid.:139). Jewsiewicki

attempting to mas-

cars, and a "Madame" (white

Zaire) also helps to understand such practices.

Jewsiewicki's (1997)

feature

inventory

ing

trying to fit African society

considers

(ibid.:134). Tanzanian youth of today are involved in similar

endeavors booming. They do not

voices, living environment,

dia, thus

strategies

creating and/or negotiating to

comprehend, interpret,

based

The

following analysis,

confusion, with Nyerere's

but they are dealing with a postcolonial society and an even greater

of information in an era of crisis and

Africanized socialism now well defunct and

paint on canvas but use their bodies,

and association with musics as expressive me-

diverse, contemporary codes and

primarily

recent work in ethnomusicology (Keil & Feld 1990; Slobin 1993; Erlmann

and understand the tensions and ambi-

guities

to think through discourses on homogenization,

alienation,

engagement with local and global musics as one of the ways in which they

the world at large, and their

may be some confusion ahead, as our from Mwanza

youth's

make sense of Tanzanian

own place in these realms. There

perspective shifts from Dar es Salaam to Los Angeles,

through

egal. Tanzanian urban youth

ally translated as "hooligans."7 It is based on the verb kuhuni, to wander

1996; Malm & Wallis 1992) to try

one encounters when dealing with musics like rap and reggae, and

differentiation, global

and local authenticities. In this article I concentrate on

society and politics,

the Bronx to South Africa and back, or from Tanzania to Sen-

are often identified as wahuni, which is usu-

6 /1999 YEARBOOKFOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC

about, to

"wanderers":

1996) and wondering

vagabond, or to rebel. I prefer

youth wandering

where

about in

they fit in.

a more neutral translation of the global ecumene (Hannerz

Saleh's Brand-new Invention All

right stop Kaa tayari kwakulisten

right stop

All

Stay ready Saleh'sbackwith my brand-newinvention

Saleh's back with

my Kitukimenikaa moyoni

The thing stayed in my heart

Sasanaamuakukitoamdomoni

to listen

brand-new invention

Now I decide to Thus starts Saleh J's

and is based on VanillaIce'sAmerican hit recordof the same name. Saleh's

cassette, Swahili Rap, is still widely

track

and recycled some fragments of VanillaIce's rhymes, using either Ice's or

his own rendition.8Saleh's version became a hit

Many

"Now That We

ture's "O.P.P."or Jamaican recordings like Third World's Found Love."9

While VanillaIce rhymed about drive-by shootings, his rhyming skills,

and praise for Miami, Saleh turns the rap into a warning about AIDS and

the dangers of having multiple sexual partners. In the chorus, he prom-

like Maumba did. Maumbawas a local businessman,

ises not to love

convicted after being caught luring

for sex.

is an important theme in Saleh's raps. His Swahiliversion of Naughty By

Nature's hit

changes "O.P.P."stands for "Other

formers

forms "O.P.P."into "OmbaPurePenzi"

Nature's

and

awarenessabout AIDS

over instrumentals of

raps, Saleh lays his rhymes

Saleh used the entire instrumental

put

it out my mouth

Baby,"

"Ice Ice

a Swahili

rap

that came out in 1991

availablein Tanzania. For"IceIce Baby,"

accompaniment of the original

among Tanzanian youth.

By

Na-

knew the rhymes by heart. Forhis other

popular American rap tracks like Naughty

many

in

young female students to

in a

Fostering

boyfriends.

guest-houses

the

per-

Saleh trans-

offering money

exchange

the

original

dramatic way.Naughty By

in the

rap,

People's Pussy/Penis" and,

cheating on girl-

or

pride

themselves on

(Ask Pure Love) and urges youth to

Sele

stay in one place:

Kaasehemu moja kama rafikiyangu

Stay in one place like my friend Sele

Ana

He has one girlfriend,

Kinadadawa

City sisters and

Kaenifikirini Sit and think

Yajana si ya

Yesterday's(matters) are not those of today

mtoto moja,ndiyeyeyeChaupele

she's it

indeed, Chaupele

mjini na vijana wa mjini

city youth

leo

REMES

AWARENESSOF TANZANIAN YOUTH / 7

remarks about dance

and rap itself, and he also includes references to a modem lifestyle: danc-

ing/landing

504

getting kalkit (hair-straightening

Lamborghinis), watching videos, or

airport, driving around in a Peugeot

Throughout his rhymes, Saleh inserts celebratory

like an

airplane

at

the

(whereas Vanilla Ice raps about

The

originators

treatments).

"brand-newinvention" of which Saleh claims ownership is a Tan-

with rhymes in everyday Swahili

Tanzanians

Swahili-English code-switching.'?

rap. When I lived

did fieldwork in Mwanza in 1993, Swahili Rap continued to be the

that one could easily find in street stalls and

as are most music I do not know how

a rap competition in Dar

zanian version of rap, reggae, and ragga,

and

who claim to be

There are other

young but Saleh's cassette was the first

of Swahili

rap, album of Tanzanian

widely distributed and popular

and

only cassette by a local rapper

cassette shops. Most

cassettes in Tanzania

copies of Saleh's tape were pirated,

(see Malm and Wallis 1992:110).

it was

produced

and first distributed. Saleh won

production

with the

help

es Salaam in 1990-91, whence his title "King of Rap," and it is possible

that this led to a recording and small-scale release. It is

Saleh financed the

earlydays lived in Western countries, or had relatives abroad. Saleh

that

also possible

of his

parents. Rap

in the

abroad,

to have

was linked to the children ofTanzania's elite who studied

appears

such transnational connections, is black and his mother is white.

Managing Meanings & Media

since he mentions in a rap that his father

Voyages

Undoubtedly, imported

and local rap and reggae first appeared in Dar

where

space and various communities intersect and inter-

es Salaam, a bustling city on the coast of East Africa and a

multiple cultures converge

act. Following Hannerz, I consider Dar es Salaam a city where contempo-

rary

sity, interconnectedness, and innovation, in the context of global center-

cultural creolization occurs, where there is a "combination of diver-

(Hannerz 1996:67 ff.). These features can also

periphery relationships"

be found in other Tanzanian cities and towns like Mwanza, but Dar occu-

pies

date," moder

raps:

"up-to-

a

special place.

place

For the

younger

generation, it is the most

in Tanzania. Saleh expresses this in one of his

wongo

it's no lie.

Bongo,

Mji wangujina lingine ni Bongo

other name

My city's Hukokilakitumbelesi

Everything's

is Bongo

ahead there,

by

Youth call Dar es Salaam

which means

"brains"or "intelligence" and implies that you need to be smart in order

to survive there. Dar'sculturalcreolization is stimulated

communities, another term I borrow from Hannerz. These communities

networks of Tanzanians of Indian or Omani

workers, the adminis-

sizable seafaring com-

neighboring coun- bring to Dar an exchange

tries, etc. The

munity, the steady stream of tourists, migrants from

trativeand/or diplomatic

origin, the expatriate

can be real, like the

of transnational

a street Swahili name,

by

the

presence

kinship

community of development

elite, refugee groups, the

members of these communities

8 / 1999YEARBOOKFORTRADITIONALMUSIC

of ideas and goods,

"meanings

and meaningful forms of transnational life" (Hannerz 1996:100). There

are also imaginary transnational communities, where transnational move-

ment is expressed through narratives of travel, musical musings, or me-

dia

with the role of media, and drawson

Hannerz links these imaginary groupings

Appadurai (1991) when writing that

links to

foreign places,

and a

variety

of

voyages

on video and film.

.

.through

the global uses of media technology,

and

the balance

imagination may is more than ever before aware of has become a major social practice.

have shifted. Eve-

between lived

experience rybody, almost everywhere,

many possible lives; fantasy (Hannerz 1996:101)

An example from Zanzibar: Rastafarian youth

their townsection "Babylon"; when police acquired

found a name,

Marley and The

real and otherwise, are interconnected. The former

vironment, a multitude of

draw and

imagine of the characteristicsof both;

sect and

overlap. nia, like those of

social practice.

call the police station in

a new truck,

they quickly

by

"Babylon By

Bob

Wailers (Meyers 1994:21). Transnational communities,

to create an en-

Bus,"

alluding

to the famous album

help

meanings,

from which members of the latter

and real-life

experiences

at times, such communities have a bit

inter-

Later on I will discuss how such communities in Tanza-

other lives. And,

imaginary

the mselaor brotherman, are being imagined and become

First, let us return to the ways in which global popular musics became

voyages

of the members of NWP and other youth in Mwanza.

rap by watching

intertwined with Tanzanian communities and look at some of the musical

and media

films like

Breakdancerand Rap Idolwhen visiting relatives in Dar es Salaam in the

According to Jontwa, Rap Idol "explained the his-

tory of rap, in American, how rap started in America, they talked about

the Zulu Nation."'2Wense also talked about the Zulu Nation and tied it to

started?"The Zulu Nation

group,

an alternative to the violence 1991:58). Rivalries that before

fights were now being "fought" on the dance floor, at the

microphone during neighborhood-based competi-

led to physical

that consumed poor communities (Toop

by Afrika Bambaataa, as a way to provide

is an

rap's origin: "Wasn'tit in South Africa that rap

mid and late 1980s."

Jontwa recalled that he first learned about

organization started in New York City,

first as a breakdance

turntable, or on the

tions. Bambaataa took his name

nated as he was by the Zuluwarriorswhom he sawin Zulu, a British movie

that .

from a 19th-century Zulu chief, fasci-

was showing

of the

Zulus

how when the British came to take over the

how

the

Zulus

fought

uphold won the next

to

the

land

land

you

British knew

praised

when I decided one of these days I hope

too. (Bambaataa,quoted in Toop 1991:57)

thing

see is a whole mountain full with thousands of Zulus and the

When the British thought they'd

they was gonna

die then. But the Zulus chanted -

them as warriors and let them live. So from there that's

to have a Zulu Nation

REMES

AWARENESSOF TANZANIAN YOUTH / 9

The Zulu Nation now has

U.S.'3

bers of NWPwho

ences to Africa in U.S.

Shaka Zulu, were equally ambiguous for Wense and Hamadi, who de-

contemporary

namesake who

rappers

in a number of countries outside the

created some confusion for the mem-

he came from Africa, not America. Other refer-

rap, for example, A Tribe Called Quest praising

chapters

Bambaataa's imagination

thought

bated whether this was the ancient Zulu chief or a more

participated in the early days of hip hop.

or

wearing Africanjewelry

practice, namely that young

life-styles.

To imitate, kuiga,

Tanzanians

of

U.S.

dressing in African styles

to state that "wanaiga sisi [they're imitating us]."They also recognized the

American

ideas and

inverse

led Wenseand Hamadi

were imitating

has connotations of mimicry and caricaturein Swahili,

learning

process of becoming

imitating is an important part

quotes grandparents saying

developing

to their

adult

members of society. Writing about the socialization of youth among the

Chagga, one's character (tabia), and dren:

grandchil-

but it is also used to describe the

Setel notes that

Look my grandchild! You must imitate. If

imitate

(Guttman, HRAF, quoted

Setel 1995:76)

you

did not want to

(at your present age), you

in

practices

of Tanzanian

hip hop

would not be a human being.

The imitative

youth are ambiguous, and often

is not surprising; U.S. hip hop covers complex, hetero-

contemporary society does. different

subjectivities"

Public Enemy's work as "voices in the head,

that won't lie still, a

clamouring madness" (1991:180). When looking and listening to U.S.

rap and then creating their own versions, Tanzanian youth may pick up

lyrics, on the images of U.S. rap, or both. Cool M, a

from

geneous realms of action, just as Tanzanian

contradictory, which

Brian Cross calls

(1993:58); Toop describes

multiple personalities

"a voice for

many

that won't coalesce, language

on the content of the

young brokering business transactions, is a fan of NWA and Public

takes pride

Wearing

militant stance and verbal

he

ist rhetoric

clothes also identify him as an upwardly mobile young adult, a brotherman

in street Swahili.

man who survives in Mwanza with the commission he

them sends a

gets

Enemy. He

rappers.

with their

(which

of social-

valuable

in the fact that he has the same clothes as these

message,

in his

opinion,

that he

agrees

attacks against racism and oppression

perceived political hypocrisy

transposes

to Tanzania and the

and capitalist actions); but the

Joe (a young

ajudge

rappers

fashionable, relatively

trader who Americanized his real name,

in a local

rap competition. He was not very

because

Juma) once served as

impressed by

the Mwanza

come

up

they came with just any clothes, carelessly! Their shoes, care-

lessly! They

you can simply who comes on and

raps, maybe

in the

past], what are they called, they came with heavy boots, they came

with a walking stick, like those

stop and rap. You see, a person

look like any other

like

wanyonge[wretched; underdogs]. They does not mean

person. Rap

[a Dar crew Joe had seen

and wore hats, sunglasses, then you have these [gold] chains of

10/ 1999 YEARBOOKFOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC

rapping, then you can rap,

rap

you see, because I have already seen

contests in Dar es Salaam.

view of

the visual cues in MTV videos

than the lyrics; his

seen in the

early 1990s. According to a number of youth I

belonged to the Tanzanian elite (which does not necessar-

rappers in Dar

ily mean they are wealthy;combining private enterprise and official posi-

tions was in the past, in theory at least, prohibited for the Tanzanian

bureaucracy). Wense, whose brother is a well-known deejay in Dar, told

me that in 1987 there were two people who really

stage the other came from an elite Tanzanian

Discotheque, these two performed live and rapped in English. The fol-

of Clouds

Congolese diplomat,

Joe's

rap

by English skills are limited. The

is more influenced

rap competitions he has

in the late 1980s or

capital were probably those organized

interviewed, those first

knew how to rap. Their

names were IYPand GCY:one was the son of a

family. At the opening

lowing is Wense'srendition of that rap, a bit reminiscent of the early U.S.

rap style of, for

example, Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight":

boys

and the

girls

and the new

discotheque in this town

Hello to the

We go by the name of Clouds Discotheque

The best

So we

IYP and GYC, master

It is

something So we are the best and the ones that are fresh

Cause we rock you and lose in the place to t