Obama Visit Gives Senegal Artists Something to 'Rap' About

Created: 2013-06-27 03:54 EST

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Two of Senegal's most popular rappers Keyti and Xuman, are quickly becoming known in the country as broadcast journalists—for at least once a week.

The two are veterans of Dakar's prolific hip-hop scene and co-anchor the 'Journal Rappe', a short TV segment that presents local and global news in a musical format each week.

The show focus for the past few days is on U.S. President Barack Obama who arrived in Senegal on Wednesday.

[Xuman, Journal Rappe Show Co-host, Rapper]: 

"Obama, he is Kenyan, but it's not because he has Kenyan roots that he is the president of Africans, we must be very careful. What happened when he was elected, it's a black president but American, before everything, even if he has African origins. It's a way of saying that the American dream is possible."

The show highlights serious issues, often using humor.

[Keyti, Journal Rappe Show Co-host, Rapper]: 

"I think that the only way to draw people in and capture their attention is to make the product interesting. That they see we are having a good time making it, because whether it's Xuman or me, we have been perceived as engaged and serious artists and it all allows us to break the ice."

Xuman says they work hard because they believe their music can help communicate with people.

[Xuman, Journal Rappe Show Co-host, Rapper]:

"Rap is to speak; it's rhyming poetry, like it's the rhyming poetry and each one is a poet within himself, each one has a poet's spirit within them. The difference is you have to know the rhythm to make the music. So I hope the Journal will grow. There are a lot more things we can do, and the biggest mission is to show also that Africa is capable of doing good things."

The weekly news segment broadcast in French and Senegalese gets tens-of-thousands of views on Youtube and features on national television.