<< index (back) .


Baaboo Rhymz, from Deep Poets (Senegal):
iphop gave us a powerful tool to communicate with our peers, elders and those who do not want to listen to what the youth have to say, be it political or traditional."

Interview by Dídac P. Lagarriga, 2007.

Alibaba (left), BaaBoo (centre) y Architek (right). Senegal, december 2006.

Baaboo Baaboo Rhymz is a Senegalese MC member of DEEP POETS (with Alibabeu, Kinkely and Architekt), one of the most interesting groups from Senegal. With the album Maahaaza? (2005), an international collage of work between New York, Atlanta, and Dakar, Deep Poets wanted to give a new intelligent approach to the hip hop scene using Arabic, English, French and Wolof for their poetry. Mbagnick Ngom, from Senegalese newspaper Wal Fadjri, said of them: "The apostles of intelligent and disciplined rap".

Could you explain a little bit of your trajectory and introduce yourself?

My name BaaBooRhymz… name I got myself in '99 as my Deep Poets brothers and I decided to crew up. I grew up listening to Old school raps and carried that feeling throughout my high school years… and dancin' as well. I made my first single "Neegu Goor" in 2000 which became a classic song in Senegalese reality hiphop. Later, I moved to the U.S. to pursue a dream of stacking a dollar and making good music.

When you work for an international project like Deep Poets, maybe the
lyrics are more general... Is it easier for you or do you prefer to talk more directly about the problems, politics, and experiences around you?

A little bit of both. With Deep Poets, as we are scattered around the globe, we talk about different experiences, each according to where we see the sun. That gives a broad spectrum of the world issues, at the same time we also focus on issues of local Senegalese reality and issues of unique human experiences no matter where you are located.

Do you think that there is more collaboration between local scenes of different African countries than some years ago?

Yes, certainly, and that should be encouraged. However, with the extreme social diversity of African nations, we as African hiphoppers have a rich but also complex landscape to contend with, having a multitude of languages/dialects.

Is it easy to break the borders of francophone-anglophone-arabic Africa?
Has it sense for you to have a panafrican hip hop movement who can share
experiences or do you prefer a more local oriented lyrics who can go farther in the message?

A little bit of both. As I see it, all MCs cannot share the same concepts and views. The system will design itself so that you will see more MCs committed to bigger topics that concern the whole world. As you will see, other MCs were more interested and focused in their neighborhood and their local area issues which is also wonderful. However, hiphop is a unique youth culture that seems to be embraced by all nations regardless of which language they use. It is a feeling of freedom and free expression that all languages can use, even though it is broadly dominated by the English language.

In one interview you said that hiphop gave the African youth freedom of speech. Can you develop a little more this topic (the censorships for political reasons but always for traditional reasons for example).

I think hiphop gave us a powerful tool to communicate with our peers, elders and those who do not want to listen to what the youth have to say, be it political or traditional.

Some years ago the hiphop movement in Senegal contributed a lot to the political change. But how do you see the evolution in these years?

Hiphop played a great part in the 2000 presidential elections in Senegal when almost 90% of raps were political. Hiphop has also grown and diversified itself in Senegal over the past few years. There have been new talents with new authentic concepts that added a plus to the hiphop scene. This trend should be maintained and creativity should prevail.

How do you see the female African rap (for example ALIF)? Is important to fight for equality and women dignity and rights also in the African hiphop?

Yeah, it's great. I think they are pioneers and it's not always easy to pioneer, but they are doing a good job representing the women section. Keep it up.

Didier Awadi (one of the main figures of the Senegalese hip hop movement) is now making an intense job concerning emigration. What do you think about that? Do you share the same point of view (the solution is not to leave the continent but fight and work on it)?

I encourage his responsibility to play his part. I think he's doing the right thing. Our continent and countries need human resources to develop. I am referring to expatriates and also educated youth in Senegal. The government has the huge but manageable responsibility of providing opportunities for its own people. The battle is not over yet. I think expatriates should be encouraged and subsidized by the government to come back and invest in Senegal. I wouldn't encourage illegal immigration to anyone, especially through hasardous boats. But I understand how the youth feels to take the risk. It is an equation that has yet to be solved but needs great attention.

A decade ago some people said that Hiphop was an imported phenomenon in
Africa, but your excellent work (all of you!) and your capacity to fit in the ontext has been erasing this opinion. Now it's more or less the same with the "altermundisme" movement. Do you believe in this movement? It has sense for you?

I think the world needs a balance between huge corporations generating tremendous amounts of capitals and grassroots movements. I believe in raising awareness to consumers so they can make their own decisions for the future of mankind. I believe in taking care of the planet that we are all living in and its people.

Do you work in other areas for spread your ideas? I mean, in radio, or teaching youth people, or writing...

I write, I rap, I talk all the time. But also, I listen, I observe and learn, and I shut up and meditate when I don't have anything to say.

oozebap . 2007 . index