Aya Nakamura – The Hip Hop African


Aya Nakamura has been writing and releasing music on Youtube since 2016[1]; the Mali-born French musician would make her entrance into the worldwide music scene in 2018 with the discharge of her second album, NAKAMURA. This album gained worldwide recognition with the hit music “Djadja.”

In an interview with The Guardian[2], the artist elaborates on her ties to West Africa  and her Malian heritage. She explains that regardless of having grown up within the suburb of Paris, France, her Malian historical past was taught and understood via her mom’s function as a griot[3]. The appreciation that Nakamura has for her Malian roots are abundantly clear in her 2017 monitor “Ouman Sangaré,” devoted in title to the award-winning Malian musician, Ouman Sangaré.

Early in 2021, she launched the music “Bobo” which facilities round an intimate female-male relationship that lacks respect towards the feminine, leaving the lady feeling higher off with out him stating: “J’veux de l’air, avec toi je m’emmêle.” Translated into English, this line says “I would like some air, with you I get tangled [up].” There appears to be little affect of her heritage on this monitor’s lyrical composition.

Nonetheless, when the music video was launched, followers have been shocked to see Aya in her Malian dwelling, enclothed in designer manufacturers, singing about her inadequate lover.

Aya Nakamura utilized a typical path to success in mainstream music by drawing her viewers in with catchy strains and a relatable love story, this sample is very widespread for worldwide artists. Regardless of the small margins obtainable for doing so, she doesn’t assimilate to those western patterns of music composition with out leaving room for her Malian roots. Oftentimes, African artists are considered as escaping the misfortune of getting been born in Africa. This creates the concept that Africa is inhabitable, and Africans want help in leaving their impoverished properties.

The creative choice to movie the music video in Mali was profitable in difficult these assumptions with out detering the viewers however quite engaging them. Aya Nakamura’s option to return to Mali and movie this upbeat and empowering music video approaches misconceptions of Africa that loom over African artists at present. With out making a political assertion, the video forces the person viewer to acknowledge this bias via a, at surface- degree, breakup music.


[1] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-69vhXlCa3XHbF8JHCQHfg

[2] Amrani, Imam. “Aya Nakamura: Afropop’s Reluctant Face of Empowerment.” The Guardian, Guardian Information and Media, 23 Jan. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/jan/23/aya-nakamura-interview-french-afropop-reluctant-face-of-empowerment#:~:textual content=Bornpercent20Ayapercent20Daniokopercent20inpercent20Mali,traditionalpercent20Malianpercent20poetpercent20orpercent20singer.

[3] An oral historian in areas in and round Mali and Senegal. (Feminized to Griotte in French) https://www.metmuseum.org/views/articles/2020/4/sahel-sunjata-stories-songs



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