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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 Published by: International Council for Traditional Music Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/09/2011 08:42
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byPieterRemes Tanzania's Urban Youth: No Longer a "Silent Majority" If "ordinarypeople [in Africa] tend to be invisible and inaudible" (Barber 1987), African youth initially appear to be the silent majority. Yet youth are becoming increasingly audible. In Tanzania (and elsewhere in Africa)urban youth and young adults have absorbed global popular musics like rap and reggae and have created local, loud varieties, and are thus making sure their experience is no longer invisible. Access to, and incorporation of, global popular musics - and other elements of globalized popular culture like fashion, food, dance, and sports - have intensified with the rapid mediatization of Tanzanian society in the 1990s. In this article I will focus on the relationship between global popular musics and the experiences of Tanzanian urban youth in the 1990s.' Tanzanian youth and young adults incorporate various musical and textual (as well as visual) elements from local and foreign reggae and hip hop when shaping contemporary identities like msela(an urban "sailor"), jah (a Tanzanian Rastafarian) or mlalahoi(a toiler; lit., a person who goes to sleep tired).2 These musically mediated identifications tie Tanzanian youth to young generations in Jamaica and the U.S. and simultaneously ground them in local contexts. Analyzing this dynamic transposition of global and local musics, images, and identities shows how youth move (both in fantasy and reality) in transnational environments, as well as how they negotiate their national experience as Tanzanians. Most of the young rappers and reggae musicians were born after independence and witnessed the rise and fall of Nyerere's nation-building project and the CCM policies of Ujamaa,Africanized socialism.3 This remembered past as well as the varied media reverberations in and outside Tanzania imbue youth's complex views of the present and the future. When II Proud, a rising wa rapper in Dar es Salaam, exclaims that he is the "Nyerere [of] rap," he participates in hip hop's global development while infusing it with local meanings and a verbal, musical play of possibilities. While my research initially concentrated on popular language and the urban experience of Tanzanian youth, after I had developed close relationships with groups of youth and had done a number of interviews, it became clear that rap and reggae, whether produced locally or abroad, were intertwined with the experience and expression of urban youth and young adults in multiple, idiosyncratic ways. A number of young Tanzanians were creating their own rap compositions, reciting rhymes in the streets, and performing in front of friends or at rap competitions organized by discotheque owners (a strategy that attracted large groups of youth to a venue). One rap group I got to know was called Niggers With Power. NWP was composed of four young males, all about 20 years old. Wense and Daudi were still in school; Hamadi and Jontwa were awaiting the


resultsof their FormFourexamination, whichwould determinewhether or not they could continuein a publicschool. In the early 1990s, most of the young groupslike Mwanza's NWPor Dar es Salaam'sKwanza Unit did not yet have the capacityto recordor theirraps.Some demo cassettesand live recordings distribute wereprobof ablymade and then circulatedamong networks friends,relativesand Nevertheless,such recordingswere rare, and even after acquaintances. repeatedsearchesI never managed to get my hands on them. Most rap at performances the time were live, at beach parties,in discotheques,or at schoolgatherings. successful A rapper'sname and fame- like the late one of the founders of KwanzaUnit - would spread by Nigger One, wordof mouth. Tanzania's mediaenvironmentin the early 1990swas stillverylimited in scope and comparable whatMalmand Wallis to havedescribed(1992). Butafterthe CCMgovernment introduced politicaland economicliberalizationin the late 1980sand early 1990s,due in partto popularpressures and the growthof the informaleconomy(Tripp1997),greaterpressfreedom followed and new media outlets increased.The number of indeand pendentnewspapers weeklymagazineskept growingat a rapidpace. Mwanza becamethe site of DMInvestments' new,modernprintingpress. In 1994 the state-owned RadioTanzania, which for a long time was the was facilityin mainlandTanzania, joined only radiostationand recording in by a new,privateradiostation,RadioOne, whichbroadcasts FMStereo. MawinguStudios,a privaterecordingstudio and subsidiaryof Clouds Discotheque,startedoperatingin the summerof 1993. Televisionsand VCRswerestillrarein the early 1990s,but less so than in the 1980s;they were mostly used to watch videos since only a few wealthy individuals createdhis own cable ownedsatellitedishes (one ingeniousentrepreneur networkin the Tanzanian Asiancommunityof Mwanza, though subscribers had to watchwhateverthe dish ownerwas watching).At times, one couldcapture broadcast the musics signalof UgandanTelevision. Imported likerap and reggaecouldbe bought,in cassetteform,in musicshopsand street stalls (compactdiscs and vinyl recordswere rare);the majorityof For werebootleg recordings fromDubaior Pakistan. a fee, these cassettes customerscould also requestspecial orders such as a cassettewith Bob on Marley one side and LuckyDube on the other.Mix tapeswith current hits were also available.Finally, youth with relativesabroadwould occareceivemusictapeswhichwould then circulateand be copied at sionally of home by networks friends.Moreresearchshould be done to uncover for howmusictravelsthroughthese networks: example,howcan a tape of the Senegaleserap group PositiveBlackSoul, which is only releasedin Dakarin August 1997, be available(in bootleg versions)in Tanzaniaby fall of the sameyear? The mediascapenowadaysis quite different:Tanzanianow features and "overone hundredregisteredpublications nineteen licensedprivate radio and televisionstations" (MediaInstituteof SouthAfrica12/24/97). RadioOne in Dares Salaam(an IPPMediaventure)appearsto dominate the radio waves.Mwanzahas Radio FreeAfrica,a privateradio station



owned by DM Investments. Rap and reggae, both imported and locally produced, are featured regularly in the programming. Dar es Salaam now also has four private television stations. There are cybercafes - public places where paying customers can operate computers and access the Internet - in a number of towns, and Internet home access, though still expensive, is growing. Tanzanian varieties of rap and reggae started appearing around 1990. Saleh J is now considered "old school," rap from the old days. The list of current crews and performers is long and growing: II Proud, Gangsters With Matatizo (Gangsters With Problems, GWM),Hard Blasters, De-PlowMatz, Kwanza Unit, Ebony Moalim, Contish, Ras Pompidou, Rough Niggaz, X Plastaz, Struggling Islanders, Jontwa Jokeri, etc. There are undoubtedly many more groups who perform a capella, among friends in a school yard, or in a local discotheque, and are only known in their own neighborhood or town. Tanzania's infrastructure for musical production (recording studios, cassette reproduction facilities, music promoters, etc.) remains underdeveloped. This fact, combined with youth's lack of capital, leads to a situation where few have the capacity to produce cassettes on a large scale. Nevertheless, many rappers record their compositions, often in rudimentary studios or even on ordinary tape recorders. While this music gets plenty of airplay on private radio stations, and video clips of local groups are shown on television, the poor infrastructurehinders widespread distribution of recordings in cassette form. Few local productions eventually reach the street stalls and a potentially large group of young buyers. II Proud (also known as Mr. 2; his real name is Joseph Mbilinyi) is an exception. He is undoubtedly the most popular rapper nowadays and claims that 10,000 copies of his albums were officially released with the assistance of FM Production, a recording and distribution company; he adds, "I estimate that by now the number circulating is one million."4 That number may be high but not inconceivable, considering the numbers of potential consumers and home copiers. Tanzania's population of 23 million is primarily young: 72% are younger than 29, and 24% fit in the 1019-year age-group.5 Hip Hop and Reggae Reverberations The current Tanzanian scene of rap and reggae is dramatically different than that of the early 1990s. Locally produced rap and reggae were a budding phenomenon until 1993-94. However, the imported versions of these musics were already firmly rooted in youth's experience. This was visible in the styles of dress adopted by young men and women - baggy pants, T-shirts and caps emblazoned with the logos of the LA Raiders or LA Kings (styles also in favor with U.S. rap crews of the time like NWA or Public Enemy), red-yellow-green colors in knit caps and bracelets, X's scribbled on pants or hats, T-shirts with Public Enemy prints, etc. These popular dress styles are also fueled by global fashion trends and clothing marketing, as is evidenced by the term katalogi,a street-Swahiliword youth use to describe "up-to-date" fashion (also a street-Swahiliterm), originat-


ing in the European and American clothing catalogues that circulateamong youth and local tailors. These fashion trends combine with the practices of youth who actively model their dress styles on black youth culture in the U.S. orJamaica, copying the styles they see in popular magazines like and Blackbeat, well as on the covers of as Ebony,Right On,Jet, RapMasters, cassettes and on videos. Beyond dress styles, imported musics also affect the ways in which youth identify and name themselves. At a Sunday youth picnic along the shore of Lake Victoria, the organizer gave a short welcoming speech, stressing that this was a day to enjoy oneself, and asking people to consider themselves among friends. He suggested that the young attendees introduce themselves. Some simply gave their first names, but a number of youth presented themselves as follows: Ice T, Lato B, Heavy D, Red Queen Judy Butcher, SWS, Soldier Boy, MC, Extra Large One, etc., names that also refer to or are fashioned after U.S. musicians and rappers, evidencing hip hop affinities. The presence of imported reggae and rap could also be heard in the sounds emanating from stereo systems and discotheques whenever youth were the primary audience. When Deluxe Discotheque hosted Mwanza's youth on Sunday afternoons (the entrance fee was less than its usual evening fee), the music selection shifted. Instead of Congolese and Western pop music, deejay Sure Boy would play more imported dance music, rap, and reggae/ragga; the favorite tracksduring 1993 were by artists such as Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Brand Nubian, and Apache.6 Resident youth enthusiastically shouted their approval and danced en masse to the bass-heavy tunes. The appeal of artists like Bob Marley and The Wailers, Bunny Wailer,and Lucky Dube endures. Elements of reggae and rap idioms also seep into youth's ways of speaking. Daudi, for example, wanted to learn more American English like his favorite rappers. Jontwa modeled his own Swahili rhyming delivery on the rocking English of Jamaican artists. And though this is difficult to verify, I believe Swahilicized words and the common expression poa ("cool"; like geto (ghetto) or brotherman, the street-Swahili reply to the greeting "Mambo/Howare things?") also originate in the realms of popular music and/or popular African-American culture. In the Tanzanian press, these influences of imported popular musics on Tanzanian youth are often deplored. In articles and readers' letters, youth's embrace of imported, foreign music and culture is considered to be the cause of rising crime, high unemployment, disrespect for "African" traditions, and lack of interest in "traditional"musics. Tanzanian versions of rap and reggae are viewed as mere imitations; this stance echoes the position in debates on world music that holds the grand forces of global homogenizations and multinational music corporations responsible for the demise of "traditional"musics. I argue that U.S. and Jamaican musical and expressive practices are being locally transformed by Tanzanian youth, resulting in greater diversification and innovative musics. It is important to understand what young Tanzanians find appealing in Jamaican reggae or U.S. rap, both rich, diversified, and commercialized musi-



cal traditions. Some see it as a bumpy road to riches, while others consider it fun dance music, a serious form of communication, a skillful art, or all of the above. And while U.S. rap and Jamaican reggae bear relevance to their lives, some youth have created Tanzanian versions that go beyond cover versions. These versions are both similarand different, "Made in Tanzania,"with (a) particular Tanzanianness(es) to them. I do not consider these practices - adopting musical styles, wearing baggy jeans, inserting English idioms into Swahili - as simple borrowings. As intrinsic features of local experiences, a theme I will develop further in this article, they are elements in ongoing constructions of contemporary Tanzanian identities, social spaces, and everyday life which merge youth's visions of the West and of Tanzania (and engage how the West and Tanzania view Africa and youth). They are manifestations of what Appadurai calls "the complex transnational construction of imaginary landscapes," where imagination is not simply fantasy, pastime, escape, or mere contemplation but sociocultural practice (Appadurai 1990). Jewsiewicki's (1997) work on popular painters in Congo (the former Zaire) also helps to understand such practices. One can compare the current Tanzanian youth to Congolese painters of the 1920s like Lubaki, whose drawings feature bicycles, telephones, cars, and a "Madame"(white woman) with umbrella and handbag. Jewsiewicki argues that Lubaki and others "created an inventory of colonial society while attempting to master it" (1997:141). These artists were envisioning the West and "integrating [it] into their construction of a world vision" as much as the West was trying to fit African society and people into its occidental framework (ibid.: 139). Jewsiewicki considers the paintings "chronicles of social and political life" and "materializationsof the imagination and social memory" (ibid.: 134). Tanzanian youth of today are involved in similar activities, but they are dealing with a postcolonial society and an even greater mass of information in an era of crisis and confusion, with Nyerere's project of Africanized socialism now well defunct and capitalist entrepreneurial endeavors booming. They do not paint on canvas but use their bodies, voices, living environment, and association with musics as expressive media, thus creating and/or negotiating diverse, contemporary codes and strategies to comprehend, interpret, and act in modem life. The following analysis, based primarily on ethnography, also draws on recent work in ethnomusicology (Keil & Feld 1990; Slobin 1993; Erlmann 1996; Malm & Wallis 1992) to try and understand the tensions and ambiguities one encounters when dealing with musics like rap and reggae, and to think through discourses on homogenization, differentiation, global alienation, and local authenticities. In this article I concentrate on youth's engagement with local and global musics as one of the ways in which they make sense of Tanzanian society and politics, the world at large, and their own place in these realms. There may be some confusion ahead, as our perspective shifts from Dar es Salaam to Los Angeles, from Mwanza through the Bronx to South Africa and back, or from Tanzania to Senegal. Tanzanian urban youth are often identified as wahuni, which is usually translated as "hooligans."7It is based on the verb kuhuni, to wander


about, to vagabond, or to rebel. I prefer a more neutral translation of "wanderers":youth wandering about in the global ecumene (Hannerz 1996) and wondering where they fit in. Saleh's Brand-new Invention All rightstop All right stop Kaa tayarikwa kulisten Stay ready to listen Saleh'sbackwithmybrand-new invention Saleh's back with my brand-new invention Kitukimenikaa moyoni The thing stayed in my heart Sasa naamuakukitoamdomoni Now I decide to put it out my mouth Thus starts Saleh J's "Ice Ice Baby,"a Swahili rap that came out in 1991 and is based on Vanilla Ice's American hit record of the same name. Saleh's cassette, SwahiliRap, is still widely available in Tanzania. For"Ice Ice Baby," Saleh used the entire instrumental accompaniment of the original track and recycled some fragments of Vanilla Ice's rhymes, using either Ice's or his own rendition.8 Saleh's version became a hit among Tanzanian youth. Many knew the rhymes by heart. For his other raps, Saleh lays his rhymes over instrumentals of popular American rap tracks like Naughty By Naor ture's "O.P.P." Jamaican recordings like Third World's "Now That We Found Love."9 While Vanilla Ice 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 promises not to love many like Maumba did. Maumba was a local businessman, convicted after being caught luring young female students to guest-houses and offering money in exchange for sex. Fostering awareness about AIDS is an important theme in Saleh's raps. His Swahili version of Naughty By Nature's hit changes the original in a dramatic way. Naughty By Nature's stands for "Other People's Pussy/Penis"and, in the rap, the per"O.P.P." formers pride themselves on cheating on girl- or boyfriends. Saleh transPure Penzi"(Ask Pure Love) and urges youth to into "Omba forms "O.P.P." in one place: stay Kaa sehemumojakamarafikiyangu Sele Stay in one place like my friend Sele Ana mtotomoja,ndiyeyeyeChaupele He has one girlfriend, she's it indeed, Chaupele Kinadadawa mjinina vijana wa mjini City sisters and city youth Kaenifikirini Sit and think Yajanasi ya leo Yesterday's(matters) are not those of today



Throughout his rhymes, Saleh inserts celebratory remarks about dance and rap itself, and he also includes references to a modem lifestyle: dancing/landing like an airplane at the airport, driving around in a Peugeot 504 (whereas Vanilla Ice raps about Lamborghinis), watching videos, or getting kalkit (hair-straightening treatments). The "brand-new invention" of which Saleh claims ownership is a Tanzanian version of rap, reggae, and ragga, with rhymes in everyday Swahili and Swahili-English code-switching.'? There are other young Tanzanians who claim to be originators of Swahili rap, but Saleh's cassette was the first widely distributed and popular album of Tanzanian rap. When I lived and did fieldwork in Mwanza in 1993, Swahili Rap continued to be the only cassette by a local rapper that one could easily find in street stalls and cassette shops. Most copies of Saleh's tape were pirated, as are most music cassettes in Tanzania (see Malm and Wallis 1992:110). I do not know how it was produced and first distributed. Saleh won a rap competition in Dar 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 also possible that Saleh financed the production with the help of his parents. Rap in the early dayswas linked to the children ofTanzania's elite who studied abroad, lived in Western countries, or had relatives abroad. Saleh appears to have such transnational connections, since he mentions in a rap that his father is black and his mother is white. Managing Meanings & Media Voyages Undoubtedly, imported and local rap and reggae first appeared in Dar es Salaam, a bustling city on the coast of East Africa and a space where multiple cultures converge and various communities intersect and interact. Following Hannerz, I consider Dar es Salaam a city where contemporary cultural creolization occurs, where there is a "combination of diversity, interconnectedness, and innovation, in the context of global centerperiphery relationships" (Hannerz 1996:67 ff.). These features can also be found in other Tanzanian cities and towns like Mwanza, but Dar occupies a special place. For the younger generation, it is the most "up-todate," moder place in Tanzania. Saleh expresses this in one of his raps: Mji wangujina lingine ni Bongo My city's other name is Bongo Huko kila kitumbele wongo si ahead there, it's no lie. Everything's Youth call Dar es Salaam by a street Swahili name, Bongo, which means "brains"or "intelligence" and implies that you need to be smart in order to survive there. Dar's cultural creolization is stimulated by the presence of transnational communities, another term I borrow from Hannerz. These communities can be real, like the kinship networks of Tanzanians of Indian or Omani origin, the expatriate community of development workers, the administrative and/or diplomatic elite, refugee groups, the sizable seafaring community, the steady stream of tourists, migrants from neighboring countries, etc. The members of these communities bring to Dar an exchange


of ideas and goods, links to foreign places, and a variety of "meanings and meaningful forms of transnational life" (Hannerz 1996:100). There are also imaginarytransnational communities, where transnational movement is expressed through narratives of travel, musical musings, or media voyages on video and film. Hannerz links these imaginary groupings with the role of media, and draws on Appadurai (1991) when writing that . .through the global uses of media technology, the balance between lived experience and imagination may have shifted. Everybody, almost everywhere, is more than ever before aware of many possible lives; fantasy has become a major social practice. (Hannerz 1996:101) An example from Zanzibar: Rastafarian youth call the police station in their town section "Babylon"; when police acquired a new truck,they quickly found a name, "Babylon By Bus," alluding to the famous album by Bob Marley and The Wailers (Meyers 1994:21). Transnational communities, real and otherwise, are interconnected. The former help to create an environment, a multitude of meanings, from which members of the latter draw and imagine other lives. And, at times, such communities have a bit of the characteristics of both; imaginary and real-life experiences intersect and overlap. Later on I will discuss how such communities in Tanzaare nia, like those of the mselaor brotherman, being imagined and become social practice. First, let us return to the ways in which global popular musics became intertwined with Tanzanian communities and look at some of the musical and media voyages of the members of NWP and other youth in Mwanza. Jontwa recalled that he first learned about rap by watching films like Breakdancer and Rap Idol when visiting relatives in Dar es Salaam in the mid and late 1980s." According to Jontwa, Rap Idol "explained the history 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 it rap's origin: "Wasn't in South Africa that rap started?"The Zulu Nation is an organization started in New York City, first as a breakdance group, by Afrika Bambaataa, as a way to provide an alternative to the violence that consumed poor communities (Toop 1991:58). Rivalries that before led to physical fights were now being "fought" on the dance floor, at the turntable, or on the microphone during neighborhood-based competitions. Bambaataa took his name from a 19th-century Zulu chief, fascinated as he was by the Zulu warriorswhom he saw in Zulu, a British movie that . . . was showing how when the British came to take over the land of the Zulus how the Zulus fought to uphold the land . . . When the British thought they'd won the next thing you see is a whole mountain full with thousands of Zulus and the British knew they was gonna die then. But the Zulus chanted praised them as warriors and let them live. So from there that's when I decided one of these days I hope to have a Zulu Nation too. (Bambaataa, quoted in Toop 1991:57)



The Zulu Nation now has chapters in a number of countries outside the U.S.'3 Bambaataa's imagination created some confusion for the members of NWP who thought he came from Africa, not America. Other references to Africa in U.S. rap, for example, A Tribe Called Quest praising Shaka Zulu, were equally ambiguous for Wense and Hamadi, who debated whether this was the ancient Zulu chief or a more contemporary namesake who participated in the early days of hip hop. U.S. rappers dressing in African styles or wearing Africanjewelry led Wense and Hamadi to state that "wanaigasisi [they're imitating us]." They also recognized the inverse practice, namely that young Tanzanians were imitating American ideas and life-styles. To imitate, kuiga, has connotations of mimicry and caricaturein Swahili, but it is also used to describe the learning process of becoming adult members of society. Writing about the socialization of youth among the Chagga, Setel notes that imitating is an important part of developing one's character (tabia),and quotes grandparents saying to their grandchildren: Look my grandchild! You must imitate. If you did not want to imitate (at your present age), you would not be a human being. (Guttman, HRAF, quoted in Setel 1995:76) The imitative practices of Tanzanian youth are ambiguous, and often which is not surprising;U.S. hip hop covers complex, heterocontradictory, geneous realms of action, just as Tanzanian contemporary society does. Brian Cross calls hip hop "a voice for many different subjectivities" (1993:58); Toop describes Public Enemy's work as "voices in the head, multiple personalities that won't coalesce, language 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 on the content of the lyrics, on the images of U.S. rap, or both. Cool M, a young man who survives in Mwanza with the commission he gets from brokering business transactions, is a fan of NWA and Public Enemy. He takes pride in the fact that he has the same clothes as these rappers. Wearing them sends a message, in his opinion, that he agrees with their militant stance and verbal attacks against racism and oppression (which he transposes to Tanzania and the perceived political hypocrisy of socialist rhetoric and capitalist actions); but the fashionable, relatively valuable clothes also identify him as an upwardly mobile young adult, a brotherman in street Swahili. Joe (a young trader who Americanized his real name, Juma) once served as ajudge in a local rap competition. He was not very impressed by the Mwanza rappers because ... they came with just any clothes, carelessly! Their shoes, carelessly! They come up like wanyonge[wretched; underdogs]. They look like any other person. Rap does not mean you can simply stop and rap. You see, a person who comes on and raps, maybe with a walking stick, like those [a Dar crew Joe had seen in the past], what are they called, they came with heavy boots, they came and wore hats, sunglasses, then you have these [gold] chains of


rapping, then you can rap, you see, because I have already seen rap contests in Dar es Salaam. Joe's view of rap is more influenced by the visual cues in MTV videos than the lyrics; his English skills are limited. The rap competitions he has seen in the capital were probably those organized in the late 1980s or early 1990s. According to a number of youth I interviewed, those first rappers in Dar belonged to the Tanzanian elite (which does not necessarily mean they are wealthy; combining private enterprise and official positions 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 knew how to rap. Their stage names were IYP and GCY:one was the son of a Congolese diplomat, the other came from an elite Tanzanian family. At the opening of Clouds Discotheque, these two performed live and rapped in English. The following is Wense's rendition of that rap, a bit reminiscent of the early U.S. rap style of, for example, Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight": Hello to the boys and the girls We go by the name of Clouds Discotheque The best discotheque and the new discotheque in this town So we got Dre and Jed on the mixer IYP and GYC, master rappers on the mike It is something new in this town So we are the best and the ones that are fresh Cause we rock you and lose in the place to the beat To the funk-funk-funky,the B, the E, the A, the T Rap was then a means to a party. During the summer school holidays, beach parties were organized by mayankiwa town (city youth), often children of the elite who returned from schools in the West.Jontwa said that others, like those involved in biasharawa unga (drug trafficking; lit. flour business), joined in the parties. These gatherings were free, so anyone could attend. As these parties grew, portable sound systems - I suspect these were limited in volume and sound quality - were brought in and budding rappers could try out their rhymes. Jontwa remembered a party in 1990 where you simply walked up to Boney Love, the resident deejay, asked for the microphone, and then "you show, you do your thing, another would come up and take the mike, then give you a [rap] answer,and if you rapped slow, Boney would interject with a record." Though the children of the Tanzanian elite certainly contributed to the introduction and development of rap in Tanzania and are still involved in it - some as rappers, others as producers with access to recording equipment - rap did not remain a privileged affair.Youth who share a passion for music find each other across socioeconomic divisions. Thomas Gesthuizen, who has visited Dar several times after 1993 and knows the local rappers well, agrees that it is not unusual to have a group of rappers with some members living in fancy houses in rich town-sections, and others living with their family or friends in simple rooms in Dar's populous poor neighborhoods.'4 As rap's popularity increased in the early 1990s and more youth started composing their own rhymes, representing



one's fellows and one's own environment became more important than praising a discotheque. Youth rapped about the realities around them, addressed social problems, and criticized those who simply copied U.S. rappers. Thomas Gesthuizen and Peter-Jan Haas (1998) recorded such a critique: one rapper gave an impromptu street performance and rapped about driving in a Lexus. His friend interrupted and contested putting Lexuses or VCRs in one's rap because "That is not keeping it real! We don't afford Lexus, we don't afford using guns. In Tanzania we [are a] peace country. We don't use guns." Although it seems that Tanzanian rap now firmly represents the side of the underdogs of Tanzanian society, contradictory trends coexist and tensions between differing outlooks persist. Youth likeJoe consider rap more as a means to riches; others perform to educate, though they certainly do not shy away from making some money by performing. This tension is also apparent in the different outlooks of brothermen, ambitious but struggling sharp-dressed young enthe trepreneurs, and wasela, the youth in well-worn cothes who survive by collecting bus fares or selling items in the streets (displaying their wares on their arms, hence their name, biashara mkononi,"business of on-theya arm," or mobile shops). Rap's connection with the elite is not solely a matter of kinship relations. There has also been a more direct involvement by CCM. In February of 1993 Horace Kolimba, then secretary general of CCM, inaugurated the group Kwanza Unit (lit. the First Unit; KU) at the Korea Culture Center in Dar es Salaam. In Mwanza, the story was told that KU praised CCM at the inauguration using the instrumental of Naughty By Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray" and received about 225 U.S. dollars from Kolimba. I also heard of a couple of other instances where KU performed at CCM gatherings. Some youth thought less of KU because of the CCM connection, but praising the party is not uncommon for Tanzanian musicians. There are probably multiple motives for the KU-CCM relationship. The party may embrace KU's and rap's popularity in order to win youth support for their policies (in anticipation of multiparty elections). KU may use their connection to CCM to make money - money that can be used to buy studio time - and take advantage of a public forum to gain publicity. A journalist covering the inauguration wrote that "these youth with revolutionary intentions but with a peaceful goal have shown that they will produce great things" (Moto Moto 4.1-15.93). While KU may praise CCM on stage, in their compositions politicians are usually presented in a negative way,as instigators of war, ethnic or religious conflict, or as people who consider youth as wahuni, hooligans. An excerpt of KU's raps illustrates this general disdain for politicians: Wanasiasa wasitupeleke puta Politicians, don't take and trash us Kwasasa wao wanatuonawahuni Now, they think we're hooligans Na tusiofaambele yao In their eyes we're unfit


Lakinipunde wanapoanzisha vita But as soon as they start a war Waowanakaapembenina They stay on the sidelines Kutuitamimina wewetupigane And call upon you and me to fight Lazimavijana tupendane We youth have to love each other Wanasiasa wasitugombanishe Politicians, don't make us fight Other recent rap productions point to more direct political intervention. Living With Purpose, another group from Dar, composed "Kijijini" (In the Village), which calls upon urban youth to return to the countryside and go farming. It presents village life in a positive light, where "mambo yataeleweka[things will be understood]" as opposed to city life where kila "shaghala-baghala jambo hekaheka[everything is disorderly, a scramble]." The rhymes are imbued with politically tinted language, which addresses listeners as ndugu (comrade, fellow), mfanyakazi (worker)or mzalendo (patriot), and invokes socialist campaigns of Nguvu Kazi (Force Work), even using the old slogan of Uhuru Kazi (Freedom is Work). These campaigns returned urban "loiterers"to governmental farms or the countryside, with force but little success (see Tripp 1997:141-146). Living With Purpose end their summons by telling listeners, "wachakulaumuviongozi [stop blaming leaders]!" I do not know the background of the group's members, nor whether they have links to CCM (or were asked to compose this rap), but their rap certainlypositions them in CCM's ideological camp. I know of another case, in Zanzibarin 1997, where someone belonging to CCM asked a local rap group to compose pieces on the illegal use of passports and Zanzibari history.'5 Such instances pose important questions about youth expressions being co-opted by politicians. This is one way in which global rap becomes a nationalized version, a version that echoes what being Tanzanian and belonging to the Tanzanian nation is about. Of course, such meanings and the work of imagining a nation are open to debate. Nationalizing Global Musics in Local Ghettoes Nowadays Tanzanian youth can tune into a multitude of imported musics, by means of radio, television, video, cassette or film. Gangsters With Matatizo rap: 'fungua redio,tv, tafutachannel[turn on the radio, television, and find a channel]." But when global musics reach Tanzanian ears, as they move from the global mediascape into Tanzania's ethnoscape (Appadurai 1990), their meanings are already altered in certain ways. We might compare them to the discarded, used clothing from the West that becomes "new"when it reaches African markets. Zambians call the used clothes by a generic term, salaula or kaunjika,"to select from a pile" or "to pick" (Hansen 1994:506). When Tanzanian youth talk of imported musics, they say that they are listening to "blues"(r&b,slower ballads), "hot funky" (popular music like Michael Jackson or Madonna), kibindaya nkoi or



ndombolo(names for Congolese music that refer to the dance moves).'6 Rap and reggae have kept their names. As these musics become part of everyday life - which is the case for a number of urban youth who are passionate listeners and/or practitioners - particular images and ideas that accompany the global musical stream mesh with the experience and social environment of Tanzanian youth. In the early 1970s, Soul and Blaxploitation movies resonated among the style, James Brown, and young generation, fusing Black Power, Superfly's the new Tanzanian socialism into "a more seductive kind of social transformation than that promised by Ujamaa" (Joseph 1998). In the 1990s, youth filter the difficulties of city life through NWA's reality rap, Bob Marley'scritique of Babylon, and the hedonism of Shabba Ranks, musical styles and modes of action that tie into local discourses about lifestyles, social action, and being Tanzanian. Youth and young adults commonly call the rooms they live in, whether it is a room in their parents' house or a rented room in a multi-dwelling compound, their "ghetto."This naming practice goes back some time. JJ, a petty trader, recalled that he heard it . a long time ago, from the time Bob Marley's music was heard in the city. I started hearing that word since 1978, 1979, since Bob Marley put out his ghetto sound, or the likes of Peter Tosh, or Marvin [Gaye], he used to call himself a ghetto dweller. Ghetto is a term of reference for the specific living space and the conditions youth face in the city. I was often ushered into the tiny rooms youth inhabit with the words, "Karibu geto langu [welcome in my ghetto]." The state of these rooms is variable: some are in newer buildings, others are haphazardly-builtextensions. Furnishings can be fancy or sparse. Andrew, a wage-earning mechanic, had new chairs, a cupboard, and a bed; the cement walls were plastered top-to-bottom with magazine pictures: images depicting cars, musicians, sport celebrities, scenes of tropical holiday sports, tables filled with a smorgasbord of food, a picture of Jesus, and some calendars on which Andrew wrote "God bless this ghetto and my family." Most often, a ghetto refers to a place where unmarried youth or young adults live jointly, share sleeping arrangements, and "give 'donations': they collect money together, I give 500, another gives 500" (Bishop, a secondhand clothes seller). The pooled money is used to pay rent or buy food. Such informal sharing strategies echo ujamaaideas, but not those of the grand governmental Ujamaaproject. "Norms of fairness,justice, and egalitarianism ideas that became part of ujamaa ideology, already had a societal base before Nyerere drew upon them to harness support for the nation-building project"(Tripp 1997:190). As Ernest, a freelance mechanic, said: "leaders haven't trapped ujamaa, it is the people down below who are indeed the true wajamaa."'7 Egalitarian ideas endure among the urban poor and broad sectors of the population, and while people continue to use ujamaa-ladenwords like kujitegemea be self-reliant), they usually (to have in mind an everyday meaning; for example, a tailor who makes an income and survivesby using his own skills practices kujitegemea. One could


call the sharing in ghettoes a kind of micro-level self-reliance, practised by small groups of like-minded people, in order to survive and augment the meager incomes of each individual's "business"endeavors. Reggae & Ujamaa Mixtures Among youth and young adults, using "ghetto" as a name for one's living space also extends to the wider social and political environment, and is then a reference to the poor living conditions of the wanyonge(underdogs; wretched), walalahoi (those who go to sleep exhausted), and (lit. wavujajasho sweat-drippers; toilers), everyday names adopted and invented by watu wa hali ya chini (lit. the people of the state of below; those at the bottom of society). Many urban youth consider themselves to be part of these categories which have counterparts at the top of society: the wazito (heavy ones), vigogo (logs, untouchables), and wabenzi(MercedesBenz drivers). This sociopolitical perspective of poor vs. rich, powerless vs. powerful, is fed by and fits into the discourse of rap and reggae artists (local and foreign), as well as popular musicians like Remmy Ongala. One of Remmy's nicknames is Sauti ya Mnyonge(Voice of the Underdog), and youth identify him as a person who follows "Rastafarianideas."'8 Youth actively compare their "ghetto-lives" with those described by Bob Marley,Ice Cube, Lucky Dube, or Kool Moe Dee, artists seen on the occasional video or heard on cassettes. Marley's critique of Babylon in songs like "Them Belly Full" strikes a familiar chord among youth and the urban poor who recognize the poverty and everyday survival of those living in Kingston, Jamaica. The following statement made by Ernest deals with the issue of power in many of Remmy's songs, but it can also be applied to Marley's song, "Small Axe": Big power has its limits. They [the big ones] have to consider the little ones, because the little ones make you, the big one, stop. But a big one without the little ones is not a big one, because what will you rule? This perspective considers power as a positive thing if it involves respect for "the little ones"; but, Ernest argues, this is not the case in Tanzania, where the problem with these leaders who call themselves leaders is this: they are people who do not listen to the views of the people but instead try to have their views heard by the people. They're not listening to popular views, the things people discuss, what they want, how they want to live . . . Rastafarian ideas provide a strong, but not exclusive, point of identification for Ernest and other youth. They are mixed with Christian and egalitarian values and ethics, filtered through and/or recaptured from ujamaa ideology. Jontwa, one of the members of NWP, mixes rap and reggae sensibilities in his compositions, often to serve an educational purpose. He raises awarenessof the condition of children living in the streets,warns youth of the dangers of drugs, promotes better communication between parents and children, encourages condom use, and elaborates on the value of a healthy diet of protein, vitamins and minerals. In a 1993 a capella rendition of one of his compositions, Jontwa urges youth to give up smok-



Enging marihuana and using cocaine, and then "processes"(kuchambula) lish verses from the Book of Revelation (the left column is taken from Jontwa's notebook of rhymes):
Don't be woried upset Jesus told them me Me King Kool Kraze come to tell evibady Bilieve in de gad and belive also me Dera mane chamber in de fada bangaloo Don't be worried, upset, Jesus told me Me King Kool Kraze come to tell everybody Believe in God and believe also me There are many chambers in the father's

bungalow Jesus combak agena and take innocent man Jesus come back again and take innocent man I am going to arrange a place for you all Amina gona rangi place area for yaaa I would not tell you if it were not so A wodna telli ya if it were notiso

Other youth go further in the construction of Rasta identities (majah)and take on the name "Bob" ("Bob" is also used among youth to address a friend, as in "Bob Patrick").The emphasis here lies on the plural, on identities: there is no unified set, but rather a fluid conglomerate of Rasta beliefs that circulate among youth. Mzee wa Mama Boogaloo Mixer (the nickname of a 19-year-old student) says he is a "Jah Rastafari."He does not eat "female meat or fish" and is also passionate about Jesus: "if you love Jesus, if he is your friend, that's enough, you'll get to the Kingdom of the Lord."'9 But, as is the case among Jamaican Rastafarians, a future salvation in heaven does not erase the fact that youth live in this world and struggle to overcome everyday difficulties. Reality Rap from the Perspective of Wasela Rap brings out comparisons to other places, such as the inner cities of New Yorkor Los Angeles. Like reggae, rap music is considered as a means to empowerment and greater awareness. As Brian Cross states, "it brings the struggle of African-Americans to many ears, thereby providing a new perspective on one's own problems" (1993:58). In Hamadi's words, rap "explains the situation of black people, how they are discriminated in America in important services like hospitals or schools, rap helps in explaining so that they move forward more." Urban youth in Tanzania can identify with discrimination, because they themselves are often represented in negative ways. Journalists describe young unemployed as a "ticking time-bomb" or an "armyof unruly urban youth." In Ishumi's (1984) study of the "urbanjobless," young school-leavers and dropouts are described as "amorphouslyshifting collections of anchorless youths of no fixed abode; street-trooping, highly mobile gangs; wastage; hard-core 'born-city' urbanites; prone to vice and crime."20 The jobs that youth take up - for example, vending goods in the streets, collecting fares on a minibus, cutting hair, brokering business deals for city visitors, selling food in street stalls - are not considered "proper, gainful employment" by the government (ibid.:25). Although restrictions on informal activities have eased, youth are still facing regular harassment by police and city officials. In February of 1996, "30,000 stands" were bulldozed by police (World Press Review 1996). Youth who cannot are idlers (simishow work identity cards (vitambulisho) treated as wazururaji,


lar to wahuni),by police and by sungusungu,vigilante groups that are sanctioned by the government. II Proud begins his cassette-album, Ndani ya Bongo (Inside Dar), with a street scene and a dialogue with an official who stops II Proud and demands to see an ID. II Proud argues that there is no work in Dar and not having an ID does not mean he is just idling. Tanzanian youth, and the rappers among them, react against these negative stereotypes. Instead of hooligans, wanderers and idlers, they call themselves wasela (sing. msela), translated freely as urban sailors. It is a contemporary urban identity that draws on a long-standing fascination with sailors and the pathway to other worlds which sailors embody.21It also makes sense when one considers the description ofTanzania by Bakari, a young trader, as "a rudderless ship out on the seas, going wherever the wind blows."In an era marked by transition and confusion, mselaexpresses urban know-how, a tough, rugged character, and a desire to move away from the difficulties of city life. One example of the wasela are the touts who hang on to minibuses all day long, collecting fares while breathing dust and exhaust fumes, beating on the side of the bus to tell the driver to take off. Waselado not care much for fancy clothes; they do not want to "shine" like the brotherman. They smoke marihuana, Wense said, because "[it] makes a person bear sitting there in the hot sun, it makes a person bear beating the metal [all day long]." Stories of foreign travels, real or fictional, are told with a passion among the wasela;respect is shown to those who actually reach that goal, like the youth who manage to make it to South Africa (and are repatriated when authorities discover them). There are also stories about young people traveling abroad as drug smugglers. Tanzania has become a transit point for the international drug trade, undoubtedly because corruption eases border controls (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1998). Youth are recruited as couriers; a recent study reports that "150 Zanzibaris [are] serving long termjail sentences" in the Far East and Europe on drug trafficking charges (Africa News Network, 3/25/98). In Mwanza,JJ asked my advice when he had been offered 2,000 dollars to smuggle drugs to Italy (his travel and passport would be arranged). I advised him to refuse (which he did) but wondered how many young Tanzanians might accept if the fee was increased to 5,000 dollars. Waselaare often perceived by elders, and portrayed in the media, as gangstersor thugs, like the Commando Yossogang which reportedlyrobbed people in 1993. Youth themselves may reinforce that perception as they take on a tough posture, mirroring the images of youth in local media and those of U.S. rappers in video dips. The tough appearance of the mselais also reflected in the names of Tanzanian rappers: Gangsters with Matatizo, Hard Blasters, and Rough Niggaz. Generally speaking, rappers approach life and society as wasela. A few rappers hold regular salaried jobs but many, like X-Plastaz,a crew from Arusha who cut hair for a living, survive by the same strategies as other urban youth. Once you get beyond appearances, there are no gangsta rappers here who deal drugs and engage in drive-by shootings, but only city-smart " youth with a positive message for their peers.22In the song "Msela, by the



Clouds, the identity of the urban sailors gets a more realistic treatment. I first heard a rap version of the song, performed and modified by Wense (who probably got hold of a demo copy or heard the song while visiting relatives in Dar). A few excerpts follow: Kamaunatakakujuajina langu If you want to know my name elewa Niuliza, msela,nitakueleza Ask me, msela, I will explain it to you, understand it Nina washikaji wenyevipaji I've got friends with talents mitikasikwa kasi kwa kutafutamakazi Twafanya Let's make plans with speed, to find jobs Ndio maanamwaniona That's why you see me kona sina noma B-ventkwenye B-vent, on the corer without fear Msela,napiga debe,eleweka Msela, I beat the metal, understand it Chaguachukuabeipoa Choose, pick, it's a cool price Na wala si uongomtaa wa Kongo And that's not a lie, on Congo street23 mitikasikwa usongo Twapiga Let's make urgent plans Oneday,yes, msela,nitaibuka One day, yes, msela, I will spring up Alflelaulela, nishikajikuwamsela A thousand and one nights, my friend, be msela mselanaondoka Aile mchuma umetoka, Quick, the car's taking off, msela, I'm leaving Tutaonana maskani mitaani,nyumbani We'll see each other on the streets, at home it's poor Hata ukinionausipatehoma If you see me, don't get a fever sana na magoma Nitakuchengua I'll entertain you with dance/music Mitikasi mjini ya City-plans Afadhalikuwamchizikulikokuwamwizi Better be smart than a thief Napiga zangu maji baadaya mitikasi I take a shower after work Mentionzangu sio kengena wala sina nenge My aim is not senseless nor do I have hunger Natafutamichuzi,shilingiya kujengamsingi I look for money, shillings, to build a foundation


Mambo siku hizi sio kwahilizi Things aren't easy these days Bali ni ujanjaukicheza, utalala na njaa But if you play the fool, you'll go to sleep hungry Alflelaulela, mselaana hela A thousand and one nights, this msela has got money Wense's msela has a positive outlook on life, and this is common among other rappers. Even ifmaishamagumu- "life is hard," an oft heard phrase - these rapping youth take a peaceful stance. D-Rob and B-Rockof Kwanza Unit called the Tanzanian rap style "peace." GWM'swell-known hit was "Cheza Mbali na Kasheshe" (Stay FarAway From Problems). If Remmy is recognized as the voice of the mnyonge, then II Proud represents that of the msela. Like Remmy, II Proud faces censorship. A [I've stood up]", "HaliHalisi [Real Situacouple of his raps ("Nimesimama tion]") are not being played by Radio One in Dar (but can be heard in Mwanza). II Proud tells stories about the life of the msela. In "Ni Wapi Tunakwenda?" (Where are we going?) he describes the life and hope of urban youth: many Shulenamaliza,sinapa kujishikiza I've finished school, I don't have a fixed place Nabakinajiuliza,nitafanyakazigani I'm left and ask myself, what work will I do kila Kwenye kampunikazi haipatikani There isn't any work in any company Heri kilimoingekuwani nafuu It would be better if farming was improved Lakinipembejeo inauzwaleo beijuu But farm inputs are being sold dearly today Ila watotowa wakuu Only the children of those at the top kazi kupitiawazazi Wanapata Get jobs that are better than those of their parents Hii siyosawa, kwaohiyoni sawa This isn't right, to them it's okay Na sasa naripoti,natafutapassport And now I report, I'm looking for a passport Nataka kusafirikikafiri I want to travel in a fantastic way24 nitafikahata SouthAfrica Popote I'll get anywhere, even South Africa nazidinyanyasika nimechoka, Nyumbani I'm tired of home, I'm always getting harassed Polisiwanisaka,naonekanakibaka The police are hunting me, I look dirty Sababusina kaziau sababu mavazi ya Because I don't have a job or because of my clothes II Proud's compositions frame these stories in the wider context of Tanzania. He raps about loving his country but does not shy away from criticiz-



ing it. Though there is no clear, sharp vision of what II Proud's imagined Tanzania looks like - he raps "najuanakotoka,nakokwenda sikujui wala sikutambui know where I come from, where I'm going I don't know nor [I realize]" - it certainly is not a place where education is aborted, where teachers don't get paid, where graduates can't find jobs, where sexual abuse, rape cases, and bribery are daily news, where young men want to escape to Europe and young women decide to be prostitutes.25Tanzania is, in II Proud's words, "jengolenye moyona kuliwa na wenyechoyo[a construction with a heart but eaten by self-seekers]."The heart in the construction goes back to popular values of fairness and justice, as well as to elements of Nyerere's utopian Ujamaa Nation. The self-seekers are the politicians and greedy entrepreneurs. II Proud has little faith in politics, "he mi which is "adirty game." In "Nimesimama, wonders, "vipi nirudikijijini/ na shangingi[why should I return wakatimbunge wanguyupomjini/anatanua to the village, while my member of parliament relaxes in town with a prostitute]?"A few politicians, however, receive praise. Edward Sokoine, the late Premier, is remembered as "righteous" and as "an opponent of corruption and misappropriations." Nyerere also gets respect for uniting Tanzania and for being "a powerful person whose statements are being heeded"; hence, II Proud's claim to be the "Nyerere of Rap."26 Kusemakweli: Speaking the Truth II Proud and his fellow rappers present a new generation of musicians who reinterpret the models of their predecessors. Graebner surveyed East African musicians and found that the educative role of music is considered highly important and, for many, it is "their main reason for becoming a musician" (1989:252). Young rappers, ragga and reggae musicians feel similarly about their work. In 1993, when Hamadi and I were comparing rap and poetry (the Swahili practice of shairiwhich has long been a valued, popular practice, especially on the coast),27Hamadi said that . . the importance of rapping, you find it is an arrangement of words which carry meaning, which explain a certain issue to peothat is put ple, that is to say, they have a certain message [ujumbe] out there in rap, and similarly in poetry, poetry has itself an arrangement ofwords which is put together in a craftymanner . . . But unlike poetry, with rap you get an instrumental accompaniment, ... you put out a message, thus with rap the message reaches a person even better, because there with music you entertain the If person [unamburudisha]. he wants, he moves nearer to the music which sounds good, then here he hears a certain message and, with that, you enter into his brains/intelligence [unamwingia kwenye akili]. Most Tanzanian rap and reggae compositions contain some kind of educational message (amidst bits of boasting, odes to love, and fantastic voyages). From Jontwa's recipe for vitamins, to NWP's calls to refrain from using drugs and to avoid unsafe sex, to II Proud's concerns with those at the top of society and those who stray from popular norms, these young


musicians address contemporary problems and point toward possible solutions. Graebner's analysis of Remmy's songs as "waysof discussing and resolving problems" also applies to the current musical wave (1989:252). Another habit the young generation shares with musicians like Remmy is a specific way of speaking the truth, or kusemakweli. 1993, people In frequently said that Remmy speaks the truth. He enhances awareness of the experience of the wanyonge,the urban poor. Young and old people recognize the situations that are recounted in his songs and generally agree with his comments, even if they do not always find his choice of words appropriate (like youth, Remmy uses mostly street Swahili in his as songs). I consider kusemakweli a kind ofparresia, a positive type of truthdiscourse that Foucaultanalyzed during his last seminars at Berkeley (1989). Parresia(derived from pan + rema:saying everything) can be translated as The person who practices free, frank speech, franc-parleror Freimiitigkeit. tells the truth to another participant-listener who is more powerparresia ful; it originates "from below" and is always aimed "upwards"(Foucault 1989:5). It is a critique of a stronger participant or a self-critique of the truth-speaker (who risks getting punished in the process). The parresiastes speaks freely and "does not hide anything, but opens himself up in his Foucault mentions that speaking with heart and soul to others" (ibid.:2).28 truth-speakers in the context of classical Greek society are philosophers who admonish tyrants, citizens who address public assemblies, or royal advisers who counsel rulers to prevent abuses of power, prophets, poets, or oracles. When I interviewed Remmy in 1993, he told me that his job was to put out a message for people, "because long ago, there were prophets but these days, there aren't any.We, musicians, are the prophets now."29 He acknowledged that telling the truth about social wrongs can hurt; it can lead to anger among the powerful or to self-criticismamong listeners. Young reggae and rap musicians are involved in this type of parresia. They argue that their compositions have to have a basis in everyday life, in the experience of their communities. In Tanzania (and also in the U.S.) you often hear rappers claiming to "represent"their peers. That "representation" is not always a perfect match with today's complex reality and multiple urban identities, but, overall, the young musicians speak for their communities, imagined or otherwise, and about their contemporary experiences. It is those everyday experiences that they reflect upon and address in their own street-style manner and language, whether they see good or bad things happening. Beyond the problems that affect the whole of society, they especially make the contradictory experience of the current generation of youth visible and audible. II Proud sums up this argument as follows: I sing about things that emerge every day, about how everyday life goes . . . even if you say that II Proud is no good nowadays, he's too explicit now but if you go inside and close your eyes, you yourself will agree "whatI heard from II Proud's music is true and it's happening every day." The directions and corrections young musicians offer are not alwaysclear or uniform; like their fellows, they are also working out how to apply



models like the struggling sailor, the well-dressed enterprising brotherman, the socially minded Rastafarian, and other evolving identities in their own lives. And, as they do so, they are at the same time shaping and rearranging those models. Sea Never Dry Ernest told me this phrase, "Sea Never Dry,"was written on the wall of a youth hang-out in Zanzibar: an apt metaphor for the ongoing, multilayered musical voyage of rap and reggae around the globe. What is currently going on in Tanzania is the result of youth taking up the "active participatory models" of hip hop and reggae, and creating musics that are "[conjuring]specific histories and bumping goulashes" (Cross 1993:58). What Tanzanian youth's appropriation of reggae and, more importantly, rap has produced so far is a voice for youth and young adults. Because of their age and their limited economic and social status (and despite their numerical size), they have no political voice. Rap, which is straightforward(mojakwa moja)and frank, provides them with a platform to speak (jukwaala kuongea),a method to deliver a message, and a medium to participate in the social debate about what being Tanzanian means and where Tanzania is heading. Young musicians bring their experiences to that platform; they are "putting out of their mouth what is in their hearts," to quote Saleh J. Partaking of the images, sounds, and words of U.S. rappers and Jamaican reggae artists has led to changes in awareness among urban youth. As a group, they are more present in the social landscape. But exposure to, and imitation of, alternative lifestyles creates varied potentialities. It opens up experience to both "the most radical form of misrecognition and the awakening of political consciousness" (Bourdieu 1977:170). On one hand, there is Joe's insistence on the right fashion for rappers and the dollar-value of sneakers; on the other, there is II Proud stating: "one day we'll file a queue up to the President's State House and we'll tell him about the real situation." In any case, what these examples show is that everyday life is not lived unquestioned, but rather it is being contested and undergoing constant construction and reconfiguration. New goulashes are being concocted, and new groups will emerge. Instead of rapping over and sampling American funk and soul beats, some of the rappers are beginning to draw on Tanzania's musical heritage. Kwanza Unit's latest hit, "Msafiri[Traveler]," uses a sample from King Kiki; II Proud is working on a new album and is sampling Mbaraka Mwinshehe, the late famed guitarist. That album will be called Nje YaBongo (Outside Dar). Using the opportunity of a stay in Europe, II Proud recorded part of the album in Amsterdam, where he has benefited from the assistance of Thomas Gesthuizen. II Proud also managed to perform at WOMEX in Sweden. It will be interesting to hear how these new, non-imagined transnational relationships and experiences reverberateon Tanzanian soil.


FOOTNOTES 1. The data in this article draw on material from interviews and cassette recordings collected during research visits in 1989 and 1991 and fieldwork in 1993. Fieldwork was funded through a grant from the Program for International Cooperation in Africa, Northwestern University.After 1993, I gathered information by way of cassette recordings, newspaper articles, and correspondence. I want to thank Thomas HomeofAfricanHip Hop (http:/ Gesthuizen, webmaster of Rumba-Kali, who shares my interest in African /, hip hop and is alwaysextremely helpful in keeping me up-to-date on the scene in Dar. Rap, Ragga and Reggaein Nairobi,Dar es Salaamand Lusaka,the website prepared by Krister Malm and Monika Sarstad, also offers valuable information and lively sounds ( I also want to thank the reviewers and Krister Malm for their comments. 2. "Youth" (vijana in Swahili) covers increasingly larger age-segments of the population as the current economic crisis makes it more difficult for youth to become socially accepted as adults, a position which includes marriage and establishing one's own home. Here, youth is considered to cover 15- to 29-year-olds, but note that these boundaries are highly flexible. 3. CCM: Chamacha Mapinduzi,the party of the Revolution. CCM (and its predecessor, the Tanganyika National Union) dominated Tanzanian politics from independence till the 1990s, when multiparty politics was introduced. kent 4. II Proud, quoted in Trouw article, "TanzaniaanseJeugd alleen rap" (March 1998). 5. Tanzania Sensa. 1988. Population Census: Preliminary Report. Dar es Salaam: Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning. 6. At times, Shabba'svideos would be shown on the television sets in the club. Most often, though, while the sound system played loudly, one or could watch (but not listen to) action movies like Rambo,Terminator, a Jean-Claude Van Damme feature. 7. It is also used to identify unmarried youth, who are still "roaming" before becoming full, married members of society. a 8. Vanilla Ice in turn recycled musical samples of UnderPressure, 1980s hit for the British band Queen and David Bowie. 9. KristerMalm noted that this tune was originally recorded by the O'Jays in 1973. 10. "EverydaySwahili"stands for the common, popular variety of Swahili heard on the streets, in markets, and in ordinary conversations, which youth label Kiswahilicha mitaani (Swahili of in-the-streets). was 11. Breakdance released in the U.S. in 1984. It focused on the dance styles in hip hop culture. 12. Interviews with youth like Jontwa, Daudi, Joe, Cool M, JJ, Hamadi, etc., were conducted and transcribed in Swahili. English translations are used throughout this article.



13. MC Solaar (Claude M'Barali), the French African rapper, got interested in rap in the 1980s, attending concerts in Parisorganized by the Zulu Nation. 14. Thomas Gesthuizen, personal communication. 15. In 1993, 10,000 passports were "reported missing at the Immigration Office" (Mhando 1995:19). 16. Thomas Gesthuizen reminded me that bolingo is also often used to refer to Congolese music (bolingomeans "love"in Lingala and is often the song topic). 17. Wa-is the plural prefix for animate beings.Jamaa means a number of persons gathered together, family, society. Feeley translatesjamaa (pl. wa-) as a chap or bloke, but in Ernest's phrase, this does not convey the full meaning; it leaves out an ujamaa-sensewhich is precisely what Ernest wants to retrieve. 18. For an excellent analysis of Remmy's work and thoughts on music, see Graebner 1989. 19. In Jamaica, Rastafarians follow certain food interdictions, like "salt fish" (cod) and foods that are associated with slavery (Chevannes 1994:205). 20. These descriptions of urban youth are taken from Ishumi (1984), pages 16, 25, 29, 65, and 103, respectively. 21. See Ranger's discussion of the influence of marine and navy structure and symbols in beni dance societies, in which some built large-scale model ships and paraded them through the streets of coastal cities in the early 20th century (Ranger 1975). Use of the term msela among urban youth goes back to at least the early 1980s (see Kerer 1988), but I suspect it was used even earlier. 22. The same would apply to U.S. rap. Gangsta rap only represents a small, though currently very lucrative and mediatized, variety in hip hop's total output. 23. Congo street, in the Kariakoo market of Dar, is one of the busiest places for street vendors. 24. Kafirirefers to an infidel or unbeliever and, following Feeley (1991:48), a fantastic player. 25. These issues are sampled from various raps of II Proud. 26. Telephone interview with II Proud, 10/26/98. 27. See Abdulaziz (1979) and Biersteker (1996). 28. Parresia,as it pertains to Remmy's music, is treated in greater detail in my Ph.D. dissertation (Remes 1998). 29. Regarding music'srole, Feld (1994:269) quotes Attali (1985:11): "Music is prophecy. Its styles and economic organizations are ahead of the rest of society because it explores, much faster than reality can, the entire range of possibilities in a given code." Also see and listen to the South African rap group, Prophets of Da City, and the multi-ethnic group Silent Majority from Switzerland: on their album, La Majorite Silencieuse(1994), the rap "FranklySpeaking" treats many of the issues in this article. In the chorus, "frankly speaking" is translated as kusemakweli.


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