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Il sottofondo musicale delle rivoluzioni 30.01.12

Il ruolo del rap come catalizzatore di malcontento nelle recenti ondate di rivoluzioni e rivolte nel mondo arabo e in Africa.

Why has rap - an American music that in its early global spread was associated with thuggery and violence - come to be so highly influential in these regions? After all, rappers are not the only musicians involved in politics. Late last week, protests erupted when Youssou N'Dour, a Senegalese singer of mbalax, a fusion of traditional music with Latin, pop and jazz, was barred by a constitutional court from pursuing a run for president. But mbalax singers are typically seen as older entertainers who often support the government in power. In contrast, rappers, according to the Senegalese rapper Keyti, "are closer to the streets and can bring into their music the general feeling of frustration among people."

Another reason is the oratorical style rap employs: rappers report in a direct manner that cuts through political subterfuge. Rapping can simulate a political speech or address, rhetorical conventions that are generally inaccessible to the marginal youth who form the base of this movement. And in places like Senegal, rap follows in the oral traditions of West African griots, who often used rhyming verse to evaluate their political leaders. "M.C.'s are the modern griot," Papa Moussa Lo, a k a Waterflow, told me in an interview a few weeks ago. "They are taking over the role of representing the people."