Contestants in the Dakar Hip Hop Akademy’s annual “Flow Up” rap competition faced a new and fierce competitor this year: a woman. Twenty-two year old Toussa Senerap – who released her first single in 2006 – won a spot as one of the contest’s finalists. While Senegal’s rap musicians are predominately male, Toussa has performed in national competitions, toured Senegal and the eastern United States, and founded an all-female hip hop collective. “The women don’t stay long in hip hop,” pointed out Moustapha Sall, head of the academy, explaining that women leave because of family pressure or the association with hip hop and violence, sex and drugs. Toussa has plans to change that, having just opened her own recording studio, RockTeam Musik, run by women, for women. Her studio will also hold workshops about the role of women in society and hip hop. “Life as a woman in the hip hop world is not very easy,” she said. “We will work on that.”
Senegal’s rap scene is predominately male. Toussa Senerap has plans to change that.