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This Week in Beat Making: An All Female Hip-Hop Crew From Dakar This Week in Beat Making: An All Female Hip-Hop Crew From Dakar

This Week in Beat Making: An All Female Hip-Hop Crew From Dakar

by Pierce Freelon

May 24, 2013

I fell in love with Lauryn Hill from the moment I first heard her voice on the The Fugees classic 1996 album, The Score. Her incredible singing was surpassed only by her bold and brilliant lyricism. Hill was a pioneer during a time when there were a diverse array of powerful women rappers in the media. Unfortunately, that time is long-gone.

Talented women rappers are still in abundance if you know where to look. Emcees such as Eternia, Rapsody, Jean Grae and Janelle Monae carry the torch for lovers of hip hop—like Harriet Tubman—in the underground. Meanwhile many popular media outlets choose to ignore their genius.


Recently, I have found myself in a unique position as a creator of content for a significant media outlet at PBS. I have the freedom collaborate on music, beats, and stories of my choosing, and I would like to hear more women's voices in hip hop. So in March, I traveled to Dakar, Senegal to build a studio with an amazing group of women called GOTAL.

GOTAL is a collective of Senegalese rappers, producers, singers and beat makers; who paired with a woman-led NGO called Speak Up Africa to write songs about global health issues in their communities. They made some incredible music, which I've been secretly banging in my iPod for two months. I'm proud to help unveil their work today. Stick around if you want to hear what Lauryn Hill would sound like if she spoke Wolof.

Beat Making Lab builds studios in cultural centers around the world and trains youth musicians in the art of beat making. This post is part of a This Week in Beat Making, a weekly series on GOOD—follow our adventures with new episodes here every Wednesday.

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