Remain strong and feisty. The meaning of “Dale Fo Yi Kin Dao” hits you as soon as the cold but punchy beat starts. This song is the first release by Waga 3000. It’s not average hip hop from Burkina Faso, and it’s very obvious, very fast.
I say this, but I know close to nothing about hip hop in Burkina. I do know the underground scene is strong, and more generally hip hop is really taking roots among the youth. Sounds promising, but in practice most of what I’ve heard hasn’t really caught my attention. I’m biased though, much more interested in beats than lyrics, and I find that too often, the beats—and more importantly, the vibe—aren’t up to par. But “Dale Fo Yi Kin Dao”‘s tight production and wicked flows did catch my attention—I had to know how it came about.
Download: Waga 3000, “Dal Fo Yi Kin Dao”
To best understand, we have to rewind a bit. First in Burkina, where culture is traditionally carried on by the griots—singers, story tellers, poets, musicians—stories and songs to travel through time, to this day. It’s no coincidence that Art Melody, lead rapper for Waga 3000, is the son of a griot woman. He’s been singing since childhood, and found hip hop at a young age as well. Burkina is a landlocked country, one of the poorest in Africa, and like many, Art Melody tried to find his way to Europe to earn a better living and send money back home.
He never made it to Europe, and was arrested in Algeria. But he did travel through parts of West Africa where hip hop was already very lively: Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Mauritania. When he returned to Burkina, Melody incorporated the flows he’d heard, often inspired by US rappers such as Nas or Mobb Deep, with the griot singing he grew up with. He raps in Moré and dioula and calls it Warbarap.