An aperitif with the rapper Ami Yerewolo: “My father wanted to see me play with dolls and tie my loincloth”

We thought we were entering the den of a rap lioness. The one who shows off her golden fangs in devastating clips never takes off her sunglasses, banter and intimidating poses. Ami Yerewolo, 29, the new darling of Malian hip-hop, offered to have a few drinks in his den, but it’s on Aminata Danioko that we fell. The woman behind the beast of the stage who fills the stands of the palace of culture in Bamako – the first rapper to achieve this feat -, matron of a new independent and feminist rap, even if she denies it. “Friend, he’s my double. She doesn’t care, breaks down barriers, says what she thinks, but I, an everyday woman, I’m afraid of offending people. “ Labile voice, cut in a velvet of shyness, far from its scenic roars. She uncaps a pineapple juice – ” You want some ? “.

The artist’s duplication syndrome, fairly classic if it did not proceed here from a reaction to a patriarchal environment and a traditional family, brakes on any creative impulse. “My father, his siblings, didn’t want me to do music. It is not in the culture of our ethnic group, she says. I had to conform, get married, have children. “ Unthinkable for those who preferred to frolic in the bush, play marbles and soccer with the boys. “I was anything but a normal young girl. More of a tomboy. It bothered my father a lot. He wanted to see me play with dolls and tie up my loincloth ”, she launches, sunk in the soft armchair of a recording studio in Bamako.

“You can do whatever you want to me, but in music, I’m free”

She learns the art of provocation at the same time as that of rap. Gamine, in the courtyard of her house, she makes children laugh by chanting mockery at scolding uncles, while playing on djembes of her own making. “I did not know rap, but these little texts, it was an instinctive way of denouncing injustices, of saying to my relatives: you can do to me what you want, but in music, I am free. “ It couldn’t go on. A turbulent and overly curious girl does not last long in village life. At 17, with a high school diploma in her pocket, she left her village of Mahina, in western Mali, for the capital.

Write to overcome boredom

The weight of the large African family removed, she plunges her head into the notebooks ” twenty four seven “. First failure in the numerus clausus of medicine despite good grades. “Work does not always ensure success. “ She begins to dig into finance in evening classes. During the free mornings, she writes out of boredom, approaches the microphones. One day, she is noticed by rappers. On stage, the knees tremble, but the vocation rises like a sap. “I did not understand why Malian rappers disappeared from the circuit after two years, without making an album… I quickly understood. “

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