Da-What.com Interview with Malagasy Rapper Raboussa

Posted on November 9, 2011 by


Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything up here in a while. That is because I am currently in Madagascar through the beginning of December and our new guy, Will, has been handling the day to day stuff for us.  Right now, I have started a project on the music of Madagascar and the role it plays on Malagasy society and it has led me to some interesting interviews.  One of which is with the front man for the Madagascar rap trio Raboussa.  I got a chance to talk about all kinds of details about the music industry but for the site, I am posting the excerpt about the artist and rap music here.  Please note as well that this interview was done in French and has since been translated so that the majority of our readers can understand.  Hit the jump to see what Boussa had to say and watch a few of their videos!

First, can you please introduce yourself and the group?

My name is Boussa, one third of the group Raboussa with another man and woman.  I do a majority of the writing.  We have been together 12 years and released four albums in that time: 2003, 2006, 2008 & 2010.

And when did you begin making music?

I started in about 1996.

Who are your main influences?

I love West Coast hip hop from the USA.  The late great Tupac Shakur, N.W.A, Ice Cube Dr. Dre etc. Also, Bone Thugs N Harmony.

What are the main themes of your music?

Socio-political issues mostly.  Our songs are about our experiences and the realities of living in Madagascar.  We try to represent views from the worst neighborhoods here in Tana like Anosy Be and others.

Speaking multiple languages, which ones do you make music in?

Strictly in Malagasy. Our music is about Madagascar so we make it in Malagasy.

And what separates Malagasy hip hop from other country’s?

It is incomparable.  We are only talking about what happens here in Madagascar and that isn’t happening anywhere else, so you can’t even compare it.

Is there a hip hop culture that exists in Madagascar?

Not really, it is more just another type of music.  There are dances but most of the other things within the culture like clothes or jewelry cost money and that gets lost in such a poor country as Madagascar.

You are on your own record label, “Ekipaz Records”.  Can you tell me about that? When did it start? Why? How?

We were on Be Mozik for a while and after the 3rd album, our contract ended.  So about 2 years ago, we decided to go independent as a group.  I am still working on a project for Be Mozik called “Mandam” that is a slam poetry project. There is only one music distributor in Madagascar and they sell our cds but we are also trying to get music online for the Malagasy that live in other countries like France and the USA.

And what does “Ekipaz” mean?


What has changed about the music industry since you have started?

Pirating music is so easy in this country now.  All you need to know is the name of the song and there are booths on the street that will download it for you.  A kid can hear a song on the radio and go get it for a small price almost instantly.

In America, piracy is an issue too, artists have taken to concerts and merchandise for the majority of their income.  How do Malagasy artists make their living?

Same, going on tour and concerts.  Cds have essentially become a tool of promotion.

Hip hop music has roots in traditional African story telling, oral histories and tales.  Now, rap is returning to Africa and Africans have began making hip hop music.  What do you think of this cycle?

It’s great! It shows they haven’t forgotten where they come from.  One could even say, “back to their roots” and I am all for it.

Thank you for your time Boussa!

Thank you.

So there you have it.  This is one of the first online English press articles I could find about Madagascar hip hop!