When I was young, we kids would
gather around our elders for stories; an uncle
or a cousin would narrate a folktale with us being
a very active audience. We sang along as they
improvised songs or interpreted popular hits.
The old lifestyle was all about community, sharing,
and respect. The city held prospects for a brighter
future, but life stemmed from the village.
Now people flee the villages for cities. At night,
they go to bars or clubs. Gatherings are less
spontaneous, more mediated by commerce, sex, and
ambition. The conversation has changed.
Our African identity is changing.
That is why I am making this documentary: to
explore our fast-changing sense of self. Today,
more than any of our politicians or intellectuals,
Cameroon’s musicians are tapping into the
rhythm of the city.
The best way to tell this tale is through the
lives of two of Cameroon’s most celebrated
rap artists: Koppo, the hottest-selling rapper
in our short hip-hop history and Lady B, the only
woman in an arena dominated by men.
I love the music of my country. My work as a
producer and cultural journalist has enabled me
to get to know every
Cameroonian musician of note, and
a whole lot more: aspiring, accomplished, local,
During the past 10 years especially, I’ve
witnessed a new phenomenon: the rise of the first
generation of truly urban Cameroonian musicians—they
create for the chaos of the city.
Chief among these are Koppo and Lady B. Their
audience—youth born and bred in the cities—identify
fiercely with them. Part of the attraction is
their lyrics. These two hip-hop icons still sing
about love and relationships, but they go deeper:
into immigration, unemployment, sexual abuse,
corruption and more. Themes that have emerged
Koppo and Lady B scrutinize the dislocation we
all feel and echo the dreams, fears, and struggles
of today’s urban youth.
Traditionally, our touchstone was our ancestors,
our communities—and our stories. Now, just
like us, our stories are urbanizing, quickly.
My hope is for Koppo and Lady B to chronicle
this pivotal transformation in my country.
My Africa, authentic, today..