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Last Updated: Friday, 10 August 2007, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Freetown Rap
First broadcast August 2007

Rapper in front of Sierra Leone flag

During the ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone, much of the graffiti covering Freetown drew heavily on the language, culture and imagery of American rappers.

Many child soldiers were fixated on the US West Coast-East Coast rivalry, which centred on rap stars Tupac and The Notorious BIG.

Some of these children became very accomplished rappers themselves, and would rap on the frontline to get soldiers into a pre-killing frenzy.

Soundclash in Sierra Leone

The children who survived the war - now young men and women - are now very well-known rappers in Freetown, where they go under names like DJ Liversalts, Daddy G and Lady Flex.

But there is huge, simmering discontent amongst many youths in Sierra Leone. Most witnessed atrocities and lost family members during the war, as well as missing huge chunks of their schooling.

The rappers vent their anger over this situation in local soundclash festivals, where they out-rap each other and speak of peace and reconciliation.

This programme is a montage of the best known Freetown rappers performing and talking about their songs, background and dreams for their music.

Listen to Freetown Rap


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