Hip-hop artists with geopolitical beats
In our ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, GZERO is highlighting artists from around the world who show the geopolitical impact of the genre. To hear 50 artists from 50 countries around the world, check out our playlist here.
Medusa TN is a 31-year-old Tunisian rapper and a prolific example of the explosion of creative expression that followed Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, an uprising that inspired the Arab Spring, a wave of pro-democracy protests across the Middle East and North Africa. Medusa came of age during the revolution, and now her music pushes back against her country’s new leader, Kais Saied, and his slide back towards autocracy.
She is one of few Tunisian hip-hop artists to have an international audience, helped by her songs alternating between Arabic, French, and English, sometimes even in the same verse.
Against the backdrop of Saied’s policies undermining the rights of Tunisian women, and much of Tunisia's popular hip-hop degrading women, Medusa has risen to the top with songs about abortion, sexual harassment, and feminism (give “Consent” and “Size Me” a listen).
Her work doesn’t shy away from calling out Saied for his racist rhetoric against migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, and she told Vice News that her work is intentionally political, noting that “if you’re criticizing the people in power, you’re doing political rap.”