I translated three Swahili hip-hop songs by my frequent collaborator Sloter and his legendary duo LWP Majitu, and they are up today on the “Translation Tuesdays” feature of Asymptote‘s blog.
No matter what language you’re speaking, hip-hop has been a vehicle for some of the best verse of the last few decades, and Tanzania is no exception. Though I’ve spent much of the last year focused on the classical 19th century poetry of Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy, I am continually struck by the myriad ways in which LWP echoes his humorous and satirical portraits of daily life, whether it’s 19th century Mombasa or modern day Dar es Salaam.
Several of my translations of Muyaka have also appeared recently – and several more are forthcoming. You can simply click the “Swahili Translation” tab above to continue perusing.