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Rap has a global audience, whether you love it or hate it. While the genre is thought to have begun in New York City in the late 1970s, it quickly expanded not only to the West Coast but also to unexpected places. Furthermore, as rap music has risen in popularity around the world, many artists have started experimenting in the genre, rhyming in their native tongues. While artists from Europe, Latin America, and Asia are well-known around the world, the majority of African rappers are virtually unknown. Especially if they are from a place where neither French nor English are spoken as a first language. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that has never been conquered, and its culture is steeped in ancient traditions. Ethiopian rap is still in its infancy, with most rappers speaking Amharic, the country’s native language. Ethiopian musicians, on the other hand, are earning local and international acclaim thanks to the incredible support of the young diaspora. And, with the majority of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia residing in the United States (Washington, D.C. has the highest concentration of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia, while Los Angeles has its own Little Ethiopia off of Fairfax Blvd), the number of Ethiopian-American rappers continues to grow. Many people were surprised when Skat Nati released his new single “Sira” (roughly translated as “work”), which was accompanied by a video shot in an up-and-coming neighborhood in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. While Ethiopian rap was not new, we had never heard true Amharic trap music with nuanced, traditional melodies.

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