Skip to main content

Who Is Listening? Hip-Hop in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal

  • Chapter


The accumulation of so-called youth bulges1 in many parts of the Third World is often accompanied by dramatic increases in youth unemployment (ILO 2003). The societies affected face vast social changes, with the majority of young people now marginalized within their own society and excluded from political processes. For many teenagers, hip-hop becomes the only channel through which to articulate their interests and passions. The ongoing global dissemination of hip-hop as a form of youth affiliation, and the pervasive growth in unemployment among young people, form the focus of this chapter. Based on the assumption that these two developments are linked, the chapter looks at hip-hop as a means of expression for young people that reveals much about their inner state, their thoughts, and feelings. I examine the global journey of hip-hop as a rapidly growing youth culture. I shall make a brief reflection on the influence of American hip-hop on young people in Sierra Leone, then take a closer look at a photograph of Black Diamond, a young female combatant dressed in hip-hop fashion in Liberia, and finally go on to explore the politics of the hip-hop scene in Senegal.

Forget “colonization.” We’re pushing “coolinization,” knowhatimsayin?

Positive Black Soul, cited in Scott 1999

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2005 M. I. Franklin

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Lock, K. (2005). Who Is Listening? Hip-Hop in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal. In: Franklin, M.I. (eds) Resounding International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Download citation