A leading figure of the Tanzanian hip hop scene, Rosa Ree also has a strong fan base in Kenya, where she partially grew up. Last November, this women’s rights advocate was banned from “taking part in any music-related activities” for six months over a song video with her Kenyan fellow singer Timmy Tdat. Now free to keep doing her music (an edited version of her video was re-uploaded to YouTube), the artist told us about censorship, feminism and her upcoming projects.
How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?
I’ve always loved hip hop and music generally since I was a kid. But I began doing music professionally in 2015. My very first hip hop track came out in October 2015 titled One Time.
How and when did you start rapping?
I started rapping when I was around age 6. Back in the day I would listen to P. Diddy, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Lil’ Wayne and other artists and I’d rap along to their music. I really loved what they did.
What do you like to write about?
I mostly write about my life and the experiences I face. Also I write about how I feel. Music is my go-to place when I want to express my feelings and emotions without being judged or misunderstood.
Tanzania has just banned you from any music-related activity for six months after a music video you did with Timmy Tdat. What do you feel about this decision ?
Well as we speak I’m grateful the ban was lifted and I’m free to keep doing my music. But I also don’t believe anyone should be restricted from doing what they love and depend of for daily bread as long as they are not breaking the law.
What is the female rap scene like in Tanzania?
It is very raw and young but we are doing all that we can to hold the fort. In Tanzania, hip hop is believed to be a hardcore game hence people assume only men can do it. But there are lots of women who are capable of doing hip hop and are so very talented. So it is our goal as women in hip hop to change that stereotype.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
YES! I advocate for the rights of women most definitely! I love seeing a fellow woman win. I believe in our world today women have to work twice as hard as anybody to make it and many have proven that they are able to multitask and still win.
It fills my heart with joy seeing women being given the same opportunity as men and doing big things in society regardless of how much they have to work to prove themselves.
Who are your female role models?
I get inspired by many people some inspire me even just the first time I meet them but I try my best to derive my inspiration from life and the experiences I go through.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have so much planned this year, I’ve got an album coming up, also I’m working on lots of both international and local collaborations just stay tuned to see the movement.
What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
Mostly I’d say it’s a great platform and it’s spreading the hip hop gospel majorly and I’m humbled glad to have been featured on this article.