INTERVIEW – GOTAL ( Lady Zee ): « Consider us as human beings above all else »

When and how did you discover hip hop?

I discovered real hip hop in June 2011, thanks to a friend and brother Cheikh Diop aka Kaze Blue, who was a rapper and my manager, and introduced me to this world. Otherwise, I’ve always loved music since I was a child.

How and why did you found the GOTAL collective in 2009?

The GOTAL collective was founded in 2009 by one of the members Anta Ba, who wanted to gather hip hop female artists in order to work in team and possibly release some products on the market. I joined the collective in 2013, at the same time as Venus, during a training with Beat Making Lab (a North Carolina label) in collaboration with Speak Up Africa, the label Bois Sakre (training in beatmaking) and DJ Zeyna, who joined the collective in 2015.

GOTAL is made up of Venus, Toussa, Lady Zee, Anta Ba et DJ Zeyna. How are you perceived as women on the Senegalese hip hop scene?

The GOTAL collective is now made up of Vénus, Anta Ba, Lady Zee and DJ ZeynaToussa is no longer part of it, she chose to focus on her solo career. I think we are well-perceived, because we are often invited at concerts, radio and TV shows, contests, featurings… It’s true that it’s not easy to impose ourselves, but I believe we worked on it, deserve this place and begin to earn it in the field.

You covered Queen Latifha’s famous “U.N.I.T.Y”. What does this track represent to you?

We covered Queen Latifah’s song because it was a way to convey a striking message, and denounce men who think we make it in this world by sleeping our way up the ladder or give ourselves up to sick practices to reach the top. To those who also think women don’t have a place on the music scene. Let’s not forget that music is international and is for everyone to have. So let’s be united for a one and only cause.

You’re also active on the social field. What type of projects do you launch and how important is it to you?

Actually, we worked on several social actions to help put winning strategies in place that could encourage the population, and especially young people, to have a more positive vision of our goals and behaviors. Like the “remise de dons”, on March, 8, 2015 for women’s day at the Liberté 6 criminal camp in collaboration with Dakar label DD RECORDZ . On October, 7, 2015, for the event “Octobre rose”, through our managers Ina Makosi and Wasso Tounkara, we offered, with Marie Stopes International, a free consultation day on breast and cervical cancers. We also fight against the defects of African society, with the single “Nuul Kukk” (black skin), that denounces skin whitening and many more.

Who are your female role models?

Our female role models are firstly our mothers, who fortunately gave us an education that makes us references in the world we evolve in. Apart from them, and personally,Coumba Gawlo, for her greatness, combativeness, the respect she advocates everywhere she goes and her relentless work, Fatim of BMG44, and there are other examples like Queen Latifah in the West.

Do you consider yourselves feminists? Why?

We consider ourselves feminists quite understandably because we are women lol. There is only one way to prove it. Let’s just do things equitably, so that everybody can get their bearings. Consider us as human beings above all else.

What are you listening to these days? 

I’m currently listening to Matador « Sénégal« , from the album Reewgaal Nation, otherwise we listen to all kinds of music as we have an international style.

What are your upcoming projects?

To have videos broadcast pretty much everywhere, release a product on the market (a mixtape, an EP…), we’re working on it, tour on the national and international scene, keep working on social projects and speak a truthful language to the population through our lyrics.

What do you think of Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved? 

We can only thank Madame Rap for the initiative, that helps maximize the presence and visibility of women in the hip hop world. We are delighted to see you’re interested in us and also to be part of the sections on your website. One love.

Find GOTAL on FacebookSoundcloud, and Twitter.

Éloïse Bouton

Lire l’interview en français ici.

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