Frida Amani: 'Madam President' of Bongo rap
Saturday April 02 2022
Women have often been underrated and overlooked in different aspects of life and female rappers have not been treated differently in the male-dominated music industry. This notwithstanding, women have succeeded in the world of hip-hop.
Tanzania rapper Frida Amani is one of them and now is inspiring young female rappers. The Rap queen was born and raised in Arusha, northern Tanzania, and takes pride in being acknowledged as a top musician.
“Many people told me I couldn’t make it because I’m a girl. But being a woman was an advantage and inspiring rather than an obstacle. My passion for music fired me up to face up whatever obstacle came my way,” she says.
The Madam President hit-marker is one of East Africa’s fast-rising women in hip hop with a few singles to her name.
Frida is no stranger to Bongo’s hip-hop. She came into the limelight in 2015, when she participated and came third at the Bongo Star Search competition.
She rapped the song Nusu Nusu by Joh Makini featuring G Nako. Her rap and dance routines distinguish her from the rest of the pack. Thereafter, she took a two-year break and ventured into broadcasting as a radio and TV presenter, but all the while, studying the music industry set-up and seeking to align herself with the best in the profession.
Frida started out at East African Radio’s Planet Bongo programme and is currently presenting Bongo Flava at Clouds Media in Dar es Salaam.
In June 2018, she made a comeback to the charts with Jibebe while still working as a radio presenter.
“I felt that I was ready… I had no pressure while releasing Jibebe,” she says.
Chorist to rapper
The certified artiste mostly composes music and raps on true-life stories from her life’s experiences. Her lyrics are simple yet captivating, and her delivery never disappoints.
Frida inspires and advocates for the rights of women and has brought about a revolution in the male-dominated rap industry in Tanzania.
Rap, she says is her passion, not something she does for money. “I always dreamt of being an artiste without a care about the genre of music,” she reflects.
Ironically, Frida started as a church choir singer. “My grandmother used to take me to church where I was an active choir member.”
She was introduced to rap by one of her biggest fans and producer, Justino who asked her to rap her song instead sing. “Growing up, I liked how rappers Lil Wayne, Albert Mangwea, Lauryn Hill and others presented themselves and wished to emulate them someday,” she adds.
She quit school to pursue her dream, but quickly confesses that it wasn’t easy were it not for her family’s support.
“After I finished high school my family wanted me to study finance but it was not what I wanted. Also, by that time, I had already recorded a few rap songs and had several drafts ready to dive headlong into the music industry,” says Frida.
Tanzania’s music industry is growing and Frida is growing with it, and offers tribute to the late Mangwea as the person that inspired her not to limit herself.
To date, she has recorded several collaboration songs with different artistes including Mimi Mars.