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God Made Me A Rapper: Young Men, Islam, And Survival In An Age Of Austerity

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Chapter Summary

In Muslim majority Niger where demographic growth has translated into a large cohort of youth, unemployment among young men has skyrocketed. Excluded from the normative world of work and wages, male youth are confined to merely talking about the possibility of a future. Many of them have turned to hip-hop to find a means of expressing their concerns about the world in which they live. Niger in the last half century has seen tremendous changes in local patterns of religious practice. For those who converted to Islam soon after independence, there was no question about the definition of Islam and the authenticity of Muslim practice. This chapter explores how young men in Dogondoutchi draw from images of insecurity and ideologies of survival to engage in musical and stylistic experiments which their parents and grandparents perceive as un-Islamic, but which they see as ethical ways of addressing their current predicament.

Keywords: Dogondoutchi; hip-hop; Islam; Niger



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