We jump into the thriving alternative music scene in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar and profile some young rappers.
Elders in Mongolia encourage the country’s rappers to respect their ancient culture, threatened by globalisation. Here we profile some of the country’s rappers.
Since the early days of Mongolian hip hop, 25-year-old Gennie had dreamed of being the country’s first female rapper. And 15 years on, that dream is on the verge of coming true when she teams up with hip hop godfather, Enkhtaivan, who believes in her skills. With her young family, she has struggled to record her debut album. But with her energy and passion, Gennie soon went beyond the studio, and to France where she performed with local rappers to an embracing audience.
Growing up in the turmoil of Mongolia’s new democracy, Enkhtaivan discovered hip hop as his country opened up to Western culture. He soon founded War and Peace, Mongolia’s first hip hop group. Their message was strong, but their popularity was limited. And even though they soon disbanded, they are still considered to have created some of Mongolia’s truest hip hop. After a long hiatus, Enkhtaivan is now returning to the scene and wants to help Gennie «make it» in the local hip hop scene. Editor’s note: After Mongolian Bling first aired on Al Jazeera in 2012, Enkhtaivan died from a heart attack in December of that year; he had just turned 36.
Thirty-one-year-old Quiza is from downtown Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, and stands out in the country’s hip hop scene as a politically conscious rapper. And with his lyrics about equality, he has a huge fan base. However, some people and a lot of other rappers dislike his habit of bragging in his music. He is keen to incorporate traditional music into his rap and create a sound that really reflects his country. Quiza also dreams of putting on Mongolia’s first real live concert.
Gee is over Mongolia’s hip hop scene. He feels that everyone is going commercial and real hip hop is no longer being made. Based in the slums that surround the Mongolian capital, he and his mates are determined to keep hip hop «real». So he uses music to get his messages out. And he hopes it will help awaken the conscience of the next generation and help them appreciate the country’s proud history.
In a rapidly developing Mongolia, 56-year-old Bayarmagnai, is one of the country’s last legendary singers. He struggles to keep the art form he loves alive. However, he supports the new musicians and the young rappers who aspire to make it in the West. Bayarmagnai encourages them to stop looking to the West. He wants them to draw inspiration from the country’s rich musical history — which he believes holds the key to Mongolia’s success on the international hip hop stage.
Source: Al Jazeera