Planet Hip Hop Festival Concert

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:00pm
Fayerweather Beckham Hall

$18 general public; $15 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, non-Wesleyan students; $6 Wesleyan students

Click here to view photos from this event.

Pamela Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts, discusses the Planet Hip Hop Festival on the Center for the Arts blog here. 

Curated by Nomadic Wax.

The Planet Hip Hop Festival features international Muslim women in hip hop and includes afternoon workshops and evening performances by the U.S. debut of Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci as a solo artist, the New England debut of Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh as a solo artist, and Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood of Queens, New York. Using hip hop as a platform to explore issues of social importance—faith, peace, unity, social justice—educate individuals, and inspire change, the evening concert will be hosted by Mr. Lif, and will also feature the Nomadic Wax Collective, a live backing band that will include bass, drums, keys, guitar, and a DJ.

As a teenager, singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci moved with her family from her native war-torn Algeria to Canada. She joined the multi-cultural Montreal hip hop group Nomadic Massive in 2005, opening for Mos Def, Wyclef Jean, Public Enemy, and Busta Rhymes, and appearing with the group at Trinity College's International Hip Hop Festival in 2010. This performance at Wesleyan will be Ms. Saci's United States debut as a solo artist.

Maimouna Youssef - "We're Already Royal" - (dir. Brian "B.Kyle" Atkins) from Maimouna Youssef on Vimeo.

Singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh was featured on the track Don't Feel Right on the album Game Theory (2006) by The Roots, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album.” She also appeared with the group in Dave Chappelle’s hip hop documentary Block Party (2005). Ms. Youssef ‘s first full-length solo album The Blooming (2011) was included The Washington Post’s list of best D.C. music of that year, saying “This R&B/soul/hip-hop dynamo delivers a vibrant collection of songs…every track is an impressive showcase of the up-and-coming performer.” Her single I Got A Man, produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff, has been featured on VH1 and BET. Ms. Youssef has toured as a supporting vocalist for The Roots as well as Lalah Hathaway, Zap Mama, and Common, and has performed with Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Nas, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, among others. Ms. Youssef's parents joined the First Resurrection in the 1970's after the honorable Elijah Muhammad put out a nation wide call to wake up the black man, woman, and child. Growing up in a predominately Muslim and socially conscious family, she developed a strong sense of justice and social responsibility as a youth. Being a Muslim woman of color, she was no stranger to discrimination or injustice. Freedom, justice, truth, and women's empowerment would later become the cornerstone and driving force behind her music. This performance at Wesleyan will be Ms. Youssef's New England debut as a solo artist.  

A native of Queens, New York, Tavasha Shannon a.k.a. Miss Undastood is an educator, public speaker, spoken word, and hip hop artist. Miss Undastood started writing rhymes at the age of eleven while attending the Al-Iman School. What started as a hobby later blossomed into a career, rhyming in ciphers in the streets and at various nightclubs. Her first album Dunya or Deen was recorded in 2002. Miss Undastood continued to pursue her love for hip hop while attending Borough of Manhattan Community College, becoming the first female battle champion in 2003. Miss Undastood toured in London and Manchester with Poetic Pilgrimage, Mecca2Medina, The Blind Alphabetz, The Planets, Pearls of Islam, and Hasaan Salaam in 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Miss Undastood performed on the "Don't Believe the Hype Tour" with Mecca2Medina and Muslim Belal in London, Sweden, France, and Ireland. Miss Undastood has also performed with respected underground Brooklyn artists "Papoose" and "Math."

Born and raised in Boston, Mr. Lif  quickly established himself as one of the most ambitious and forward-thinking MCs in the game. As the first artist to sign to Definitive Jux Recordings, a movement in both independent rap and independent music culture, Mr. Lif cemented his status with a string of critically acclaimed releases, both solo albums and with the Perceptionists' Black Dialogue project. A nine-time Boston Music Award winner, Mr. Lif has been featured on MTV, Rolling Stone, SPIN, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, and XXL, among others. In 2011, Mr. Lif joined the world music group Thievery Corporation as a vocalist and member of the band's live performance troupe. His song Culture of Fear became the title track of their sixth studio album. Mr. Lif has toured over 20 countries as a soloist, and has collaborated with a slate of critically acclaimed musicians including Aesop Rock, Cut Chemist, The Polish Ambassador, Galactic, Chali 2na, Jedi Mind Tricks, El-P, DJ Q-Bert, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Murs, and DJ Krush.

Nomadic Wax
is a U.S.-based social enterprise that produces music, film and educational events aimed at creating cross-cultural exchange and increasing awareness of global issues. Nomadic Wax links diverse communities and encourages social and cultural dialogues through art. Founded in 2001 as a fair trade record label and production company of African hip hop and urban music, Nomadic Wax has grown into an internationally recognized brand firmly rooted at the intersection of urban media and social change.

This event is part of Muslim Women’s Voices at Wesleyan.