The Hip-Hop movement in Chad, now popular among youngsters, began with a generation of artists in the 80s who went on to revolutionize Chadian music.
Hip-Hop music invaded the streets of N'Djamena around the end of the 80s. It gained popularity in the same period that ragga music, a sub-genre of reggae, became prominent in the country. Often imitating American stars such as Vanilla Ice, Mc Hummer and Shabba Ranks, young artists danced during small neighbourhood parties held mostly in the south of the capital city of Chad.
New groups such as Komplyss—with the late Mc Satan, Jean Marie, Dread Slash, Aîmé Palyo, Emmanuel My Jack—and Les Banlyeuzars emerged in the beginning of the 90s. And they were the first to showcase hip-hop music to the general public.
Other groups, inspired by the rappers MC Solaar and Boss Mc (who now lives in Belgium), later emerged. Among these was P. Phou, with Daïgou Tchadna, known as Daïsson, being the leading figure of R&B in Chad. Guy Djikoloum alias Sultan and Excellence J Lover of Ndolassem Hilaire later created the Kamikazz group with Daïsson.
Kamikazz was one of the first Chadian hip-hop acts to take part in international festivals such as the Marché des Arts et du Spectacle Africain (MASA) in Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire in 1997. Daïsson and Hilaire, the two voice leads, settled in Senegal, where they created the group Yalad after the release of their first album Laatfakat.
Komplyss and Banlyeuzars, with the support of the former CCF (the current French Institute of Chad), had the opportunity to perform every two months at the “Tapage Nocturne”. This initiative was perceived as "favouritism" because it showcased groups selected by the CCF (Tibesti, Komplyss, Banlyeuzars and 7e Temps).
Feeling marginalized, Célestin Mawndoé, Love Nixon (presenter and cultural journalist ), Takilal Ndolassem and Daïsson Daïgou Tchadna formed the association "Génération 3R" (Rap-Raga-reggae). And they recieved support from Mr. Seid Farah, former Chadian minister of culture.
The second generation
Other hip hop collectives such as T4J (Turbo for John) of the rapper Turbo known as Imaam T later joined the influential association "Génération 3R".
This marked the beginning of a new musical genre with its own language called the "verlan" (French slang) and other expressions that they mastered. For these artists, it was necessary to meet the challenge and prove to the protégés of the CCF that they could succeed on the Chadian scene without the support of any institution.
Members of the "Génération 3R" operated in clans like their colleagues across the Atlantic. And some of their meetings sometimes resulted in fights. Nevertheless, all Chadian hip-hop artists fought for the recognition of this music imported from the States and initiatives bloomed everywhere to support the genre despite the lack of technical and financial means.
Festivals like N'Djam vi and N'Djam Hip-Hop are among the events that contributed to the reemergence of hip-hop music in Chad. Created in 2007 and organized by the Réseau Culturel et Artistique pour la Formation et la Francophonie (Récaf), the N'DjamVi festival is now one of the largest cultural events in the country. It supports young talents and gives them the opportunity to make themselves known to the general public. N'Djam VI is also a meeting and exchange platform. In 2010, the festival expanded its programming in valuing African modern music by inviting Pacificator, a group from Gabon, and Duke-Z from Cameroon.
N'Djam Hip-Hop is a rendez-vous of urban culture that is held in N'Djamena. The festival launched in 2005, and is organized by the Récaf in collaboration with the French Institute in Kinshasa and other local institutions such as La Maison de la Culture Baba Moustapha. Several activities are organised during the event, including concerts and competitions. N'Djam Hip-Hop also allows Chadian artists to participate in other festivals in the sub-region such as the Gabao Hip-Hop in Gabon.
To date, hip-hop in Chad continues to thrive due to the efforts of individuals such as Nguinambaye Manassé (initiator and director of N'Djam Hip-Hop and Ndjam VI), Armel Ramadji, Memhic's, and Fabrizio Colombo.