A look at two young women in the hip hop world, living and creating in Tunisia – El Alouadi, who goes by the stage name Medusa, and Nour Ben Soltan of BGirl Crazy Flava.
El Alouadi is a 25-year-old dancer-turned-rapper who has collaborated with the acclaimed international artist Olof Dreijer of Swedish electronic duo, The Knife, and has also been on the lineup for numerous music festivals. At ten, El Alouadi and her friends started breakdancing, rehearsing at the local mosque. “My brother was a breakdancer and rapper and my uncle is a rapper. When I saw my brother breakdancing, I wanted to do it as well.”
Family was very important to El Alouadi’s development as a young woman and as an artist. She recalls first working with Zomra –- a local collective of respected rappers and engineers — and how the older artists would refrain from swearing, out of respect for her family members “who still watch every single one of my videos…. My family is the strong point in my career.”
Nour Ben Soltan (BGirl Crazy Flava) first began dancing in the youth community centers of Hay Hlel, said to be “ one of the most marginalized neighborhoods” in the Southern suburbs of Tunis. And now, at just 17, she has participated in a number of big musical festivals including War Zone, Tunisia’s first collective hip hop event, and the Beat the Beat Festival where she placed first in her category (B-girl).
Ben Soltan has advice for young girls dreaming of pursuing a musical career in hip hop: “Make your parents happy by continuing your studies and at the same time, do what you are passionate about.”