One beat at a time
An aspiring rapper’s journey from uncertainty to hope
My name is Youssouf and I live for music. Rhythm and rhymes just pop into my mind, and it seems my ideas often present themselves as lyrics. I come from Ivory Coast and had little chances to actually study and work on my passion. Life has been… let’s put it this way… “complicated.”
I have had to cross deserts, countries and the sea to finally be free. I still need to work hard, to help my family back home, but I’m intending to work twice as hard and never give up on my passion for music, which I believe is the " bread and butter" for my soul.
I started playing music in high school when I was 16. My family members are total strangers to the artistic world and especially music, so until high school, I never really got exposed to that world. When I finally realized what it was, what it actually meant to me, I decided to try and follow my dreams - not giving up on those dreams. I know I need to work, I need to help my family, I know how hard it is to make it in the music industry, but music makes me feel like I have achieved something. I can’t really explain how I feel… I only can say that music is a big part of who I am and despite all difficulties, I’ll try my best to make things happen. If I can also use my music to spread the word about important issues, even better. Which is why I happily took part in the U-Report on the Move contest and blogging internship.
I wrote this song during my journey from Africa to Europe. The concept of knowing what I was leaving behind but had no idea of what would come next, has been clear to me since the very beginning of the trip.
This notion became even clearer in Libya. I was sick and imprisoned, just as hundreds of young people there were. I witnessed way too many things, more than I thought I could actually bear. I felt inspired to put into writing what I had in mind for a while - because really, I had no sense of where I was about to go.
These were the words coming to mind:
The world I want to see
("Il mondo che vorrei")
I know where I'm coming form,
But not where I’m going.
The rich are rich and the poor are poor.
Governments won’t help,
Everyone thinks of their own personal interest.
No one is helping anyone.
When I see people so poor they can’t afford to eat
I ask myself:
“Where are those who say they help the poor?”
This is just wrong.
Where there’s no justice, there’s no peace.
I left my country, my home, the people I love and care about.
I looked for a new place
Where I can be free, free to love.
I’ve known hunger, torture and prison.
Now I’ve got scars that may never go away.
I got onto a boat
And crossed the sea,
Never giving up on love, on my willingness to love.
I reached the shore.
Everything seemed even more uncertain.
But I knew I made it to a more open-minded world.
It was like being born a second time,
Even though I felt so afraid.
I know where I’m coming from,
but not where I’m going.
I choose music, as this is what I know.
I had to cross the sea. That’s all I knew and it was clear in my mind that I had to leave Libya. I got to Italy and wrote these words all in Italian to express also this feeling to the new community I was now living in.
About the author
Youssouf Konate, 19 years old, is originally from Ivory Coast, but currently lives Italy. Youssouf is combining song writing with studying Italian. He dreams of becoming a professional rapper and has released several songs on his Youtube channel under the name MC-Yool-B.