If Ethiopia had a “rap star,” then it would be Lij Michael. The young rapper, previously known as Faf, is what many would describe as the most popular Ethiopian rapper to date. Lij Michael, real name Michael Taye, first hit the scene in 2007 with his debut single “Arada L’arada,” which quickly garnered over 300,000 YouTube views in its first few months.
Other catchy rap tunes soon followed, and Lij Michael soon became popular both in Ethiopia and abroad. Fusing Ethiopian sounds with hip-hop, Lij soon became the main reference for the latest generation of local musicians. What’s more, Lij is also known as being one of the originators of the Ethiopian rap movement, helping put the genre onto the country’s music scene.
Admittedly, the country’s music scene has been predominantly traditional with pop and reggae artists on the big stage, for the most part. Not anymore — Lij Michael and others have been able to break through and show the older generation they mean business.