Granada Introducing: Manchester rapper and poet hoping to shatter misconceptions about being African

  • ITV Granda Reports correspondent Elaine Willcox chatted to Meduulla at Manchester's Hip Hop Chip Shop

Meduulla is part of an illustrious list of singers - Madonna, Rhianna, Eminem and Drake known by just one name but she is hoping to break into the even a smaller group of high profile female hip hop artists.

The 24-year-old is a poet and rapper from Manchester, whose family moved from Zimbabwe when she was just three-years-old.

Her work reflects her experiences growing up in contrasting cultures as a first-generation migrant, often using music as a vehicle for social and political discourse.

She remembers it being tough growing up as the only black family on their estate, with the only other black families they met her relatives.

But her older siblings and cousins created a strong bond and helped her navigate her dual upbringing where home was Manchester, but inside her house it was Zimbabwe.

Meduulla says her name Maruvaashe gives her 'power' and her rap name connects with people too Credit: ITV Granada

That experience is reflected in her lyrics to Limbo, talking about "living two lives" and being "in love with two lands from across the sea".

It was her mother, who is from Zambia, who gave her the idea for her rap name.

"When I was doing something stupid, she'd be like, Oh, use your medulla oblongata," she said.

"That's like a control centre in your brain."

The rapper chose that as her rap name because she wanted to "connect with people with my lyrics".

Meduulla says her voice has become her "instrument" and she uses it to shatter some misconceptions about what it is like to be African.

Meduulla was born in Zimbabwe but moved to Manchester when she was three-years-old. Credit: Meduulla

The singer who studied French and Film Studies at University in London has yet to visit her father's homeland but hopes to perform in Zimbabwe.

She often sings in Shona and thinks her music will resonate there, where there is a vibrant hip hop scene and "people have a real thirst for art and culture".

The name her parents gave her, Maruvaashe means 'Flowers of God' in Shona.

But in school she was shy about her name, and now takes 'power' from it and embraces her beauty and hair as a 'protest'.

"The younger me would be so happy that the older me is performing on stage," she said.

"It was really difficult growing up as outsiders, but that has made me the person I am today."

Meduulla fronted a campaign linked to her music for the beauty brand Elf Credit: ITV Granada

She was chosen to front a beauty campaign for Elf and three murals, with links to her music, were created in Manchester, London and Birmingham.

When asked what those people who did not welcome her family at first would make of her face celebrated like this?, she responds:"I just feel like people do what they can with the knowledge they have.

"I don't hold it against them, they were kids, and where did they get that from. It's the system that needs to change.

"But I hope they saw it."

Meduulla loves to put fun and comedy in music, like her rap heroes Nicki Minaj and Little Simz.

Her debut EP Oblongata was supported by the Youth Music NextGen Fund to support musicians breaking into the industry.

With her 'Mish Muulla' track she wanted to create 'a jazz inspired vibe' and she doesn't shy away from tackling serious issues with comedy.

The video for Mish Muulla has a 1920's theme and she said 'even though it's rare to see rap set in that era', that was 'intentional' to show the music she was making 'is classic'.

She believes at the moment in the world of rap you have to be either hyper-sexual or be like the guys, but she wants to create a unique middle ground.

One of her favourite venues is the Hip Hop Chip Shop in Manchester and she hopes soon to have her name on their rap hall of fame.

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