Waayaha Cusub is a Somali hip-hop collective founded in Kenya in 2002 and led by lyricist and rapper Shiine Abdullahi Ali. With a message that challenges militants and extremist politics, Waayaha Cusub is recognized for its artistry as well as its activism.
In 2013, Waayaha Cusub established and headlined the “Somali Sunrise Tour for Peace,” a series of concerts in East Africa that culminated in the first music festival in Somalia since the start of the civil war in the early 1990s. The Festival included six concerts and reached over 2,000 people, including a group of 850 former al-Shabab youth at a rehabilitation center.
As leaders who speak out against war, violence, and oppressive leadership, the artists in Waayaha Cusub have endured death threats and violent attacks. Regardless, the band has pressed on, receiving positive media coverage from CNN, Rolling Stone, Vice, The L.A.Times, BBC, and others. The group was recently granted asylum in the Netherlands where they are completing their newest album, Nabad Waa Muhim (“Peace is Vital”).
During their month-long Midnimo residency in Minneapolis, Mankato and St. Cloud, Waayaha Cusub collaborated with deVon Russell Gray, (Heiruspecs, Chastity Brown), Joey Van Phillips (Dessa, Aby Wolf), Jim Anton (Jonny Lang, Chastity Brown, Dean Magraw, and Greazy Meal), and Jeremy Ylvisaker (Alpha Consumer, The Cloak Ox) to perform their music with live backing instrumentation.
Click below to learn more about Waayaha Cusub’s residencies in Minneapolis, Mankato & St. Cloud.