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Rapper, Mother, Superstar: Ana Tijoux Finds Her Words

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In her latest album, French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux finds inspiration in the birth of her child and the complexities of womanhood. She shares her thoughts on making music that's universal.


Since you listened to NPR, you probably know by now that this week is the South by Southwest Music Festival. Among the performers is Ana Tijoux.


BLOCK: Tijoux is one of the most influential hip hop artists in Latin America. Here in the U.S., fans of the TV show "Breaking Bad" might recognize this song of hers.


ANA TIJOUX: (Singing in foreign language)

BLOCK: Ana Tijoux has a new record. It's called "Vengo." She told us she recorded most of the songs shortly after the birth of her second child.

TIJOUX: I was with my kid that got 9 and my baby and trying to find the words with no sleeping. So I was putting, like, clock at 3, 4:00 in the morning. So it was hard in that sense of being, like, tired. But at the same time, it's like I let it go, and all these energy also of having a baby, no sleeping, that was the energy, really, in this album.


TIJOUX: (Singing in foreign language)

This album doesn't have samples. Everything is played and inspired by Latin-American music and, of course, Chilean music also, you know.


TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

When you play with a live band, you get the possibility of travelling with other musician in songs. So your dialogue is not only with the DJ. It's also with the trumpetist(ph), the bassist, whatever, all the musician that are in the stage.


TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

There is a very thin line between to have an opinion and - going to be an icon, which is the most horrible stuff that can happen to you, when people got expectation, so much expectation. We're just musician, and the way that I deal with that is because I've got kids. And when you got to change your baby or your kid is searching on advice about school, you don't think about that way. And you can have that. I mean, we got an opinion, which I love about musician, but we can have the weight of the world and the sadness of the world.


TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

BLOCK: That's the French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. Her latest album is called "Vengo," and you can hear it at


TIJOUX: (Rapping in foreign language)

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