Ephraim "E Dash" Musokwa

By Emily Howland

You are from Tanzania, can you tell me about your life there?
I am Tanzanian, but I actually haven’t really lived there. I’ve spent more time in Zambia, which is right next-door. My family is Tanzanian but my dad works in Zambia. He is a University Professor in the school of business. I find myself [in Tanzania] a lot. My sisters and my brother have all moved back since they’ve gotten their college degrees and I plan on doing the same. Growing up I spent almost every vacation in Tanzania. When I’m here and I say I want to go home I’m actually talking about Tanzania. I switched schools a couple of times growing up and the most recent high school friends I have are from Tanzania. This was while I was studying at the UWC in Swaziland, Southern Africa.What is it like to go home after spending time in the Twin Cities?
It’s warm. I mean, that has to come up first right? When you go back everything seems so different but with time you see your family and it’s right back to the old days. It’s amazing.

Have things changed there since you’ve been at Mac?
If I had to look at it from economic development or political situation I’d have to say it’s pretty much changed a lot. With that regard I feel it’s becoming more capitalist. Previously, it had a lot of socialist elements. But when I go back now, it’s more of a free market. Things socially haven’t changed a lot.everybody’s still a soccer fan. No other sport can compete.

How does soccer at Mac compare to Tanzania?
It’s a lot more organized [at Mac]. Growing up the soccer we played was for fun. The way I started playing as a kid everybody was playing, you go outside you can’t do anything else as a kid so you start playing soccer. Going to school, we didn’t have really technical training. The stuff that I did here was more trying to build a player that’s good in all aspects-control, passing, making runs and all. At home we just do it for fun. We go out there, the coach throws a ball at you and tells you its game time.

What was really hard about joining the team at Mac?
The coaches are amazing here so it was not hard getting a chance to join the team, but it was hard to adjust to the style of soccer. When I came I was used to playing on the field with less thought out decisions, like more freestyle. When you get the ball it’s not totally scripted. The plays got a lot more technical here.

Considering soccer is an integral part of the culture at home was it a surprise to come here and be challenged?
Like I said, it’s a lot more organized and definitely challenging. A set schedule for training. Coach gives us preseason schedules way before. You come in and you know what you have to do. Fitness and physical training-working out and going to the gym man, I didn’t do that for soccer before Mac.

You are also known on campus as a hip-hop artist. Is that something you took from home or developed while you have been at Mac?
I wouldn’t say I’m an artist. It’s more of a hobby, I guess. I’ve been doing it for a long time. My older brother is into music. Growing up I looked up to him and so when he got into it, I got into it. In high school I did it a lot with friends and the lyrical love has never really changed for me.

What inspires your lyrics?

I like mostly to put truth into music. My view is that I want to write music and I want to write about something I feel is important. It’s not necessarily meant to target the most people it can. If people like it, it’s all good, if they don’t then at least I’m still putting out how I feel and what I consider important. It’s not for any commercial reasons.

How do you feel about gangster rap?
I mean, a lot of “gangster rap” as you refer to it, is gone. Music has changed. Hip-hop has changed. At different times in hip-hop’s lifetime different things have seemed important. During the Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. era, hip hop was fueled by west vs. east, but that does not define hip hop now. You’ve still got good artists like Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Atmosphere, Manifest. You’ve got all these peeps who are trying to redefine hip hop and its perception. People have still somehow managed to put hip-hop and gangster rap together as one thing. They’re totally different.

What’s the difference between hip hop and ‘gangster rap’ in your opinion?
I think gangster rap is something that developed from more social-economic conditions that a group of people was feeling. It was more rebellious, it was more aggressive. It’s sort of meant to ask people what they would do in their shoes. They’re saying they’ve been put in a situation where their only option is to do evil. It’s saying listen, I have to do this because you need money in order to live. Hop-hop music- I think it’s more of a voice of what you consider important. It’s socially conscious in a large aspect. Talib Kwali is not doing it just so that he becomes the next artist with a catch phrase. You’ve got other hip-hop where it’s more dance music. It’s meant for you to go clubbing. What fundamentally builds it and keeps it going is just truth that people choose to put into it.

What do you like about performing?
Being there on stage and performing-at that moment you’ve got everybody’s attention and at least you’re clear that you’re saying something people are paying attention to.

Do you plan to return to Tanzania?
Yeah and honestly, I really want to open up a soccer academy there. A lot of times when people are growing up at home, kids pay more attention to soccer than getting good grades. I was lucky growing up because my dad was a no-nonsense type dude so a lot of times I had to make sure my grades were kept up. But I could still go out there and play soccer. That’s a little of what I want to give back when I go back. That will be more part-time. I also really want to go into financial services..stock exchange, investment banking. I want to be one of those people that are pioneering that kind of development around there.

Is the economy in Tanzania up-and-coming right now?
It’s far from perfect. But I want to be a part of the dream to actually get it out there and make it grow to what it has the potential to be.

As an economics major how do you feel about the economy?
Not just an econ major but an international student. It’s messed up. It’s hard because jobs are getting tight. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen. It’s more uncertainty that’s killing me. If I knew, “you’re an international student so you have this option or that option after graduation” then I could pretty much make my mind up. With the way it is now, it’s very uncertain.

What have been some challenges and rewards about coming to Mac?
Any chance to live in a foreign country is a great experience. I came here with a certain perspective of life. With those interactions with guys from the United States and people from around the world it’s shaped me a lot. It’s been hard to adjust to certain aspects of the culture but it’s also been amazing to adopt other parts.

What is the biggest obstacle you see in your future with regard to being from another country?
The biggest worry is, what’s going to happen after graduation? I want to go back home when I have my masters, MBA hopefully. I want to go home when I have the most skills that I can actually go back home with. That requires that I stay here after graduation for a period of time. I don’t know how easy it will be to stay here.

If you left could you come back?
Oh yeah. It would be a lot more difficult. It would be easier to apply to school here than sending my resume from Tanzania. They’re like “who’s this kid that went to Macalester, what’s he about?” It’s easier when you’re right here and you can go for the interview.

What gives you the biggest source of hope about the future right now?
Hope.not sure, but I am excited about some things. What excites me about the future is going out there and getting into the labor market. And to get a job. And get different challenges. I feel it’s about
time. I love school and all. School has been experience but I think I’m ready for the next phase of life. Go to work, get a career going, be a specialist in some area. Basically what I’m looking forward to is just going out there and. doing the ‘econ hustle.’ And one more thing: if there’s anything you have to do in your life it has to be to VISIT TANZANIA BABY. Yezzir.