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The new European rap talent hates his name

pagoskawaii 4 de July del 2017 celebrities
Baloji was taken out of Congo when n he was three years old to raise in Belgium. Today, it is the great promise of French hip-hop.

the new european rap talent hates his name

Baloji (38 years old, Congo) hates his name. he says he has tried to change it, but it is too expensive. The funny thing is that it also maintained when choosing an artistic name, a perfect opportunity to be renamed for free. He justifies this by saying he could not find anything better, and at the end he assumes it. The reason: in the Kiswahili language, Baloji means “sorcerer who inspires terror”. The Christian equivalent would be called Beelzebub.

What he thinks about it

He claims that he believes is terrifying that a child would be named like this. But that appalling first name has not prevented him from becoming one of the strings of francophone rap. Today he is in a small studio south of Brussels, with a lyrical singing cousin and a sound technician who also makes him a chauffeur. He stayed there when he was 3 years old, coming from his native Lubumbashi. He also remembers how illuminated the streets were.

His background

His father, Belgian, a ruined businessman, took him away from his mother, with whom he had had an affair, promising him that in Europe his son would enjoy a better education. One day, after 25 years, she discovered him on her television set. In that melancholy-looking rapper he saw his son’s features. The reunion was not as expected. His mother thought it a shame that life was so badly earned (an “anthropological universal,” as Foucault would say).

His music

His credentials speak for themselves. Damon Albarn (leader of Blur and Gorillaz) embarked on his project Africa Express. Saul Williams has remixed one of his last songs. Gilles Peterson contributed to encourage his success by passing his songs on the BBC. And Questlove sent him something like the letter of a groupie. His songs alternate electronic programming with Congolese rhythms. They tell about his double culture.

The political situation in Africa. And, increasingly, also of his private life. Of encounters, breaks, and back to begin. But Baloji says he does not suffer any identity problems.

He says that he contains multitudes, but united under a single entity. In times of obligatory dichotomy, he has chosen not to choose. In 2017, saying something like that is an important message. The world becomes more and more conservative, in politics and in music, he says. For example, he denounces the underlying ideology under all that encompasses world music. He claims that it is a reductive and racist term. It cultivates an exoticism and a folk idea of what Africa is.  Now, he is trying to vindicate his continent.

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