February 28, 2012

Baloji | Kinshasa Succursale

ARTIST:  Baloji
TITLE:  Kinshasa Succursale
LABEL:  Crammed Discs 
Baloji is a Congolese-born, Belgian-raised songwriter, rapper and producer who came to fame as a member of the top-selling Belgian group Starflam.  For his second solo album, Baloji returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and also held sessions in Brussels, Paris and Cologne in order to record and collaborate with a wide variety of artists: neo-traditional percussionists Konono No. 1 (tracks 3 and 9), the vocalists of Zaiko Langa-Langa (1, 9), brass band Fanfare La Confiance (many tracks, including 4, 8, 9 and 12), gospel choir Choeur de la Grace (4, 12 and more), American bluesman Amp Fiddler (8), and many others.  Four of the tracks are re-imaginations of songs on Baloji’s first solo album; 1 and 8 are ingenious interpretations of songs by Joseph (Le Grand Kalle) Kabasele and Marvin Gaye, respectively.  The result is one of the finest examples of post-colonial hybridity I’ve come across – it’s as transcontinental, multicultural and multigenerational as anything you’ll ever hear.  Simply a brilliant record that succeeds on so many different levels at the same time.  It’s the hip-hop of the future, and of great interest even if you could care less about hip-hop. 
TOP TRACKS:    1    3    4    8    9    12
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    all of the rest of them

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