A Congolese rapper who has lived most of his life in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Baloji raps about hard-hitting subjects—such as the challenging life of an African immigrant—with blistering hip-hop beats. He has frequently incorporated Congolese rhythms into his music, and when he turned 30, he decamped back to Kinshasa in the Congo to make an album. The result, Kinshasa Succursale, is an appealing collision of styles that blends Baloji’s French flow with dancehall beats, a reggae sound and traditional Congolese tunes. Baloji recruited local talent, including singers, musicians and “Congotronics” outfit Konono No. 1, to the album, and Kinshasa Succursale manages to shows off both the varied musical traditions of Congo as well as Baloji’s emcee skills.
Listen: “Karibu Ya Bintou” (featuring Konono N°1)