10 titles and a tour in Africa (Q3 2022)
Mali: BBG feat. Galy Bandit – “Chicago”
We start with the rising stars of Malian rap. BBG, an acronym for Bandz Boys Gang, has been in the news throughout Bamako for just over a year. Last July, the trio even filled and set fire to the Palace of Culture. Their latest track “Chicago” from the Bandz 2 mixtape caught our attention. The title refers both to the cradle of drill, a genre in which the group excels as evidenced by the first two verses of the song, but it is also the name of a nightclub in the Malian capital. For the third verse, BBG invited Galy Bandit who is also one of the most prominent rappers of the moment. His concert in July at the Place du Cinquantenaire in the Quartier du Fleuve was also one of the events of the summer season in Bamako. We advise you to listen to “Santana Gang“, his latest single.
Egypt: FL EX – “Logan”
The 21-year-old rapper FL EX is one of the revelations of the year in Egypt. He made a name for himself by featuring artists from the Maadi Town Mafia label, of which he is also a member: first on “Shayateen” with Husayn then on “Khamsa” with Wingii. Egypt has elevated trap to a stratospheric level, making it deeper and more soaring than anywhere else, thanks to producers like Molotof and rappers like Marwan Pablo and Wegz. The track “Logan”, taken from FL EX’s excellent EP Mesama3een, shows that history repeats itself with exercise. Beatmaker Rally has composed a dark, heavy and eerie instrumental track with huge bass and a traditional flute that makes it even more epic. It’s the same spooky atmosphere in the black and white video. In it, FL EX travels through Cairo with his group for hours until the chilling discovery of a body lying on a sidewalk.
Rwanda: Ariel Wayz feat. Sagamba, Soldier Kid, Bruce The 1st & Kivumbi King – “Demo”
Young Rwandan artist Ariel Wayz can do it all, and she proved it this year. She sings wonderfully on tracks that mix afrobeats, afropop and r&b like on “Good Luck“. In the same style, the track “Bad” has absolutely nothing to envy to Nigerian productions and is the perfect soundtrack to roll at night on the illuminated hills of Kigali. But she is also an excellent rapper, as evidenced by the track “Demo”, on which she invited four rappers from the new generation. Among them is Kivumbi King who does the last verse. He is easily recognizable thanks to his elegant traditional hairstyle, the asunzu. He is the prince of Kigali. He can compete with WizKid thanks to his suave voice and sense of melody (“Nakumena Amaso”), and rap on trap (“Ntacyo Nzaba”). Bruce The 1st, meanwhile, is one of the first rappers to shine in the drill register in 2020 in Rwanda with “Tugende” (with Ish Kevin). This collaborative piece also allows us to discover two new Rwandan talents: Sagamba and Soldier Kid.
Ivory Coast: DRE-A – “Lean” ft. Tripa Gninnin
In Abidjan, Didi B is still sitting on the throne of Ivorian rap and this is not going to change given the success of his latest album “En haut“. So we decided to spotlight a young rapper that we’ve noticed for just over a year through a series of singles (“Even Behavior”, “Focus”, “We Can Do That” in collaboration with Apocahuero) ; and which is the pride of the city of Bouaké. The artist who still divides his time between studies and music is making a place for himself in the hearts of Ivorians thanks to the freshness of his tone and his ability to handle words with humour. While waiting for the release of her debut project, Dre-A released “Skinny” in July featuring Babi’s coolest rapper, Tripa Gninnin. It was a great year for the young artist who capitalized on the release of his Bomboclaat project at the very end of 2021 to further climb the ladder. The artistic direction of the video is, as usual, provided by the talented Young Nouchi who immersed Dre-A and Tripa in a pink pop universe that matches the light tone of the title.
Togo: Sethlo feat. Conii Gangster, Lomerica Gang & Mic Flammez – “Woèkpô”
Lomé has been dancing for a few months to the sound of the amapiano, particularly well represented locally thanks to the artists Chief One and Talakaka. Drill music is also particularly strong and popular in the country thanks to a new generation of artists. The sounds of the Mina language blend perfectly with the rhythm of this new music. Just after recovering from the madness of “Molédjafor” by the Lomerica Gang, we receive another slap with “Woèkpô” by Sethlo, who is far from being a newcomer after almost ten years of playing. Special Ghanaian and Togolese drill music is the way it is sung and the choruses performed by alternating soloists and choir. The melody sung by Sethlo here on the chorus is simply irresistible. For “Woèkpô”, he invited the Lomerica Gang and Conii Gangsterr, who is also part of this new drilling scene. The song ends with a verse from Mic Flammez, a rapper as experienced as Sethlo.
Senegal: Bilou XIV feat. Flamme Zo – “Fatale ma fofou”
The influence of mbalax, the sounds and cadence of Wolof and the long-standing use of traditional instruments in productions make Senegalese hip hop special. In recent years, rapper Samba Peuzzi has pushed experimentation with these elements in tracks like “Lou Yaka Yawa”, “Tama” and “Ndongo”. Rapper Bilou XIV went even further with the new “Fatal ma fofou”, the summer hit in Dakar. The instrumental, which he produced himself, consists solely of drums and percussive elements. A process he had already used for his first single “Touche du Bois”. The only perceptible melody comes from a tama, a variable-tension underarm drum often heard in Galsen’s rapping. Zo Flame, who was invited for this song, rose to prominence a year ago thanks to “SNK #3”. We can only advise you to listen to his “Wreew” released in July with “Fatal ma fofou”.
Tunisia: Mouka – “Karaka” ft. Ka3bi
By the mid-2010s, MHD’s Afrotrap had created imitators in Spain and a whole scene had formed with artists like Afrojuice 195. For the past two years, it’s been the very recognizable style of French rapper Jul’s instrumentals that has been massively taken back. in Spain, and especially in Barcelona. Morad is the Spanish rapper who appropriated this sound by adding his personal touch. Discover “Pelele” or “Cómo Están? “. He also collaborates regularly with Jul. He has been one of Spain’s most popular rappers for two years and proudly represents the Moroccan diaspora. Through him, the sound of Jul spreads to the Maghreb. In the title “Karaka” by the young Tunisian rapper Mouka, we strongly feel the influence of Jul and Morad. Indeed, the beatmaker who produced the track, Martin Ruts, is from Barcelona like Morad, and he produced the Spanish hit “Vida Loca” by Aiman Jr and Omar Montes earlier this year. Last May, Mouka released the magnificent “Mala Ena“, his biggest hit to date. The track “Karaka” is a collaboration with rapper Ka3bi with whom he already worked a year ago for “Vroom”.
Morocco & Italy: Baby Gang “Come to me”
We were just talking about Spanish rapper Morad and how he is the voice of youth for North African immigrants. In Italy, his equivalent is the rapper Baby Gang, also of Moroccan origin. Indeed, the two rappers met in 2021 on the track “Casablanca”. Baby Gang often asserts its Moroccan identity in its lyrics (“Marocchino”) or by collaborating with Moroccan rappers like ElGrandeToto (“Come Va”). In the clip for “Come to me”, he pays homage to the city of his heart, Casablanca.
Nigeria: Erigga – “Vawulence”
Erigga is a rap legend in Nigeria. Since starting his career in 2009, he has become the king of pidgin rap, an uncompromising style made for Nigerians, not Westerners. You might think that only the cities of Lagos and Port-Harcourt matter in the music landscape, but Erigga has put the town of Warri, in Delta State, on the map of Nigerian hip hop, and it is often the box of his words as in “Welcome to war”. “Vawulence”, or how Nigerians pronounce “violence”, is the first single from his new project The Lost Boy Album, released in early September. In the video, Erigga appears as a gang leader who is part of a group of inmates who are to be transferred by bus to another prison but on the way are freed by a commando. The main sequence of the video was shot in front of the Book Shop House tower, one of the oldest skyscrapers in Lagos, on Lagos Island.
South Africa: Fakaloice – “Ooh Aah” Ft Riky Rick & Cassper Nyovest
We end with “Ooh Ah” by Fakaloice, a track that became an instant classic of South African hip-hop upon its release. Fakaloice is a young rapper from Verulam, a town north of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, so he represents the north coast within the label Ambitiouz Entertainment. He mixes English and isiZulu and defines his style as “zunglish trap”. He is heavily influenced by Canadian rapper Tory Lanez and can be heard on “Ooh Ah”, which he produced himself, in the way he changes register and octave between rapping and singing. In the first sequence of the clip, which matches its verse, we see Fakaloice being enthroned as a village chief. We recognize the traditional houses, clothing, shields and spears of the Zulus. A sequence that is reminiscent of the clip “Y3 Y3 Dom” by Ghanaian driller Jay Bahd released in 2021 and in which we saw Ashanti warriors preparing for war. The second verse of the track is by Riky Rick, a South African rap legend who sadly passed away last February. The artist ended his life after a long battle with depression. This verse was recorded in 2020. In the clip, this sequence is announced by a message written on the back of a t-shirt: “We Never Die, We Multiply”. These are lyrics by Riky Rick taken from the remix of the track “Nkalakatha” by rapper Costa Titch, released in 2019. It is strangers on the street and his friends who rap his verse here and pay him a collective tribute. The third verse is rapped by the legend of legends, Cassper Nyovest. South African rap fans have been waiting years to have Riky Rick and Cassper Nyovest on the same track. Cassper Nyovest takes his time getting on the beat before devouring it completely. He came to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. He attacks the music industry and other rappers. He reminds us that he survived all trends (house music, gqom) and that he inspired everyone including Focalistic, one of the most prominent rappers of recent years. In the video, he appears as the supreme leader of hip-hop and as the head of the army. After such a verse, who could argue?
Find our selection in our Pan African Rap playlist.