I can’t even describe the intensely visceral reaction I had to Baloji‘s first single “Karibu ya bintou” (Welcome to life in limbo) from his recent album Kinshasa Succursale. I was watching the accompanying music video and was just enthralled by the strangely beautiful visuals and the mesmerizing lyrics and bass of the song. Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him before now??
Luckily, other, more in-the-know, people have heard of this amazingly talented young Congolese-born, Belgian-raised rapper/singer. Oroma Elewa, editrix of Pop’Africana, interviewed him for the current issue, where you can find out a little more about this mysterious man whose name means “sorcerer” or a curse in Chiluba and Swahili. Both Baloji and the video for “Karibu ya bintou” are brimming with a charismatic, slightly off-kilter energy. The video takes us through his personal Kinshasa. In the video for his latest single “Independance Cha-Cha,” Baloji adopts a sapeur-like style as he updates a traditional Congolese hymn. I can’t wait to see more from him. Below, the “Karibu ya bintou” video: