Baloji was in New York the weekend of July 4th, and his performance in the garden of a Brooklyn community center was mesmerizing.
The Congolese rapper and musician was on a low and playful key as he rapped and horsed around with his band, unexpectedly bellowing into a megaphone sometimes, which made the music sound even more wild. He swayed his hips and grinded the stage horizontally to the screams of the audience. Near the end, he performed a slowed-down version of my favorite song of his, “Karibu ya bintou.” The song was unrecognizable at first, the bass at a relaxed gallop and the strings being gently stroked, until the familiar verses kicked in. The crowd didn’t stop dancing.