I’ll gladly accept that I should go get my late pass for not being up on Congo-born, Belgium-raised rapper Baloji months, if not years, ago. When I saw the following video for “Le Jour D’Apres/Siku Yabaadaye (Independance Cha-Cha)” while trolling around on Donald Glover’s website (yes, Troy from NBC’s “Community”), it made me think that this guy’s visual style is too evolved for this to be a debut.
In fact, it’s the second single from his sophomore album, “Kinshasa Succursale.” And the track holds special significance because it’s a remake of Joseph Kabasele‘s “Independance Cha-Cha” which is perhaps Congo’s most revered tune from the country’s struggle for independence from colonial rule during the 1960s.
Bajoli’s 2007 debut, “Hotel Impala,” is inspired by his emigration from the Congo (where he left his mother) to Belgium with his father. It topped a few best album of the year lists in Belgium. Now while Belgium is not known as a hotbed of anything but waffles, chocolate, beer and maybe Kim Clijsters, watch the video of that disc’s standout cut “Tout Ceci Ne Vous Rendra Pas Le Congo” (or very roughly translated, “All This Will Not Make You The Congo”) and you’ll see how charismatic Baloji is.
And in this music video for “Karibu Ya Bintou,” which my man Eddie Stats at the Fader described as being “a filmic mini-masterpiece,” Baloji gives us a frantic peek into Kinshasa life as he raps over the likembe of a Konono No. 1 beat. We all should take notice. (Spoiler alert: The hooded men are not who they seem to be.)
Watch “Le Jour D’Apres/Siku Yabaadaye (Independance Cha-Cha)” here: