Yesterday, Banning, Sean, Saman, and Justin went to see Congolese/Belgian rapper Baloji at Shrine in Harlem, where they recorded some of the show— which was phenomenal (video below)— and got an interview with him afterwards.
This guy has really got something special going on with his inventive mix of rap and Congolese soukous, and he is poised to explode this year! Rather than the samples and electronics we've come to expect from rap these days, Baloji's French rhymes danced over the fresh sounds of a killing soukous trio (electric guitar, bass, and drumset). The trio's playing was very dynamic over the course of the show, ranging from standard-issue party-time soukous, to more relaxed numbers like "Independence Cha-Cha" and full-on rockers.
In addition to the music, Baloji's intensity and charisma onstage was striking. Not only is he a solid rapper, but he's got some serious dance moves and impeccable style to boot.
Stay tuned for a forthcoming feature on Baloji, including Banning's after-show interview. In the meantime, check out this video of "Karibu Ya Bintu" from yesterday's show!