A Culture In-Between

baloji“The energy in Kinshasa is something else,” says Baloji before pausing, searching for the right way to describe the industrious and frenetic Congolese capital. The sound of the city throbs out of every bar of his second solo album, Kinshasa Succursale, which blends the expressive rap style that made his name in Belgium with the unmistakeable Congolese rhythm of collaborators like Konono No. 1. “Maybe it sounds strange, but I want to say that it is unique. It’s a city that was made for 500,000 people, and now there are 12 million living there. Nothing is really built for that. Everybody has to work hard and to address themselves to their situation, but they do it with elegance. It’s clichéd to say that African people always laugh, or African people are always friendly, but it’s true. There is a spirit there of people saying: ‘Let’s be creative, let’s find a way to make things work.'”

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