Download an Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape from Congolese producer/rapper Alec Lomami.

For years, Alec Lomami was a man in limbo. Born in Belgium and raised in Kinshasa, Lomami was visiting relatives in the US in 1998 when the outbreak of The Second Congo War forced him to stay and seek political asylum. “Because I wasn’t born in Congo, (Congo) didn’t want to take me in,” he tells AfriPOP! in an account of his ordeal. “And because I wasn’t a Belgian citizen, they didn’t want to take me in.” Thus began a near-decade of nomadic living which culminated with Lomami landing in a US immigration jail.

A "cultural bastard," as he dubs himself, Lomami broke into the scene with two tracks — "Kinshasa" and "Pop Revolution" — crafted from strings of his multifaceted identity and experience. French raps, electronic undertones and a drive towards African modernity all encompass Lomami's work and can be heard in his Africa In Your Earbuds installment, which he sent over from his current home in Harare.

Lomami's AIYE #19 escorts you through the crew of contemporary artists breaking barriers in modern African music including Chief Boima, Dirty Paraffin, Petite Noir, Seye, Baloji, The Very Best, Amadou & Mariam and many more. Not a DJ but an excellent curator, Lomami got his friend and previous Earbuds host Brotha Onaci to mix this batch of tunes.

Stream/download Africa In Your Earbuds #19: Alec Lomami [Mixed by Brotha Onaci] below. Lomami's upcoming Melancholie Joyeuse EP will be available for free June 30 on his bandcamp. In the meantime follow him on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Big up to Underdog for the mixtape cover!


1.DRC Music feat Bokatola System – Departure DRC

2. Amadou & Miriam - M'bifé blues – Mali

3. Mamou Sidibe – Bakoye – Mali

4. Petite Noir – Till we Ghost – DRC/SA

5. Chief Boima feat Sori Kondi – Without No Money No Family– Sierra Leone

6. Azekel – New-Ish – Nigeria/UK

7. Sam – Marijuana – DRC

8. Youssoupha feat Tabu Ley Rochereau – Les Disques de Mon Pere – DRC/FR

9. Well$ - XX – USA/DRC

10. Dirty Paraffin – Drip dry – SA

11. Alec Lomami Feat Well$ – Pop Revolution – DRC

12. Mr. OK Feat Larose – Yaya – Haiti

13. Rimer London Feat Cata Pirata – Love Dagger – SA/Netherland

14. Anbuley – Hesisinumo’ – Ghana/Austria

15. Seye – White Noise – Nigeria/UK

16. Davido – Dami Duro – Nigeria

17. Bana C4 – Ca Donga (part 2) – DRC

18. The Very Best feat Baloji – Super Mom – Malawi/DRC

19. Stromae – Alors on Danse – Rwanda/Belgium



Photo by Shako Oteka.

Immaculate Taste's New Editorial Campaign Is Inspired by Soccer Nostalgia

Immaculate Taste's Alec Lomami speaks on the jersey collaboration with Durham brand Runaway and the hub's new creative agency.

Immaculate Taste, a North Carolina-based record label and management company comprised of Congolese creatives Alec Lomami, Shako Oteka and Mike Tambashe, have announced the creative agency arm of their hub by dropping an editorial highlighting their new, retro-fit soccer jersey.

In collaboration with Durham brand Runaway, Immaculate Taste tapped into their nostalgic love for soccer when conceptualizing the jersey.

"Growing up in Congo and later in Cote d'Ivoire, soccer was our first sport we as a family fell in love with," Lomami tells OkayAfrica via email. "We used to collect soccer cards and jerseys—dreaming to one day play professionally. When the decision came down to figuring out our first campaign, it only made sense to go with a soccer jersey. One day we hope to redesign the Congolese soccer jersey, so who knows, this jersey could be our proof of concept."

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Photo by Alec Lomami.

Alec Lomami's New Photo Series Shows the Beauty of Everyday Life in Kinshasa

The Congolese rapper questions our tendency to gaze at the continent in extremes through his series, "Kin la Belle."

Congolese rapper Alec Lomami touches base to share his photo series, Kin la Belle, with OkayAfrica.

Shot on film with a Leica 35mm, Lomami wants to show the complex beauty of Kinshasa by capturing everyday life in his homeland. Though these images are what you wouldn't usually see in other platforms covering the continent—they are just as valid.

In his statement below, he explains in depth the inspiration behind the series:

I was trying to take a picture of my aunt because she has this beautiful afro. She wouldn't let me though, telling me she wasn't presentable. She jokingly told me, "Are you trying to take my pictures so you can show people how we suffer here then solicit donations to create an NGO?" That interaction made me think of the conversations underway surrounding the negative portrayal of Africa.

As a counter, there has been a rise of publications whose aim is to show the continent is a positive light. Who can blame them? Even heads of states (who shall remain unnamed for the sake of maintaining my green card) refer to nations in Africa as "shitholes." Sometimes, however, it feels like portrayals have moved to the other side of the same coin. The Africa that I know isn't binary. It isn't the idealized Wakanda or the wild jungles tales of Tarzan—both written by white people funny enough (but that's a story for another time).

As I was taking pictures in Kinshasa, I wanted to capture Kinshasa as it is, rather than as I (or anyone else) thinks it ought to be. The truth is we have beautiful homes as well as shacks, we have asphalt roads as well as dirt roads. Not to sound overly romantic, but I think the amalgamation of the polarities and everything in between is what makes Kinshasa what it is—Kin la Belle.

Click through the slideshow to have a look at Kin la Belle, and revisit Alec Lomami's DRC Independence Day playlist here.

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Cardi B Teases New Remix of Davido's 'Fall'

Looks like the Nigerian star's massive hit is getting yet another re-up.

Cardi B has teased her apparent upcoming remix of Davido's "Fall."

Posting from a private jet, as she was on her way to New York before heading to West Africa, Cardi B shared a video of herself rapping and dancing along to the unreleased remix.

From the sounds of it, Cardi's "Fall" remix will feature a brand new verse from the New York rapper.

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Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

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