Kinshasa rapper Alec Lomami takes a look at the positive and negative influences of sapeur culture in the DRC.
Alec Lomami. Photo courtesy of the artist.
By now you’ve seen images of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s impeccably dressed sapeurs splashed across countless fashion editorials. For his new music video for “Fresh: Dans La Peau D'un Sapeur,” Kinshasa rapper and producer Alec Lomamitakes a deeper look at the positive and negative influences of sapeur culture in the DRC.
“I wanted to highlight the duality of how sapeurs are viewed in DRC as opposed to how they are almost unanimously worshiped in Western publications,” Lomami explains to Okayafrica. “At the same time, I didn't want to sound preachy, so created I a fictitious character to convey the narrative [of the song].”
That duality is present in the song’s French lyrics, which feature lines like, “These clothes cost me an arm and a leg, meanwhile my stomach is crying famine. Some people see us as fuck ups. Other people see us as superstars.”
“Fresh: Dans La Peau D'un Sapeur” is co-produced by Lomami and PGMW and features backing vocals by Karun Mungai aka Runka of Cosmic Homies. The track also samples a Jay Z line (“You can learn how to dress just by checking my fresh") which Lomami mentions he’d always “envisioned sampling to touch on La Sape.”
The track’s music video compiles existing footage of sapeurs in Kinshasa and the DRC, check it out below.