Audio: Alec Lomami “Kinshasa”

7 times out of 10 I give French rapping a good old fashioned American side-eye. Before I get battered with insults and baguettes, just know that I’m not proud of my cultural bias, and I’m trying to get over it. Luckily there are artists like Alec Lomami (a Congolese rapper currently based in North Carolina) who put my petty nationalist predilections in perspective. On “Kinshasa” Lomami has a dexterous flow that surfs over a captivatingly cathodic beat. The song is down right narcotic. Currently I’m lounging on a beanbag chair, listening to the song for the 15th time, and zoning out like a dead-head.

This is the first track I’ve heard from Alec Lomami, but I’m ready to start taking French lessons for his upcoming EP, Melancholie Joyeuse, coming soon... at the very least I’ll bust out the Babel Fish.

Kinshasa by Alec Lomami


7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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