Video

Baloji's Love Letter To The Congo Is The Most Stunning Music Video Of The Year

Baloji searches for Congolese style on a road trip through Kinshasa in the stunning music video for "Capture," off the 64 Bits & Malachite EP


Photo Credit: Kristin Lee Moolman

Baloji goes in search of Congolese style in a stunning music video that premiered yesterday on NOWNESS. Shot and devised by Baloji himself, the clip takes the Congolese-born, Belgium-based rapper on a road trip through Kinshasa alongside the afrofuturistic street performance collective Kongo Astronauts. According to NOWNESS, one aim of the trip was to track down a lost statue of the Welsh explorer Henry Morton Stanley. Along the way, the artist takes in the beauty of his birth country. “We went to a real funeral and I tried to capture something super-honest,” he tells NOWNESS. “I think beauty has something to do with dignity. Even if they are living in a crazy situation, they are so proud.”

The song itself, which Baloji wrote with London-based Nigerian songwriter and producer Olugbenga (of Metronomy), is an early single off his forthcoming 64 Bits and Malachite EP, and features the devastating vocals of Petite Noir (who himself is half Congolese) and Kinshasa-based singer Muanza (of Chorale de la Grâce).

A press release details the meaning of "bits" and "malachite" and its significance for Baloji– who tells NOWNESS that everything he does in music is computer-based, with 40% of his computer and phone coming from Congolese soil– and his birthplace, the Katanga region of the DRC:

"64 bits is the current reference for processors. It evokes the idea of built-in obsolescence; how previous versions, even if they still function, are designed to become useless, like Malachite.

Malachite is a green-layered stone found in Katanga (DRC Congo). The whole world comes to Katanga for its precious minerals, but those with only sentimental value, such as malachite, are rare. It is one of the few Congolese minerals not used in this computer that helps Baloji to create and share his music.

64 bits & Malachite mines our operating systems: it is a metaphor of our era, a melody of diaspora; a nomadic music between encounters and collisions."

Baloji's 64 Bits & Malachite is due out in October by Universal France, and will be launching alongside the artist's malachite eyewear collection created in collaboration with Komono. Watch the video for "Capture" below.

Video
C Natty/emPawa

You Need to Watch C Natty's New Music Video For 'Ojah'

Video Premiere: Check out the striking first release from Mr Eazi's #emPawa30.

C Natty arrives in style with his new single "Ojah."

The track, which is the first release from Mr Eazi's new group of #emPawa30 artists, sees the Nigerian artist delivering a highly-infectious and grooving concoction over jazz-leaning afrobeats produced by Killertunes.

The new music video for "Ojah," which we're premiering here today, is equally as stunning and follows the story of someone who doesn't take others' advice. C Natty told us the following about the DK of Priorgold Pictures-directed video:

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popular
Cover art of "Banjo".

Watch Cameroonian Drag Artist Bebe Zahara Benet's New Music Video for 'Banjo'

Video Premiere: Bebe Zahara Benet releases the colourful visuals for her latest single 'Banjo' ahead of her upcoming EP 'Broken English'.

Cameroonian drag artist Bebe Zahara Benet has just released the colourful visuals to her latest single 'Banjo'.

The single, which features on her upcoming Broken English EP, is the follow-up to several EPs she's released in the past including Face and Kisses & Feathers as well as a number of singles including "Fun Tonite", "Get Fierce (Lose Yourself)" and "Starting a Fire".

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Art
Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

Spotlight: Nicole Rafiki's Images Merge the Contemporary with the Traditional to Challenge Stereotypes

Get familiar with the work of Norway-based Congolese visual artist Nicole Rafiki.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Nicole Rafiki, a Congolese visual artist who uses symbolism to challenge stereotypes in a critical way. Read more about the inspirations behind her work below, and check out some of her stunning images underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Facebook and her Rafiki Arts Initiative here.


How would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an interdisciplinary artist, I use symbolism to re-imagine and challenge the stereotypical depiction of spaces, contexts and the people who are affected by global migration. I view my work as a platform for dialogues about identity, fluidity, place, and belonging. As an artist with a diverse cultural, historic and artistic background, I use art to inform, engage and heal. Because it is too easy to fall into the trap of promoting idealism or clichés, I make it a point to be critical and analytical in my work.

What is the message behind your recent photo-series "The Crown"?

This work came about after I had been stuck in Lagos traffic for 2 hours, listening to a radio show about the role of women in the household. One middle-aged woman called in to say that a "proper woman has to be domesticated". Listening to that radio show just made it seem like, for many people, it doesn't matter how educated, professionally accomplished or otherwise successful a woman is as long as she does not have the required domestic skills required by the African society. The urban attire complemented by traditional African elements illustrates the double role that many young African women have in our communities. And yet, that point is made against a yellow backdrop, symbolizing our power, historical achievements, hope and optimism for the future.

As an African artist, what do you want to communicate with your art about the continent?

The core message in my art is the promotion of our personal and collective healing process. That is only possible if we all understand the importance of playing our part. I believe that this is a very important time to be active in the contemporary art field. We have reached a historical point where Africans from the continent and the diaspora are challenging the status quo in the art industry by creating their own platforms to discuss, share and challenge the dominating philosophical, artistic, political and cultural perspectives on art. We have the power, individually and collectively to create a different legacy for the next generation and have personally just begun exploring all the possibilities out there.

Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mkono" (2018), in loving memory of my grandmother.Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Untitled" (2019), in loving memory of Benon Lutaaya. Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Not without my bags" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kadogo (2019)"Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Mwenye imani haitaji macho" (A man of faith needs no eyes), (2019). Model: AfrogallonismImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Crown" (2020). Model: Deborah Kandoua AffouéImage courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.


Nicole Rafiki merges contemporary and traditional visual art. "Kwabende" (2019)Image courtesy of Nicole Rafiki.

News Brief

South African Hip-Hop Producers Makwa and Lunatik Will Battle It Out on Instagram Live

Another exciting South African hip-hop IG Live battle is happening.

Makwa and Lunatik are the next pair of producers who will go toe to toe in an Instagram Live battle at 10 P.M. (SAST). Both producers are responsible for some of South Africa's biggest and era-defining hits. Makwa has produced most of Kwesta's biggest hits such as "Spirit" and "Vur Vai" among others. Lunatik has produced such monster hits as K.O's "Caracara," OkMalumKoolKat's "Amalobolo" and DJ Citi Lyts' "Vura." We know... we are getting goosebumps, too.

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