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.

Music
Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

ProVerb’s Memoir Is A Huge Slap In The Face To South African Hip-Hop

In his memoir, one of South Africa's revered lyricists ProVerb and his co-author compromise his rich story with trite motivational talk.

The Book of Proverb

ProVerb has had a strange relationship with the SA hip-hop scene. Albeit being one of the most gifted lyricists the country has ever seen, he has grown to flow less and hustle more. Despite this, his name still comes up when the greatest (South) African rappers of all time are mentioned. MTV Base placed him as the 7th in their list of the greatest SA MCs of all time in 2018 for example.

The rapper-turned-media personality dedicates a paragraph of his memoir, The Book of Proverb, to explaining his complicated relationship with hip-hop. "Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support or success from it," he writes. "Music is and always will remain a pass ion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me. If I was given more support, I might continue, but for now, I'll focus on my other hustles."

On the cover of the book which was released towards the end of 2020 by Penguin, Verb is wearing a charcoal blazer and sporting a white ball cap, so one can be forgiven for getting into it expecting both sides of his story. This memoir, however, is too vague to be a worthy read if you aren't necessarily reading to get motivated but to be simply informed and inspired.

While a few of The Book of ProVerb's chapters touch on his rap career, most of the book is about ProVerb the man, personality and businessman. Not so much one of the country's finest lyricists. This omission is a huge slap in the face for his fans and SA hip-hop fans in general.

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Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr Explores the Sweet Spot Between Nollywood & Hollywood

Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, London-based Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr speaks about his experimental film 'Lizard', what belonging looks like and the overlap between Hollywood and Nollywood.