I must admit I knew nothing of Burkina Faso’s rap scene until I stumbled on Joey le Soldat this morning. This 28 year-old artist from that landlocked West African nation is on the verge of releasing his second studio album and has just dropped its first single, ‘Travell’. That highly anticipated sophomore will mark the culmination of more than 10 years on the rap scene for Joey who started off in adolescent rap groups. Over that decade the lyricist, who spits primarily in Moré, a traditional Burkinabe dialect, has developed a uniquely ethnic version of hip hop that merges the signature beats of trap with authentic rhythmic percussions handed down generations of traditional Mossi musicians. Think of it, it probably merits the ‘afro-trap’ tag that french rapper MHD concocted. There is also a bit of a Caribbean influence on Joey’s style, and you sense he’d be right at home rap-singing over a dancehall track.
Listening to Travell, you will be immediately captured by the cocktail or bongos, percussion, wind instruments and Joey le Soldat’s staccato flow. You may not understand a word, but you won’t struggle to feel what Joey and producers Redrum have put together here. With his combative rap style, you will agree that the rapper has earned his ‘soldat’ moniker. His verbal aggression is beautifully counter-balanced by the choral singing that bursts out sporadically. The visuals, made by Moja Film, were shot in a slum in the Ugandan capital Kampala. But instead of giving off the destitute image usually portrayed by international news networks, this film brings out a beauty, joy and vibrancy that will warm your heart.
Miami Based, Internationally Known