Baloji has been labeled as one of the most innovative rappers ever to emerge from Africa. Born in Lubumbashi in 1978, he moved to Ostend, Belgium with his father at the age of three, and after developing a love of French hip-hop, he formed the collective Starflam in his teens. After initially giving up his musical ambitions, he was then inspired to write his 2007 autobiographical debut, Hotel Impala, after receiving a letter from his mother, whom he hadn't seen in 21 years. Championed by influential DJ Gilles Peterson, he was then invited to join Damon Albarn's Africa Express project before releasing 2012's Kinshasa Succursale.
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