Young Paris re-ups his “African Vogue” with help from Afrobeats’ biggest stars
Any way you describe it sounds like an anomaly: conscious dance music. Tribal electronica. Hip-hop meets EDM meets Afrobeats — with a message. Yet, Young Paris’s music is all these things. It’s an intricate balance, but as you dance to the relentless beats, you find yourself learning about the riches of Africa and singing along to a message of self-love. For instance, take the track “Destined,” where Paris raps with pride, “Oh my God, I love my race!”
“It wasn’t really until my last visit in Congo in 2011, right before my father died, that it really hit me like how much Congo means to me, and Africa means to me, and how much I want to hold on to that to be a part of my story,” he tells REVOLT in an intimate chat at Leisure Life NYC.
You might have heard his song “Best of Me” on Episode 6 of the hottest show to premiere last season, Insecure. Or maybe you were intrigued by his maquillage, traditional face paint. But it’s not a costume; for Paris, it’s about helping people embrace his culture.
Born in Paris, raised in New York, with parents from the Congo (his dad founded the National Ballet of Congo), Young Paris has the perfect perspective to serve as ambassador for the current globalization of music. But he refrains from being preachy: “I found the best way to get a message across is when people are enjoying themselves.”
On that note, he re-released his album African Vogue, a feel-good project that deftly blends all his influences. But this time he added three new songs and recruited some of Afrobeats’s biggest stars, labelmate Tiwa Savage, aka “the Nigerian Beyoncé,” and Reekado Banks.
His being signed this year to Roc Nation is evidence enough that Afrobeats music is about to explode stateside. But if you want to catch the wave early, listen to African Vogue below.