Rural rapper Kamini: hip-hop star on the rise

4th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

MARLY-GOMONT, France, Dec 3, 2006 (AFP) - A black rapper from a backwater village is rapidly becoming a media sensation in France after a tongue-in-cheek video of him singing about his rural experience debuted on the Internet.

MARLY-GOMONT, France, Dec 3, 2006 (AFP) - A black rapper from a backwater village is rapidly becoming a media sensation in France after a tongue-in-cheek video of him singing about his rural experience debuted on the Internet.

Kamini, as he is known, has been thrust into the spotlight since his tune about his home town (population 423) of Marly-Gomont first hit the web in September.

He has been interviewed on television, sung on a talent show, and been fought over by record labels who see him as a new entertainer offering a rap wrested free of the urban angst common to the genre.

"'Marly-Gomont' is a song about my life," the 26-year-old told AFP as he sat outside his home in the rolling countryside north of Paris. His father, a Congolese doctor, has his practice on the ground floor.

The video, made over three days by a friend doing film studies, features Kamini rapping about being a young black guy growing up in a rustic setting populated by cows, tractors, old farmers, and more cows.

Although humoristic, it takes stabs at the latent racism he often ran up against, with for instance lyrics that go: "There's no concrete, only pastures, but even so I've come across a lot of trash."

Locals from the village are seen dancing along in the video, which has none of the flashy cars and g-stringed models common to the more traditional rap clips, even in France.

After being sent in as a sample to French music companies, it found its way on to video websites such as YouTube, where the number of viewers has grown to over a million. Its success on Kamini's own site shows no sign of flagging.

A small label in the northern city of Lille which is backing Kamini, La Plebe, said interest from the big record firms was now running red-hot.

"The majors have contacted us. They know that the public and the media are behind us," the head of La Plebe, Martin Coulon, said.

Kamini, who is keeping his job as a part-time psychiatric nurse until a deal is signed, said that "a lot of people think this is a flash in the pan. But we've got other tracks. We've already got a finished album."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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