French rapper Barack Adama – real name Adama Diallo – comes through with more fire with his newest mixtape Propagande Saison 2. Formerly of the legendary Parisian group la Sexion d’Assaut – comprising rappers L.I.O., Pétrodollars, Maska, Lefa, Maître Gims and JR to name but some of the most notable of the sixty nine rappers that have come and gone from the collective – Barack is back after an electric year going solo
Originating from Senegal, the long-time resident of Paris’s 9th arrondisment earned his stage name when Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States. After a dumb joke made by a colleague about the silimarility between ‘Adama’ and ‘Obama’ the nickname stuck, creating the French rapper’s presidential brand.
Since carving out a solo career separate from la Sexion d’Assaut, Barack Adama’s music has gone from strength to strength. His first release, Propagande Saison 1, signalled great things to come from the French hip-hop veteran, with smash hits like Havard lighting up Paris’s clubs this past January. Dark and trappy, with heavy bass and haunting auto-tuned ad lib, the confrontational, straight-up flow in Harvard demonstrated the rapper’s masterful lyricism, with the hook in Havard roughly translating to: “I did not study at Harvard/ My vocabulary is barbaric/ In dinners I can not play the intellectual/ There’s only on an instrument I’m working on! “
Tracks like Parisien magician, featuring Black D, Le Nine and Guy2Bezbar, stay true to Propagande Saison 1’s hard-hitting attitude. Bashy, aggressive flows coupled with dark, crashing bass, drum machines and some blistering guest verses make for a track with a distinct grime flavour – think Skepta, Giggs and JME but in French – which serves up a je ne sais quoi that’s difficult to come by in music produced in the UK.
Adama’s latest mixtape begins on a more upbeat register, bringing Afrobeat vibes loyal to his Senegalise roots, blended with smooth French attitude. If Saison 1 was a soundtrack for the winter, then Propagande Saison 2 serves Barack Adama’s summer vibe. After dropping a sneak peak in May 2017, the track Habitué sets the tone for the rest of the mixtape. With tropicalized sounds courtesy of Daylight Production, Habitué was a sure-fire summer smash.
Since releasing the entire tape, the tracks on Propagande Saison 2 do not disappoint. Tunes like Azelé stay on the afrochill vibe, featuring guest vocals from Lartiste and Franglish to name but two of the excellent features on this tape. The masterful blend of dancehall, hip-hop and Afrobeat styles means that Propagande Saison 2 has remarkable crossover appeal that Adama’s first Propagande project arguably lacked, signalling a potential breakthrough for the French rapper into the wider European mainstream.
What’s more, tracks like Foutaise – which roughly translates as ‘crap’ – features Maître Gims younger brother Dadju. Flying the flag for French Afrobeat, Dadju – who hails from a Congolese family – layers smooth vocals on what’s set to be another summer staple from the Propagande Saison 2 tape, filling up dance floors from Paris to Notting Hill Carnival, and even across the Atlantic to the Caribbean’s carnival capitals.
Endlessly versatile, the French hip-hop veteran Barack Adama proves there’s nothing he can’t achieve with the second installment of his Propagande solo project. However, 2018 may hold something else new from the artist, with talk of a possible la Sexion d’Assaut reunion. After their huge chart success, the mythical French rap collective disbanded in 2012. Maître Gims signaled the possibility of a reunion in an interview before his Concert for Tolerance performance in Agadir, Morroco. Maître said:
“The return of the Sexion d’Assaut is inevitable…now we do not have an exact date, and it’s true that each time we don’t have a concrete answer. We have to solve some problems, not with the group, but with everything around us, the organization and implementation and so on…but it will be done.”
Later on in the interview Maître Gim inferred that the long awaited Sexion d’Assaut reunion will most likely be after the release of his newest solo album, Black Belt. With each main member of the group having released exciting solo projects since the group’s hiatus, this hint from Maître suggests exciting things to come from Barack Adama et al in the New Year.
Barack Adama – Propagrande Saison 2 Tracklist
- Azelé (ft. Lartiste)
- Jamais (ft. Black M)
- Loup-garou (ft. Franglish)
- Trop tard
- G.T. nia
- Ils m’en veulent
- Foutaise (ft. Dadju)