Amkoullel and Ramses are both considered as the top Malian Hip Hop artists: Ramses is from the legendary number 1 band Tata Pound, working also now on his solo career with his ‘Malien’ album.
Amkoullel is the charismatic leader of the hip hop movement in Mali. His 4th album, Ne Ka Mali!! has been released internationally together with 4 amazing videos and he is performing with a 5 piece band that includes 2 impressive dancers.
M.I.A. goes for Made In Africa. Rapping in English and Bambara (one of the most spoken language in West Africa), Ramses and Amkoullel are explaining how Hip Hop comes from Africa and especially Mali is dedicated to social commitment, it’s a medium for consciousness and awareness and to defend the disenfranchised. It’s also very festive and quite unique.
With their own distinctive styles, both artists are inspired by their musical traditions as much as the most contemporary sounds and are extremely committed to social issues and education, and always mixing it with humour. Their words are reaching far beyond the Bamako urban youth: their texts are often quoted like proverbs, as truths that can tear the crust of hypocrisy.
Together with Lassy King Massassy, the first Malian rapper, they set up a non profit organisation to support and develop Hip Hop in Mali with various promotional platforms and events where young artists can learn and perform. They also created Bama Saba (which means the 3 caimans, Bama the caiman is the symbol of Bamako, capital city of Mali), to reinvent Kotéba theatre, the traditional comical and satirical popular African theatre. It offers a particularly fine and amusing criticism of contemporary Malian culture, focusing particularly on education and emigration. Songs are in vernacular Bamanan and comedy dialogues are in French, accompanied by melodies and instruments from West Africa. B ama Saba celebrates the 50th birthday of Malian independence with a deep and exhilarating analysis of Malian difficulties and strong aspirations.