Hello world. Meet Alec Lomami, an artist whose current pop-styled songs betray the seriousness of his life and his message. As i write, the young rapper-producer is heading to Zimbabwe due to the challenges he’s been facing as the result of wars being fought without his consent, and a political system that makes it unimaginably difficult for “outsiders” to attain the “dreams” it promises. [Please forgive me for being vague. To get some background, read these great articles from The Fader, MTV, and Akwaaba Music.]
Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alec was well immersed in great music. In addition to listening to legendary artists, such as Papa Wemba, Franco, Mbillia Belle, Zaiko, Wenge Musica, and Omako, he felt connected to hip hop music. Alec even recalled greatly admiring 2pac over the Notorious B.I.G. because of their beef. (It’s amazing how conflict gains peoples’ attention, even when they’re thousands of miles away.) His other favoites, including Nas, MC Solaar, IAM, Rakim, and EPMD make it clear that Alec didn’t get too caught up in the rap battles! This mixture of African and African American artists helped Alec appreciate the music of the African world.
When he heard Congolese rappers, Alec came to an important conclusion: “maybe we can do this.” Fatima, CIA, and others inspired him to create a rap group with his friend when he was about 12 years old. As a self-described recluse, it was difficult for Alec to develop the confidence to record and share his music with a broad audience for fear of being judged and criticized. However, hardship at home and in other countries, especially in immigration jail, convinced him that he had no reason to fear other people’s opinions of his music. “It wasn’t until I spent some time in immigration jail that I told myself when I get out, I’ll record, who cares about the critics.” Some time after his nine-month stint in a U.S. immigrant detention center, Alec Lomami made good on his promise to himself and recently released “Kinshasa,” a single from his forthcoming EP, Mélancolie Joyeuse.
“Kinshasa” is a mixture of western sounds with the soul and lyrics of a truly diasporic African whose love for home cannot be denied, despite the problems it faces due to a long history of colonialism and war. Rapping in French and Lingala (one of over 200 languages spoken in DRC), he discusses his experience as a diasporic being whose identity spreads across various cultures, but does not fit squarely into any one of them.
On his forthcoming EP, Mélancolie Joyeuse, listeners can expect Alec’s music to be “conversational.” in other words, as a pop artist with consciousness (as opposed to a conscious artist), he plan to provide us with a wealth of lessons learned from his personal experiences with hopes that We will accept the invitation into his world, build with him, and glean something positive from what he has to share. Alec is putting the project together with the dual purpose of challenging himself to step outside of his typically “low key and chill” character. This “upbeat and super fun” EP will contrast sharply with the follow-up, which has yet to be titled. “I’m not sure I’ll ever make another record with this happy go lucky feel. The second EP will be a little darker, something more in the line of new wave meets Hip Hop.”
When you hear or see the name, “Alec Lomami,” it’s important to keep in mind that he is an artist in his own rite, but that he produces for other artists too. One of his artists, a young Congolese emcee who goes by the moniker “Well$,” is featured in Alec’s recently released track, “Pop Revolution.” Alec also dreams of one day producing an album for Papa Wemba or Lokwa Kanza, as well as working with Iyadede whose sounds he really digs. “But by in large, I like to work with people I’m friends with to make records that are more organic.”
Alec Lomami is currently traveling to Zimbabwe & South Africa where he plans to finish recording his current music project, connect with some of Southern Africa’s best artists, and get his Masters Degree in theological ethics. You can keep up with him as he treks about the globe via Twitter and Facebook. Also, you can check out his music as it becomes available on Soundcloud.