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Congolese-French Rapper Young Paris Wants Afrobeats to Be "Open to Everyone"

The Roc Nation artist discusses African culture in the mainstream and "One Dance" with Toronto choreographer Esie Mensah.

by Daily VICE
21 September 2016, 1:43am

Photo courtesy of Daily VICE. This article appeared originally on THUMP Canada.


Toronto's The Heard Festival is an annual event series that celebrates black culture through music and dance. For young African-Canadian artists looking to showcase their work, it has become the perfect platform to come together and collaborate with other likeminded performers. This year's edition took place from Aug. 23 to Sept. 4, and featured a variety of artists, including a collaboration between Brooklyn-based French-Congolese rapper Young Paris (aka Milandou Badila) and Toronto dancer and choreographer Esie Mensah.

Before the former signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation, he spent his early years growing up in the dance world, where his father co-founded the first National Ballet of Congo. At the age of 16, he became interested in hip-hop, and has since continued to evolve both crafts. Earlier this year, Badila put out African Vogue, a ten-track mixtape co-produced by Ben Bronfman.

Speaking with Daily VICE at their rehearsal, he and Mensah discussed fusing dance and Afrobeats, African culture in the mainstream, and of course, Drake and Wizkid's 2016 chart-topping collaboration "One Dance."

Watch the interview below.

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Tagged:
Drake
daily vice
choreography
Roc Nation
afrobeats
mainstream
Young Paris
Esie Mensah
Heard Festival