Young Paris is one artist passionate about the African continent, and this he expresses not just in his music but in his signature face painting which is a tribute to his late father and the tradition he left behind.
With the emergence of Afrobeats on the international radar in recent years, a long of young artistes with African heritage around the world have openly embraced the genre and helped in pushing its appeal to their respective audience.
Primarily a mainstay in the United Kingdom, one of those artistes in the United States who have also associated with the culture is Milandou Badila popularly known by his stage name, Young Paris.
Young Paris, is a rapper and model of Congolese heritage who got signed to Roc Nation in 2016 shortly after the release of his debut EP, African Vogue.
The rapper who recently dropped his latest studio effort, My Tribe is touring Nigeria for the first time, and he stopped by the Pulse office for a chat covering his career, the controversy with Mr Eazi, Roc Nation and his new album.
One of the very first questions he responded to was his deal with Roc Nation, ”After my EP, Africa Vogue, I was touring in a lot of Afrobeats party introducing people to a lot of hits from Africa, then this A&R came to see me, that they loved my sound, and I was invited to the office…
At that time, I had no idea it was Roc Nation, then I walked into the building and I saw the big Roc Nation sign and they told me they wanted to sign me, it happened really quickly”.
Speaking on Roc Nation’s visit to Nigeria in 2015 to seek African talents, ”Me and Tiwa got signed around the same time… in the States, they don’t really understand the African sound but it is a process, they have a vision and it is going to take time, cause they want talents with international sounds”.
Young Paris address incident with Mr Eazi
Clarifying the entire issue, he says, ”It’s love, one of my guys sent me something and I was in a period when I was seeing how people were taking my project and he (Mr Eazi) was talking about this guy who was doing this type of sound and I felt very much he was talking about me and I felt he was going through a really cocky time and needed to remind him of that…
I’m a fan of his music, I feel like ‘Pour Me Water’ was his response to the whole incident, sometimes though I think you need to be checked, to remind yourself to be humble”.
On Fela and the difference between Afrobeat and Afrobeats
Young Paris who stated that his favourite Fela Kuti song is ”Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense”, admits, ”For me, Fela is like bigger than Bob Marley, I love artistes that have a message with their music but also that are creative about it and inspires his vision for Africa.
In the States, he was like our Scarface, my parents bought a picture of Fela in the house and watching his interviews and listening to his message blew me away, Fela has a beautiful darkness to him.”
Restating his stand on the difference between Afrobeat and Afrobeats, ”Afrobeat is about Fela and his legacy, and when I think about Afrobeats, this is like the new generation sound, Afrobeats covers all the new sound coming out of Africa, while Afrobeat is simply Fela and his real Africa sound”, he says.
On the explosion of Nigerian music internationally
”This is amazing, I think everytime that Wizkid and Davido wins, it is actually making all of us win, I really celebrate these guys as they are making the industry bigger and opening more doors for other artistes.”
His second studio album My Tribe released in May, features a number of Nigerian artistes and consists of a lot of African sounds infused into hip-hop.
”I made this album for Africa… the productions and collaborations are a lot stronger’,
”the feedback received thus far has been amazing, My Tribe was my way of showing a different kind of range to my music, I added more features and flavour to my sound”, he says.
Among the Nigerian artistes he has worked with, he rates Skales highly, ”Skales is madly talented, I think he is so underrated, he has this way of playing on words and has that international sound to his music”, while naming Olamide as one artist he wants to work with.
The message he is preaching with his music is a message of Africa, ”I want to celebrate Africa… My father always told me about the beautiful things in Africa and I always want people to see that in my message.
People don’t understand the true history and the impact that Africa has on the rest of the world and for me it is embracing what I believe is the most powerful continent”.
He is quite passionate about his brand Melanin, which was birthed by a social-media hashtag and focuses on embracing black beauty and culture, as he continues his tour of Africa with a trip to his home town of Congo Brazzaville, Young Paris concludes the chat with a message to Nigerian youths, ”Say no to drugs, it is wack”.