Socially conscious Afro vibes: Badi releases new album, Trouble Fête

Pictures by Ramzy Bentrad

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The Brussels artist teams up with Boddhi Satva for a debut album that injects some much-needed Afro sounds into the Belgian music scene.

Badibanga Ndeka (or just Badi) is no stranger in the Belgian music industry. As a former member of the Chant D. Loups collective, the versatile rapper, entrepreneur and activist is set to shake things up with an infectious reinvented Afro sound. His debut album in collaboration with Afro-house icon Boddhi Satva, Trouble Fête, drops today. Lockdown or not, after seeing his appearance on the Colors YouTube channel this week, we know we're in for a wild ride.

Trouble-Fête will be released on Batakari, a new sub-label of the legendary BBE record label that also released music by Madlib, Laurent Garnier and Carl Craig. How did you end up there?

“My first collaboration with BBE was back in 2016 when my producer Boddhi Satva and I released our single, Integration, which was also our first collaboration. While we were recording the album, Boddhi got together with BBE-founder Peter Adarkwah, and they launched the Batakati branch together. So for me, it totally made sense to release my project on there. It all happened naturally”.

Lyrics need to have a purpose while making people dance at the same time.

What do you bring to the table in Belgium? Do we have a lack of Afro sounds in our music industry?

“I’m bringing my own Belgo-Congolese story, with strong and clear messages. Sound-wise, you could say I make hip hop with many pan-African nuances. These influences have, in my opinion, been absent in the Belgian music scene. When people in the industry first reacted to my music, they often reacted as if my music is something they have never heard before. I was surprised because ‘Afro’ is currently widely considered as the new, fresh sound in contemporary hip hop. Unfortunately, it makes sense for me in the end, because this is intrinsically linked to the lack of visibility of the African diaspora in Belgium”.

What's the message you want to bring with this album? What can we expect?

“On this album, I wanted to tell unheard stories, like the struggles of undocumented people, the fight for equality of women and the socio-economic struggles of people in poor neighbourhoods. Writing meaningful songs is important to me. Lyrics need to have a purpose while making people dance at the same time. It's the harmony of my words and Boddhi's Ancestral Soul sound that made this album come to life”.

What's in the pipeline for you now?

Believe it or not, I have a few gigs coming up, like Les Trans Musicales in Rennes – for which I’m currently preparing my show. Other than that, I’m managing my clothing brand, BANXV, and I'm composing new music. I’ve had a very productive lockdown, which has allowed me to move forward quicker than expected. It looks like I will be collaborating with some artists I’ve been looking up to. There’s plenty of stuff in the pipeline!