Born in Kinshasa and raised in Hackney, Prince Kongo is one of the most important figures in the underground culture. With a unique sound, combining Grime and African undertones, Prince Kongo’s music is his way to fight against the norm, taking inspiration from artists such as Missy Elliot, D Double E or Koffi Olomide. The dystopian MC creates music for what he thinks the future will sound like: dark, edgy and stylised, but always trying to inspire others through his songs and his message.
Let’s start by getting to know you a bit, could you tell us who Prince Kongo is?
Prince Kongo is a rapper, singer, songwriter, Choreographer and Director whose mission is to inspire through sound and movement.
You are originally from Congo but you grew up in Hackney, East London. You mix heavy grime with African undertones; how do you combine both cultures in your art?
I reconstruct my identity through the music I create. It’s important for me to use tones and keywords people from those cultures can familiarise themselves with. At the same time, I experiment by incorporating Lingala into the mix as language is important especially when discussing identity.
You have named yourself ‘the underground dystopian MC’, why did you choose this name to introduce yourself as an artist?
The most difficult thing about being an artist is people trying to box you into a category. This is my way of giving people insight into how I see myself and my art. Dystopian because I create music for what I think the future will sound like dark, edgy and stylised. Underground represents artistic freedom.
Which artists, from the past and present do you admire the most?
Missy Elliot, D Double E, Koffi Olomide and Werrason.
You use your voice to showcase strength and resistance to the norm. In the Bo Yaka video – which has amazing and vibrant visuals – you are calling people to dance and express through movement. What is the main purpose or message you want to transmit with your music?
I hope my music will make people dance and also inspire a new generation after me. I want people to see the importance of being an individual and self-expression. Hopefully, the confidence in my music will make my audience fearless.
Your latest release is Na Biso, which means 'amongst us' in Langala. Can you tell us a bit about the new track? How has your creative process changed during the pandemic?
Na Biso is very gritty but still has a sense of humour. It’s about having confidence in being different. I go back and forth between English and Lingala it demands your attention which is why it’s the first single from Komplexx. I have always been a spontaneous creator, It’s like a spiritual process where I let my creativity run wild. With the pandemic, I used the time I had at home to choreograph and perfect my craft.
You have been releasing music for around 5 years. How has your music evolved since you dropped your first song until now?
My music has always been about experimentation and I have continued to do that by working with different producers and genres. It’s been great because I feel with each song released people are starting to understand my creative vision. Alternative, British and African, a portrait of myself and I have so much more to offer.
Also, we are excited for your release of EP, Komplexx, which will be out in September. What can we expect? Can you tell us about your process?
I’m super excited about this EP because it’s going to be my first full body of work available for streaming and purchase. Komplexx represents me as an artist it’s strong, bold and stylized. I’ve got a song with British Masturd and I’m working with French producer Bamao Yende. It brings together elements of rap, drill and afro-beats, I call it the appetizer until the album. Komplexx is the project that I feel really embodies my musical style and you will all see why once it’s released.