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Pasi talks us through his new single ‘Patrice’: an ode to Lumumba and Congo.

Elephants, marble floors and impressive architecture. These form the background for Pasi’s new music video. An homage to Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of independent Congo, and an ode to the rapper's paternal country.

The catchy single ‘Patrice’ came out yesterday but don’t be fooled by the relaxed intro and catchy refrain. The lyrics are sharp and to the point. An expression of the rapper’s anger about the wrongdoing towards his father’s country and its people under colonial rule. It’s bittersweet though, cause the anger is also paired with feelings of pride about the freedom that was regained during the independence. Pasi’s talks us through his admiration for Patrice and wanting to heal his community.

Article by Ioni Villanueva.

‘PATRICE’ IS ABOUT INDEPENDENCE, BOTH CONGO’S AS WELL AS YOURS. WHO IS THE FIGURE OF PATRICE LUMUMBA TO YOU?

Patrice is just so fearless. He’s become like a mythical figure to the Congolese community just because of this fearlessness and the way he spoke his mind. It cost him his head later on, and I think in the moment he probably didn’t realize just how fearless he was. But he has just been such an inspiration to me and to many other Congolese people, you know? He became a martyr through everything that has happened. I think that because of the mystery surrounding his murder, his story turned into an epic tale.

THE VIDEO IS FILLED WITH HISTORY AND CULTURE. CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND HOW YOU ENDED UP IN THE AFRICA MUSEUM?

‘Patrice’ is a logical sequel to ‘Medaille’. The track has been ready for about a year and I was actually planning on releasing it sooner, around the summer. However, now is the perfect timing with it being 60 years since the assassination of Patrice Lumumba so it seemed better to wait a while.

When the time was right I contacted someone from the Africa Museum. They were immediately on board to work with me. In the end, I was not able to use all the rooms in the museum that I would have liked to use because it just wasn’t that easy during corona times. 2020 was such a difficult year due to the pandemic that I felt it wasn’t the time for me to start releasing music. I also didn’t want to jump on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon and use the situation to release it then. So I waited until now.

IN ‘MEDAILLE’ YOU ALSO RAP ABOUT COLONIALISM. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU TO TACKLE THESE SUBJECTS THROUGH MUSIC?

‘Medaille' and 'Patrice' are actually along the same lines. For me, it's more than logical that I make music about it, because I grew up with it. These are things I inherited from my family and from my parents. So it's only logical for me to be making this type of music. There's just so much mystery surrounding the murder of Patrice that it's important, especially now 60 years after his death, to say something about it, and to bring it up again. As for colonialism, it can still be felt in our society today.

What is also important is that the message has not yet really been delivered in Dutch rap yet. At least not in the way that I am bringing it now. It just makes it easier to understand for people living in Flanders. I don't think these stories are being expressed enough through music here in Flanders yet.

DO YOU FEEL ANY TENSION IN RECONCILING BOTH YOU BELGIAN AND CONGOLESE IDENTITY?

I can relate to both identities since I grew up with both cultures. So for me, I don’t really struggle with that. I think my music is quite nuanced in the sense that I don’t resent anyone.

I think that it can be healing for the African community though. There is just so much pain around the colonial past and it is such a difficult issue that I sometimes wonder how the African and Congolese community can heal. That is the big question. That's why I say in my track: 'Are we free in our heads?'. We need to have freedom in our heads and that is the most important point I want to make. I want to liberate the people and I hope that we reach a point where we don't forget the past, but that we can give it a place.



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