We had the opportunity to pick French-Cameroonian rapper MIKANO’s brain.
Although French hip-hop may be the second biggest market for hip-hop in the world, newcomer MIKANO is one of those rare Francophone rappers that prefers to rap in English. It makes sense as most French rappers struggle to find success outside French speaking territories or countries that neighbour metropolitan France. Having grown up in cities as diverse as Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Amsterdam, he’s the perfect example of a Third Culture Kid whose music has been dramatically influenced by his rootless past.
His latest release “Silhouette” is taken from his forthcoming mixtape Melting Ballons, which is planned for release this Spring. The single brilliantly combines afrobeat and trap with sprinkles of pop music, showing his immense potential. Read our conversation below to find out more about MIKANO.
How are you doing MIKANO?
I’m good thank you.
Congratulations on the new single, is this the sound you want to go for now?
No, it really depends on the mood I’m in and it changes on every project so I doubt this will be my only sound.
A French man rapping in English is very brave, what made you want to do that?
Actually it was all natural, was only listening to US Rap and R&B as a child & I lived in countries where English was the main language so I just felt more comfortable.
That makes sense.How did your family and friends react to it?
Some were very supportive from the beginning, others a bit less but it’s all sorted out now, I guess.
Do you think a French artist can ever make a proper breakthrough in the US or UK?
Of course, why not? It shouldn’t even be a question, Music is music, period. It’s supposed to be the ultimate universal language.
True.What’s the story behind “Silhouette”?
“Silhouette” is a women’s anthem. There’s strictly no nationality involved, no skin colour or genre, just beauty. That’s why I named it silhouette because you never know what’s behind a silhouette, you just see it as it is.
Was the music video your idea?
Yes it was born from my ideas, but was made it possible thanks to Juliette Labrousse, who directed the video. She basically made my idea fit within our budget.
If you could pick 5 UK-based artists to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
JGrrey, Celeste for their amazing soulful and warm voices. I’d like to collaborate with Lancey Foux for his craziness. And finally Stormzy & Skepta because it’s just goals
Great choices.Do you plan on performing in the UK any time soon?
As soon as possible. It’s my favourite country, to be honest. London is one of my favourite cities.
Noted.What do you want to achieve in 2020?
My aim is to perform in different countries, starting from Europe. I am ready to go on stage.
Tell us something we don’t know.
I’m currently eating pastas everyday bro, for real! Fuck weed, it’s just pasta arrabbiata all day, every day.