French-Cameroonian hip hop newcomer MIKANO, just dropped the pop-driven, Afrotrap single ‘Silhouette’
The cut is the first instalment from his forthcoming mixtape, ‘Melting Balloons’, planned for release in Spring 2020. On the meaning behind the song, Mikano explained: “It celebrates the female beauty in all its diversity. The word ‘Silhouette’ entails an outline with a featureless interior, we can see it’s a woman, but we can’t see her skin colour”.
Entirely produced by up and coming Parisian producer Sutus, the single mixes a pop-driven afrobeat melody with trap-tinged beats; “I wanted to create a genre-blending track, unifying different music cultures, the African element with British and American styles,” clarifies the young rapper.
Growing up in cities as diverse as Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Amsterdam, Mikano is the perfect example of a Third Culture Kid whose music has been dramatically influenced by his rootless past. This only added to his fascination with cultural music genres: “There are definitely gains and pains of moving around different countries. I personally feel lucky to have been exposed to different music cultures,” but it wasn’t always easy – he admits, talking about the racial discrimination he and his sister experienced in some places.”
“When I settled down in Paris, I began to compose and write, inspired by the music that I experienced at each stage of my life and my travels”, adds the rapper, “singing in English isn’t a commercial choice, is the language I spoke growing up and the one I built my flow on.”
Inspired by artists from different genres such as Agnès Obel, Frank Ocean and Alabama Shakes, Mikano’s first two EPs ‘No Devices Found’ and ‘Blind Man Dreams’, have seen support from some of the most prestigious French music publications including Tsugi and Rolling Stone.
Most French-speaking rappers struggle to find fame outside France – even though the country is the second biggest market for hip-hop. It is time for a French, English speaking rapper to break the rules, and Mikano’s ‘Silhouette’ has the potential to set the young rapper on the right path for international success.