James BKS Releases His New Single
French-Cameroonian producer, rapper & musician James BKS is back with new single ‘Celebrate Blessings’, the first taste of ‘Wolves Of Africa Part 2’, the follow up to his much-praised 2022 debut album, which featured collaborations with Little Simz, Idris Elba, Q Tip, Will.i.am and Royce da 5’9”. The new single from James – available on all platforms.
An expression of gratitude which champions benevolence and positive energy over obstacles, James sets ‘Celebrate Blessings’ to Bantu rhythms and an African gospel choir, blended into elements of drill and hip hop with the afrofuturist’s touch that is fast becoming his trademark. Speaking about his development as a solo artist – having originally made his name in the U.S. producing for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Akon, Puff Daddy and Ja Rule through the 2010s – James notes;
I had to perform my songs myself so that the public would understand my music. ‘Celebrate Blessings’ marks a new stage in my artistic career. I am fully embracing my new role as a performer in addition to being a producer, and my musical style is becoming more refined and assertive. The percussion and different rhythms of my Cameroonian roots but also the gospel songs of Congo, South Africa or Nigeria made me want to create a track that borrows and explores these Bantu roots and fuses them with hip-hop and current pop while telling my story.
The seeds of James BKS own solo career were sewn when he finally connected with his biological father, Manu Dibango, having been raised by his mother in France. He gradually formed a strong bond with his father, like a slow and thoughtful journey back to his roots. Following this reunion, James immersed himself in Douala culture, alongside Bulu and Bikutsi rhythms. Shaped by these new-found musical influences (and his pop background), ‘Wolves Of Africa Part 1’ reverberated with African culture and a wish to leave a positive trace on future African generations – fittingly, it includes the track ‘Kwele’, based on the sample of ‘Senga Abele’, originally recorded by his father in 1990.
Due for release in September 2023, ‘Wolves Of Africa Part 2’ promises to further finesse James’ forwards-facing brew of elements including Congolese guitars, deafening bass from Nigeria, playful female choirs from Cameroon and Congolese brass, with collaborators including the likes of Angelique Kidjo, Yemi Alade and Ibrahim Maalouf amongst many others.