Photos Victor Corolleur

Lassy King Massassy, artist comedien
The advocate of the just causes

Do you know the best rap album of the year in Mali? Do tire your brain because it’s not in sale yet. “Niokala So” (the horse of wood) is signed by LMK (Lassy King Massassy). He’s a young rapper with scathing rhymes and poignant messages.

According to the Bambaras’ thoughts, the one who get on the back of this horse to try to seduce people is wasting his time because he’s mocking of himself. This philosophy explains the choice of the title of the first solo album of Lassina Coulibaly/ Lassy King Massassy (LKM). “Those who think that the African peoples believe in their lies and demagogical speeches are wrong” said the king to justify his choice; a choice that very well represents the engagement of the young rapper.

Niokala So, an auto-produced album with about two millions of FCFA (3.048,00 €) is much more a pamphlet dipped into vitriol than a musical work because the engagement exceeds the rappological revolt. Corruption, demagogy, megalomania, misery, famine, privatization, religion, delinquency are the menu of tracks like “Jamana Jô, Duwawu! Religion, Fabara, Yèlèma, Babayo, Ananà min...”. Nobody is spared. LKM reminds the youth that a nation can not be built with the motto “laziness and weakness”.
He’s not gentle with the religious leaders who are preaching in the political arena.

But the descendant of Biton Coulibaly is especially unable to stand politicians. More than a revolt, "Fabara" strongly condemns a class who made of Africa the cancer of the world. The youth adores this engaged speech condemning the “fascist, macho, megalomaniac, source of discord. You don’t care of us. It’s not the changing of Congo Kinshasa’s name that will make it a nation favouring speech and circulation liberty.
A justified offensive because “in Africa, the governments are having wonderful times. States of vicious and unfair laws with unlimited mandate fighting for “Ivoirity” in order to eliminate the opponents". Can we expect something else with “leaders who have come out of the roads of neo-colonialism and imperialism; People who have no brain and think that any governmental thing is theirs forever and who sow in peoples the seeds of tribal and racial hate.
Of course it’s difficult to diagnose the problems of Africa because there is no “racial or tribal war in Africa, but political short-sightedness of the despotic regimes , half civil…soldier and leaders dealing like armed puppet used to kill to serve the boss…foreign military forces that come on continents to stole the market of gold and diamonds”.

Preaching in a desert? Do you want more?
So don’t miss Niokala so of Lassy King Massassy. It will be soon on sale and it has all the ingredients to be the best album of rap in Mali in 2003.

Niokala So is an opus on which the messenger has invited his wife Aminata Doumbia (chorus singer of Salif Keïta), Tata Pound and Fatoumata Diawara (heroine of the film "Sya"). But the surprise is the duet with Salif Keïta in "Anana min" (a remake of the nightingale’s hymn). LMK did his best to have the maximum of success. The result is wonderful. He couldn’t have done better than that to mark his return after three years of absence.
Lassy is not unknown because he’s one of the forerunners of rap in Mali with the band King Da Dia. The album of this band was produced by Salif Keïta and the promotion was also made in Europe by him.
It’s in France that the road of the different elements of the band divided. “At the end of our tour, they preferred to stay there. I’ve always thought that my destiny is in my country, my inspiration comes from there. I want to be a reference for Malian youth. It won’t be possible for me to know their problems if I stay in Europe, so I came back home to serve my people and the youth” he says. He then chose difficulty because France offered him more opportunities of success than Mali. “I’m proud of being a Malian, an African. I’m for integration and African union. This is why I’m proud to see that my country is ready to leave a part or the totality of its sovereignty for the realisation of the African union. It’s one of the rare positive actions of the politicians” he explains.

Despite this strong engagement for the just causes, Lassy is not a violent fellow. “I’m engaged since childhood. It will be difficult for someone whose parents are wasting money to stand on the microphone. It’s not the same case of the one who has seen almost all kind of misery and is still confronted to revolting situations. He knows how much people is suffering and knows what they expect. He’s then the good one to defend them, denounce and demand” he declared. The only thing he’s afraid of is to be preaching in a desert. “One day, when I was listening to my songs with my grand mother, she said to me: “Lassy, you’re right in your engagement but I’m afraid it won’t change anything. People will just admire you but no one will act”. A pertinent analyse coming from an old woman who’s not an intellectual … I’m afraid she’s right”.

This artist has a vocational training certificate of building drawing and a certificate in English and Bamanan (national language). He had already taught during five years in an experimental school in Kati. It’s an experience that has increased his analysing capacities.
We then understand the pedagogy present in his very engaged compositions. LKM is at the same time a teacher, a rapper and a comedian; those who have seen "Sékou Fasa" and "Le retour de Bougouniery" already know it.
In this play, he interprets the role of a young rapper who wants to conquer the heart of a spoilt girl. He’s not unperceived at all near confirmed comedians such as Diarrah Sanogo "Bougouniery", Hamadoun Kassogué... one experience more for a young comedian who has almost find his way. “Theatre allowed me to acquire a scenic presence. In the past I was able to captivate fans of rap, now I can keep the attention of any kind of public when I’m on stage” confesses “Kini” (that’s how his uncle in the play call him, he’s unable to pronounce King)

And this first experience gave an idea to Lassy who is now preparing a one man show as he’s ready to realise a musical comedy if there is an occasion. Lassy wants to be a comedian serving the people, the poor, the hopeless, the oppressed, the unemployed… the ones the system forgot, and his projects are as huge as his ambitions. King is also very interested in the young people who are endangered by of STI (sexual transmittable infections) and AIDS. “Before my wedding, I used to make a test regularly. Even married, I go on doing it with my wife who finds that totally normal. The indifference of the youth comes from the fact that they are not informed enough. I used to see huge billboards against sexual transmittable infections and AIDS and I was happy but now, all of them are gone. The information campaign about AIDS must be constant, until people say: We are fed up with hearing about it” this is his opinion.
The King thinks that “Mali is the peace nest of Africa” that must not give up the potentialities of development. He doesn’t forget his wife Aminata Doumbia "Mimi" who is a chorus singer of Salif Keita; in fact, he wants to produce the first album of his companion for life, an album who is totally recorded and mixed.
Awaiting the first steps of Mimi, Niokala So will soon be on sales and the wish is that “Malians show me that I’ve been a faithful messenger who fulfilled their expectations and did not make a mistake on their preoccupations”.
So he reminds:“If the music lovers really want to support me in my engagement, they must stop buying pirated tapes. Now it’s very easy to identify legal tapes because they have shining stickers on the covers”. You don’t help a farmer by encouraging thieves to steal his harvests. That’s normal.

Moussa Bolly
Photos Victor Corolleu

P 03/03/2004