MILK.XYZ International: MHD is Taking French Afrotrap Global
The French music scene is getting a major makeover, and there’s one rapper to blame: MHD. At the forefront of a new dual genre christened Afrotrap, which combines urban beats with African instrumentals, MHD is turning France—and the rest of Europe along with it—on its head. In 2015 he was delivering pizzas and turning out viral YouTube videos. That didn’t last long—almost immediately he was picked up, and within a year had released his debut self-titled album. Since then, it’s gone double platinum, and the artist himself has watched his YouTube views continue to climb into the tens of millions. What’s more, his tracks have been the soundtrack to more than one adidas commercial and have been picked up by the likes of Drake and Stormzy.
If it wasn’t obvious, this 22 year old has one impressive resumé—and he’s just getting started. MILK.XYZ sat down with the rising star to talk new music, a headlining US tour, and what it’s like as a European coming stateside; check the full interview below.
I want to start at the beginning—you went from delivering pizzas to going viral and now you’re on top. What was that journey like? Was it something you expected or hoped for?
I didn’t expect any of this at all, none of it was calculated. The things I have experienced over the past two years have been truly special. I get to travel a lot and I perform loads of concerts, but I also have to work very hard. It’s an incredible adventure for me.
Your debut album went double platinum. How have you grown as an artist since that release? What have you learned about the industry since then?
I have a team around me who I trust and I let them manage the “music industry” aspect of everything. As an artist, I have learned a great deal through meeting other people who are musically different from me and through traveling as well, I’ve discovered a lot in a very short time. I think I have matured quite a bit in the last two years.
I want to talk about the growth of the Afrotrap genre and your role in that. What do you think makes Afrotrap such a popular sound in 2017?
Young people who come from the diaspora like me were brought up with these two cultures: the hip hop music with which we grew up, and the traditional African music that we heard at home. So I think people were ready for this mix and that allows them to listen to a piece of hip hop, but to be able to dance to it!
From a European perspective, what is it like breaking into the US market? In what ways are the fans similar or different in their taste and reactions?
I could tell you in two weeks after my tour! We are excited to play in the US and we can’t wait to see the American fans.
What’s the hip hop scene like right now in Paris and across Europe?
The hip hop scene is doing very well and is very productive.
You’ve obviously had outrageous success already; what’s the next step? What goals have you set for yourself for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
I’m currently working at the studio and soon I will finish my second album, so my next goal will be the release of the album and continuing my tour.
Featured image courtesy of Elisa Parron
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