Little known to the general public, James BKS is a French composer of Cameroonian origin, having lived a large part of his life in the United States. It’s a bit of a bifurcation! He released on October 8, 2021, under his own label Grown Kid, a first album “Wolves of Africa”. I know that you say to yourself: Who is this singer with such an enigmatic name? And: What is its particularity? Patience! Everything in its hour. We’re just talking about the hat. In musical jargon, we’re talking about intro. Let’s not go too far. First, why such a ferocious title “Wolves of Africa”?
“Wolves of Africa”: a golden album
This album is a clever mix of r’n’b, African music and rap. It is a set of rhythms and vibrations that are interconnected and teeming with roaring wild beasts and the gentle floral exhalation of the Congo Basin forest. This two-part artistic project is a feat. Something almost unheard of. Especially for a Frenchman. James BKS only delivered half of this double-album with tracks like Kwele, MaWakanda, New Breed, No Unga Bunga and Kusema. On this album, he directed a XXL casting. There were only big names in African music, or almost: Will.I.Am, Q-tip, Little Simz, Idris Elba, Charlotte Dipanda, Gracy Hopkins, Mila J, Allan Kingdom, Manu Dibango. Wow! That’s a nice bunch of artists. Who is this famous James BKS whose halos of suspense you wear? Come on! Will you tell me?
He is known by his artist name: James BKS. In civil status, his name is James Edjouma. He was born in Paris in 1982. But France does not live up to her parents’ ambitions. They dream big; they fly to the United States: Virginia then Maryland. Her daughter, hairdresser at the base, opens a school of cosmetology. American girls love bling. The Daron makes import-export, a catch-all job, to say basically that he manages: he refuses to capitulate. James thinks bigger, still; he wants to become a professional basketball player. He has the looks of Michael Jordan, the hands of Denis Rodman, the face of the job, but doesn’t have the mind of an NBA player. He stumbles against a wall. It stuns him. But, it has the merit of bringing him back on the path that destiny has drawn: the universe of music. He hacks sounds, learns audio recording,… The spark finds the straw and everything ignites. But not for long. Like a condor in the air, it finds itself in its element. He continues to collaborate with artists such as Akon, Ja Rule, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy, etc. Despite collaborations with the stars, his projects are lagging behind. The musical development follows him. He wants to take a break to get better. He returns to Paris. Chance or stroke of fate?
Like father, like son! For God’s sake, you can’t lie…
The saying goes something close to this: wolves don’t make cats. Where could his passion for music come from? This question had worked for him a lot. Faced with his questions, his mother sat down. She gave him a revelation that would change his life. Which one? Your father is not your father. I can imagine the shock. It’s like the movie “Who’s your Daddy?” Who is it, then? Manu Dibango! The saxophone virtuoso. It’s loose. James falls for it. Unbelievable. But, his mother is not the type to tell cracks. It is impossible for a man to see clearly in the footwork of fate. One day, coming out of a Parisian hotel, he comes across a version of him stunned by age. His heart beats, he is “overwhelmed with emotions”: it is Manu Dibango. They have in common the “same stature, same camber, same smile…”. He runs away and cries in his mother’s ears. She guides him. He will find him: filial love will last until the death of Manu Dibango carried away by Covid. The sequence of these events, his relationship with his biological father and his return to his origins will allow James to forge a new, enlightened and thoughtful musical identity. It is from reading this news that the album “Wolves of Africa” was born….