French rapper Ninho was seemingly everywhere by the start of the 2020s. He’s translating Atlanta trap for a French audience in a way that’s landed him at the top of the charts—and he’s not wasting a single moment of his fame. Born William Nzobazola in the Parisian suburb of Yerres in 1996, Ninho was raised by parents of Congolese descent. He was obsessed with hip-hop early; he tried his hand at releasing mixtapes and hit gold unexpectedly in 2016 with M.I.L.S (maintenant ils le savent, or “now they know it”), which hit No. 11 on the French album chart. Blessed with a lyrical gift and a gruff flow, Ninho became known early for hard-hitting rhymes, but that mixtape showed his versatility with hits like “Dis-Moi Que Tu M’aimes”, a convincing trap song about finding love amid the pressure cooker of urban life. Alternating between chart-friendly trap and heavier rap, his first proper album, Comme prévu, hit the No. 1 spot in France upon release, thanks in part to the melancholic hit track “Mamacita”, a song that’s half love song, half exhortation to a girlfriend to stay silent about his presumed drug dealing. His 2018 M.I.L.S 2.0 mixtape kept up the relentless pace, with songs like the Latin-tinged “Un Poco” lightening the vibe. In 2019, Destin continued a move toward radio-friendly singles, and his third mixtape, 2020’s hastily released (to preclude a leak) M.I.L.S. 3, widened his fanbase with songs like the emotive “Lettre à une femme”.
BORN02 April 1996