About DJ Arafat
An influential Ivorian DJ, singer, and producer, DJ Arafat (born Ange Didier Houon) became a fixture of the coupé-décalé movement in the early 2010s and remained at the fore of the scene until his death in 2019. Known for his signature blend of dance, R&B, and hip-hop, Arafat released 11 albums and a stockpile of singles throughout his 15-year career, including the hits "Dosabado," "Kpangor," "Zoropoto," "Enfant Beni," and "Moto, Moto." He took home the best artist of the year award at the 2016 and 2017 Coupé-Decalé Awards.
Born in the Abdijan suburb of Yopougon and the son of popular singer, musician, and sound engineer Pierre Houon, Arafat started DJing at the age of 14. Taking his moniker from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat -- a nickname given to him by some Lebanese friends -- he began releasing records in the early 2000s. By 2009, he had become one of the most popular African artists in Francophone countries across the world and had begun to find success in other regions as well, with the BBC describing him as the "king" of coupé-décalé. Subsequent efforts like Kpankaka (2012) and Renaissance (2018) continued to resonate with fans, but tragedy was just around the corner. A hardcore motorcycle enthusiast, Arafat had one of his biggest hits in early 2019 with the single "Moto Moto." Sadly, he passed away later that August from injuries sustained from a motorbike accident. ~ James Christopher Monger.