About Maître Gims
Maître Gims is nothing if not multifaceted, a platinum-selling francophone rap star with Afropop blood in his veins. Born Gandhi Djuna in Kinshasa, DR Congo, in 1986, he's the son of Djanana Djuna, "rumba rock" king Papa Wemba's longtime vocal accompanist in Viva la Musica. And though his family split up following a move to France when Gandhi was a toddler, he would eventually reunite it on record and stage. In 2003, Gims became one of the cofounders of Sexion d'Assaut, the Wu-Tang Clan-ish rap collective he would record with for a decade. In the meantime, the martial arts-inspired, shades-sporting Gims began to emerge solo, releasing his first single in 2006. But it wasn't until 2013 that Gims made a dizzying ascent, with Subliminal—his debut full-length and a clear bid to use his sweeping tenor to transcend the limits of French rap that he'd probed in Sexion d'Assaut. It established Gims' bona fides as a charismatic and convincingly versatile performer adept at R&B, dancehall, soul, rap, and French chanson, a blend epitomized by megahit "Bella." His supersized 27-track 2015 follow-up, Mon Coeur Avait Raison, is divided into lengthy pop and hip-hop sections, its hits—"Est-ce que tu m'aimes?" and Afropop-referencing "Sapés comme jamais"—reflecting the French culture Gims never fully embraces, while his freestyling offers a harsh counterpoint. Gims doubled down on his maximalist bid for French rap-pop sovereignty with 2018's Ceinture Noire, a 40-track epic that features an international dream team of guests—and, meaningfully, his father and rapping brothers.
BORNMay 6, 1986