Although British-Gambian artist Pa Salieu (Also known as Afrikan Rebel) has only had his first breaking hit in January 2020, his presence in the UK rap scene is well-prominent and the strong message behind his lyrics has left us wanting for more. With undeniable hit songs such as Frontline, B***K and Energy from his debut 2020 mixtape Send Them To Coventry, addressing African spirituality & more, the 24 years old rapper is all about black empowerment and does not fear embracing it through his artistic expression.
Born in the United Kingdom however, raised in his homeland of Gambia, Pa Salieu was from early on already on a different path. Under the care of his grandmother, the British rapper learned a simple life filled with wisdom and love from his aunts and the local mosque. This is prevalent to the foundation that he is building his kingdom with today, from the proudful accent that he carries at all times to his beliefs as a young king in the making.
That being said, Pa Salieu’s life is far from all roses. On the streets of his second home Coventry, Pa has been shot 9 times in the head with a fair share of running from the law. Moreover, the cost to his actions in the past have had a hurdle to his achievements as an artist, dealing with cancelled shows and a few scrutiny from the media. Unsurprisingly, the frontline artist has not let it slow him down. Au contraire, Pa has been striving in recent years as a young leader more than ever, aside from music contributions, appearing as a public figure alongside Virgil’s Louis Vuitton designs and more. One of the key qualities that makes him distinguishable from the rest of the crowd is his fortitude and unshakeable faith. Throughout tough situations, the gambian rapper keeps on releasing music and proving to the world that he is built for this game and here for the long run.
Regardless of his troublesome past, Pa Salieu has grown tremendously since his breakout hit ‘Frontline’ in 2020. Here’s a list of his top songs concerning black empowerment and african spirituality;
On this track ‘B**K’, Pa Salieu dedicates his lyrics to embracing his skin tone and the fortitude that comes with carrying it. In particular, Pa describes black as more than just a skin colour, but a lifestyle. Not to mistake as gang affiliations, but rather hardship and a blessed life worth fighting for. For an instant, Pa mentions; ‘Little did they know, man a king, greatness. I come from warriors, I know my past’, which is a common narrative that he portrays throughout his music, always acknowledging his ancestral line and the fight it took for him to be spiritually protected against evil. There is no shame in his voice that projects insecurities and with simple yet strong lyrics, he accurately depicts the black experience in the UK today.
- Energy (feat. Mahalia)
This time around, on ‘Energy’ Pa Salieu focuses on the importance of protecting yourself from negative energy with this catchy chorus; ‘Why do you keep on wasting your energy? Let them never draw out the energy. They just want your focus and jealousy. Yeah, protect your energy’. This energy can be interpreted as much as spiritual attacks as negative media coverage the young artist has received since the beginning of his music career.
- Style & Fashion (feat. Obongjayar)
On another light, accompanied by Nigerian born singer Obongjayar, the duo showcase their fun side on track ‘Style & fashion’ portraying a flirty conversation while interacting with the opposite sex. To be exact, the pair highlight their african characteristics to win over the muse they are addressing. This comes across as a clever move to embrace African beauty and known black female features that get often enough looked down upon.