Ken Kiz and Ngongull ze Blackman, the two dreadlocked emcees that make up Poetes Fyziks, are both natives of Gabon. The pair met in the early nineties as rivals in different local rap groups. They joined forces after recognizing each other’s passion for hip hop’s powerful voice, and their uncanny ability to flow so well together.
By 2008, the duo were forced to leave their home country due to their stubborn outspokenness and the lack of interest among Gabonese politicians in young artists with big mouths. They bounced around the continent and finally settled in Ouagadougou, where they have become a mainstay to the scene.
Poetes Fyziks’ music evokes the golden era of underground hip hop in the US. There’s a certain grit and hunger that stood out in the 90s and still remains in their music today. Their style is reminiscent of Blackstar in their heyday: revolutionary, energetic, b-boy styles. When they perform, everything clicks. You can tell that Ken and Ngongull are experts at feeding off each others’ energies. They flow seamlessly between languages and are never afraid to throw a fresh freestyle into the mix.
‘Une vie, Une douleur,Une Victoire’ (‘A life, a Pain, a Victory’) was recorded in 2010 across various studios across Ouagadougou and on a shoestring budget. My favorite track is “Ce que l’on pense.” Check out the music video for that track, shot in Ouagadougou:
You will be hard pressed to hear pair of artists who live and breathe hip hop to the extent that these two emcees do. Ken and Ngongull have sacrificed their homes, their lives–everything– for hip hop. Their persistence and desire to remain politically active and outspoken at all costs is synonymous with being devoted emcees. With their latest release Poetes Fyziks are giving new definition to the phrase “and ya don’t stop!”