Rapper Convok’s 16 favourite Belgian releases

With his debut album, Un Jour Plus Vieux, finally set to drop on 14th October, we asked infamous Brussels-based rapper Convok to have a go at selecting some of his favourite Belgian cuts. Witness the local love.

1. Le Dé – 4ZOO (DELTA.PLANE, 2016 / La Brique)

I recently discovered Liège-based artist Le Dé, even though he already released 2 EPs – Life’s a beach (with LV BABY) and Delta.Plane – and I really like his style, somewhere between chant and rap. It’s quite musical. An artist to discover and to follow closely, as I’m sure he still has a lot of cool stuff to show us.

2. Losco – Charge (2014, Soulection)

I’m crazy about every track the guys behind Losco drop. Originating from Genk, their sound is soaring and aggressive, and their instrumental trap universe is really original. To be honest, ever since discovering this collective I’ve wanted to release something with exclusively their beats. If you don’t know them yet then go check their Soundcloud profile ASAP ;).

3. B-Lel – Téléphone Maison (Prod. Young Veterans, Échographie, 2015 / Handek Records)

B-lel isn’t just a brother to me, he’s also a talented artist. He’s been evolving in the Brussels hip-hop movement for a couple of years now, and I think he has achieved a level of maturity and eloquence in his work that turn him into an artist worth discovering and following (if you haven’t already). Don’t hesitate to get”Echografie”, his album from last year.

4. G.A.N – Appelle-moi G.A.N (Prod. ICO, Texte Symbole, 2016 / Paff Music)

G.A.N – previously Gandhi – needs no introduction. This Brussels-based rapper has been providing quality sounds for years now. His writing, his flow, his music – to me he has succeeded. His new album ‘Texte Symbole’ is available right now, and if you’re into rap then I urge you to make this one part of your collection.

5. Milla Brune – Nevermind (Nevermind (EP), 2013 / Soulfood Music Group)

Milla Brune, a soul singer from Brussels, has one of the most beautiful – if not the most beautiful –  voices in Belgium in my opinion. Each and every one of her tracks is a true pleasure to the ears, and I’m not even talking about her live performance, which is no less than breathtaking. She’s an artist that, according to me, deserves worldwide fame and should be discovered by everybody, no exceptions.

6. K-Otik – Poignée de Punchlines #RedVision (Prod. Mani Deïz, Série “Poignées de Punchlines”, 2014 / Give me 5)

In the ‘Poignées de Punchlines’ series – a concept launched by Give Me 5 that has online surfers choose words that are then included in rap texts – Mons-based rapper K-Otik provided one of the best ones in my opinion. Also, he and his right hand Pako are really active in the Belgian rap scene as the duo R2F (Retour 2 Flamme). They’ve released a couple of projects lately, amongst which their album ‘Une étincelle suffit’ from 2010. K-Otik’s solo project ‘Quitte ou double’ is also something to discover, and you can download it for free on kotik.be. Together with DJ Self on stage, the energy is pure. (I’m also making an appearance on their next album that’ll be out in 2017).

7. Woodie Smalls – Planet Shrooms (Planet Shrooms EP, 2016 / Sony Belgium)

I discovered this Sint-Niklaas based artist a couple of years ago. His sound is heavy yet has a disconcerting ease. High-level rap at its best. Being a US-rap fan myself, I can only appreciate a Belgian rapper creating something of this quality.

8. Todiefor – Tunak Tunak Tun (Tunak Tunak Tun – the remixes, 2016 / Sony Belgium)

When it comes to hybrid trap, I think Belgium has found itself a big talent with Todiefor, a young producer from Brussels. He already released a couple of excellent tracks, amongst which some international collaborations with big trap artists. This remix of Tunak Tunak Tun was released on Sony Music and only proves his talent. Destructive bass and nerving rhythm lovers, you’ve found what you’re looking for.

9. Mistral – Alpha (2015, self-released)

Brussels-based rapper Mistral is like an extraterrestrial creature to me. Eloquent and disciplined, he’s one of the big talents in the country, with thoughtful lines and technical experimentation, he’s really one to watch. His album ‘Doléances d’une plume’ is available on strikt-minimum.net.

10. Roméo Elvis & Le Motel – Morale (Morale EP, 2016 / L’Oeuil écoute Laboratoire, Back in the Dayz)

I mention this one because Roméo is without a doubt one of the most promising emerging artists in the Belgian rap scene. I’ve had the opportunity to see his evolution on stage for a couple of years now, first with l’Or du Commun, and then his solo projects, and I have the impression – maybe I’m wrong here – that he has really showed his worth with ‘Morale’, the album he released with Le Motel earlier this year. I love it just as much through my speakers as live on stage. And Le Motel’s role in the album shouldn’t be underestimated either, as his beats are just perfect for Roméo. Two artists to keep an eye on, definitely.

11. Seyté – Niente (Prod. Mani Deïz, 2015 / Self-released)

When talking about the great rap writers in Belgium, I really have to name Seyté, who is part of La Smala. It’s always a pleasure to hear him rap, whether solo or with others. He’s been active in the Brussels rap scene for years now, something of which his different albums – ‘Premier jet’, ‘À ciel ouvert’ (with El Chileno, another great Belgian writer to discover) and ‘Trois fois rien’ –  are proof. Huge respect.

12. L’Hexaler (ft. Paco & Swift Guad) – Nuits Blanches (Prod. Mani Deïz, À l’heure qu’il est, 2015 / La Fine Équipe Records)

L’Hexaler is a Walloon rapper from Seraing. His texts are sincere, his writing is touching, and he just has to be mentioned when talking about Belgian rap. He’s already well-known amongst the amateurs of the genre, and he has had the opportunity to perform in other French-speaking countries. An excellent ambassador of our national rap scene abroad, of which this track is proof. It’s a collaboration with a French artist. His album ‘À l’heure qu’il est’ just came out this year and is really worth the listen.

13. Dvtch Norris – Caught Up (Prod. Rascal, Caught Up – Single, 2016 / Beatville)

After Woodie Smalls there’s Dvtch Norris, aka Dutch. I discovered this Antwerp-born, English-speaking rapper recently through this track. I really like its atmosphere and the way he brings it. I often play this song during my DJ sets and it fits perfectly amongst US rap. I urge you to check him out, and personally I’m impatient to see what he’s going to come up with over the coming months.

14. Berrykrimi – Rook’n’Roll (Prod. Phasm, Elke Dag, 2016 / Self-released)

Dutch-spoken rap duo Berrykrimi are my friends, before anything. But I have to say that not a single artist in this list is mentioned because he’s a friend. I mention them because they are great artists, whose work I appreciate, and of whom I think they are worth discovering (voilà). So, before talking about Berrykrimi, I have to say that I’ve always had some difficulties with Dutch-spoken Belgian rap. I’ve listened to a lot of rap from the Netherlands instead. Yet I consider Berrykrimi amongst those who’ve made me reconsider Dutch-spoken rap from Belgium. I like their universe – sober, classic, simple yet with attention to detail and extremely well made – and their album ‘Elke Dag’ just came out, with a bunch of productions by Phasm and Dee Eye, both of them excellent Belgian beatmakers. I also put my hand to their album cover. But really, you should check them out on Facebook and  listen to their music, it’s worth it.

15. Big Shot Preacha Mat – La case des 27s (Carnage, 1997 / 9mm Recordz)

This track is a walk down memory lane for me, and by far my favourite Belgian rap release from back then. Preacha Mat is without a doubt the best Belgian rapper from this era – and maybe even from all-time – in my opinion. I played this track so many times when I was young that I still know it by heart, and I could rap it for you up to this day. You can consider it a hommage. Maybe today’s trap aficionados aren’t familiar with this era and won’t understand it, but I really don’t care. I wouldn’t do what I do today if I hadn’t listened to Preacha. Consider it said.

16. Apashe ft. Panther x Odalisk – No Twerk (Prod. Apache, 2014 / Kannibalen Records)

Apashe was born in Brussels but relocated to Montreal. Recognised internationally, notably after a collaboration with Adidas for a publicity campaign, his hybrid trap turn his tracks into something heavy and aggressive that transport me into their universe, which is defined by excess and extreme motivation. One of the biggest composers from Belgium. Heavy beat aficionados alike, this is for you.