Born in Cameroon and raised in France, OL1KU (Alain Banag) has been active in the French urban scene since 1997 with KU2H (“Coup de hache”) based in Nanterre, a Parisian quartier. Settled in Montreal since 2000, he soon joined the ranks of Les Architekts and their extended family 13e Étage (Sans Pression, Cobna, Joe B.G.). He participated on many of their projects, music videos and important shows such as FrancoFolies and a Quebec tour with Faf Larage and Shurik’n (IAM).
A much-appreciated lyricist and elite MC, OL1KU is releasing his debut solo album « La distance » over hip hop and reggae beats, with a dash of tribal dance flavour. A personal testimony to his long journey-as the album title implies-from Africa to deep attachment to his new homeland- which he proudly represents as a Quebec Tae Kwon-do champion-OL1KU also dedicates a touching song to his little girl Léane. His core values shine brightly throughout the album : family, cultural diversity, integration and inclusion.
To achieve his goal, artists from a wide spectrum were invited to appear on the album, from multi-award Montreal-based hip hop meisters Ray Ray (Les Architekts)-who also produced and mixed the album-and DJ Choice (ex-Dubmatique), upcoming female techno producer Reagan Grey, Benin-born Koudjo (Rohff), and Helsinki, Finland top-notch beatmaker Sakke. His support and admiration for female artists can be seen with cameos from France’s rap star Princess Aniès, italo-quebecoise MC Dee (Atach Tatuq) and Jamaican toaster Kya Kindu. Other well-known collaborators are Paul Cargnello (ex-Vendettas), Gardy Fury (ex-O.N.E., Corneille’s first group), Frenchi Blanco (FP Crew) and from Nairobi, the Kenyan Bamboo (K-South), known as the « king of African hip hop ».
“Bridge builder:… French MC O.L.1.K.U. has managed to climb the Quebec rap ladder to its humble zenith in a relatively short time, and is now comfortable allied with some of the most hardcore players in the game ” –Josh Dolgin. Hour
“Dès son arrivée à Montréal en 2000… le talent d’écrivain et le flow particulier du rappeur avaient attirer l’attention de la communauté artistique ” –Sébastien Tétrault. ICI, Têtes fortes 2005