A film in which he is the star, a job as the face of a cosmetics brand, a highly anticipated new album (cullinan): 2022 marks the year of the big comeback for Dadju. But was he really gone?
“I love music too much, it’s my whole life, but I don’t want to die on stage!” Thus spoke Dadju in 2018, while his album Gentleman 2.0 began his irresistible rise, with a total of 750,000 copies sold (Diamond Disc certification), making him a revelation in the industry, on a par with his brother Gims.
The jealous who had counted on a stroke of luck had to lose weight, to use the famous formula of Mokobé of 113, with the triumph in 2020 of Poison or antidotewhich exceeded the quadruple platinum certification, thanks in particular to the two singles Large bath and Melegimin featuring with Ninho and Soolking. The recipe for Gentleman has been duplicated: an album in two parts (the second subtitled Honey Book Edition) in order to multiply the streams, and also because the singer believed that: “the album has (was) not finished living, and I’m releasing an album to defend it until the end”.
In 2022, the situation has changed for Dadju: the challenger has definitively reached the title of sales champion, with hundreds of millions of YouTube views and more than a million equivalent sales for his two albums. In addition, he became a face for the L’Oréal brand, as seen in prime time TV spots.
Cinema and music
And its topicality is twofold. First a film directed by Nils Tavernier, Ima, in which Dadju plays the main role, his own. The plot is simple, Dadju goes to Kinshasa, the city in which he grew up, for an event concert. At the same time, a wealthy businessman convinces the singer to give a private concert in his estate.
And this is how Dadju will “fall in love”, as Damso, Ima would say, triggering a series of romantic adventures. Will the two main characters find love? Without spoilers, we will have understood that the suspense is not the main argument of this romantic comedy whose main actress is none other than Karidja Touré, discovered in 2014 in girl bandthe third feature film by Céline Sciamma, when she was only 20 years old.
Filmed in Kinshasa in thirty days during the heat wave of summer 2021, Ima is not a biopic, and we are far from 8 miles in terms of cinematic ambitions.
But the real challenge for Dadju is this disc of 17 songs, cullinanwhose first single was Kingreleased in mid-February, which already has almost twenty million views.
after the title Queen, this is called returning without risk. Where many so-called “urban” artists delight in a ghetto style with a drone flying over the city and shots in the stairwells, Dadju plays it very luxurious in his clip where he drives in particular Rolls- Royce on the ring road. Let’s point out a curious originality to this successful single: Dadju addresses it… to his girlfriend’s ex. An astonishing twist, but obviously pleasing.
The dominant of this album is of course always love, from all angles and in all sauces, with this afro tempo which is in tune with the times, not very far from that of artists like Aya Nakamura . The analysis of the lyrics is hardly necessary, and on certain pieces, one has the impression that the words are linked together more because of their sonorities than of their meaning, as on heart guard where you hear strange phases like this “Go wander in Spain, coke, coke until midnight, at home, you will put on the loincloth/ We’ll never hear what’s going on, never what’s going on, sitting at the top of the mountain”.
In Toko Tokowhere Dadju invites the singer Ronisia (who has already made duets with Tiakola, Ninho and Eva), the sound here also predominates over the meaning, as in this passage: “You make a lot of men jealous, it’s crazy, crazy/ And we shoot for each other, it goes ‘Bang-bang’ / We know each other without looking at each other, it’s crazy, crazy”. Potential single, the duet with Hamza, Safari. In this title, the self-tuned Belgian crooner brings a sexual touch with the metaphor “I give you 50 Minutes Inside like Nikos”, allusion to double meaning, the show people of Nikos Aliagas on TF1 and the sexual act. But overall, we understand that Dadju has calibrated his album so that it appeals to the widest audience, in the family sense of the term.
A few other guests complete the guest listincluding Gazo, the new king of featuring, on Scroogebut also Imen Es on The Official and Rema on One Time. Fans who have been waiting for a reunion of the two brothers will still have to wait, even if Dadju recently claimed: “A duet with Gims? Anything is possible”.
If you had to blame cullinan, it would be the absence of risk-taking. The sound of Dadju, shaped by beatmakers such as Ponko & Seysey (Safari), Banks Ranks & Kel P (Toko Toko) or Léo Brousset, Latimer & DJ Erise (Little touches), never deviates from the guideline of super lover. Wrong Deductionproduced by Boumidjal, features a shy guitar, and Ima, the last title, is taken from the soundtrack of the eponymous film. In short, and unsurprisingly, the announced commercial triumph may well justify the adage: never two without three.
Dadju cullinan (Capitol Records) 2022
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