Jazz-rap crossovers tend to take the most recognizable elements of the two genres and stitch them together as a bland hybridisation of both. This couldn’t be further from the truth for Sélébéyone, a truly adventurous and enchanting collective comprised of MCs HPrizm (New York) and Gaston Bandimic (Dakar), and saxophonists Steve Lehman (Los Angeles) and Maciek Lasserre (Paris). Combining bold yet catchy jazz experimentalism with English and Wofol rap, Sélébéyone finds new ways to expand on the rhythmic, melodic, and rhetorical qualities of jazz and hip hop. The group’s eponymous 2016 debut was hailed as a game-changing synthesis of underground hip hop, modern jazz, and live electronic music. On their recently released sophomore album Xaybu (2022), Sélébéyone – which means “intersection” in Wolof – continue to build on their groundbreaking work with shifting rhythms and state-of-the art sound design, now with a newfound sense of effortless fluidity. The result is a profound musical statement that deftly explores spirituality and mysticism through the lens of experimental music.
Sélébéyone performs on Saturday 8 April.