Congolese-Belgian artist, Lous and the Yazuka is asking and crying out for an amigo – a friend on the chorus that will keep her from staying down for too long when life knocks her over, help keep her sane in the face of the evils of the world.
Those evils of the world, Lous and the Yakuza know far too well and intimately. Lous and Yakuza was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the same time that Congo found itself in a Civil War.
This increasingly violent and polarizing environment was the first and main thing that Lous knew about the world – a perspective that would later be the foundation for the message behind her music.
Lous and the Yakuza spent her childhood going back and forth between living in Belgium and post-genocide Rwanda. She knew blood, grief, and fear as a little girl. As she got older- she became acquainted with hunger, homelessness, and a roaring fire inside of her, keeping her alive.
All of those themes are reflected in her music, in which she raps and sings solely in French over trap, hip-hop beats. Her voice is incredibly smooth when it comes out but with a certain edge and attitude when she spits on the track.
In this track specifically, Lous and the Yakuza seem to be exploring and leaning more into singing rather than rapping throughout the majority of “Amigo.” She will spit a bar in favor of her hard exterior, poker face exposed and resilience beaming through her. The next bar, she will choose to sing in an airy, graceful falsetto instead.
Joey Bada$$ gladly jumped on the remix of this track. To be honest, I didn’t even recognize Bada$$’s voice at all in his verse. He is really embracing and stepping into Lous and the Yakuza’s world and style on “Amigo.”
Bada$$ takes on Lous and the Yakuza’s fluidity between singing and spitting – leaving behind his normal, Brooklyn MC persona.
The symbolism behind “Amigo” talks about Lous and the Yakuza seeking comfort or companionship in vices, almost like losing yourself in another person. She spits about life not having many gifts, which one could argue is one of the main reasons people do tend to over- indulge in vices.
Lous and the Yakuza’s multi-dimensionality is crucial to her identity as an artist. She blends her multicultural, genre-breaking, language barrier shattering sense of self to her music.
Her authenticity, dedication, and loyalty to herself – claiming all the divergent parts of herself that may have left her feeling isolated before, now are being shared. The representation that Lous and the Yakuza is providing is crucial, for when we see an artist who is able to be free of labels and stereotypes – we are that much closer to embracing humanity.
To be able to be seen as more than one thing, one identity, one characteristic, one label – to transcend all of that is revolutionary.
Lous and the Yakuza grew up in a world who did not even want her to survive because of her identity, let alone claim and conquer the world with it. You would never know without looking into her lyrics and the translation of them, just how much emotional loss, trauma, and strength they possess.