CULTUREEN UNE

The legend of King Posse!

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If you were born in the mid 80s or early 90s in Haiti you basically didn’t have the right to not like King Posse. I mean it was against the law! Ok, I might be going overboard but let’s put it this way: if you didn’t like them, your parents might out of nowhere plan a little trip with you at the psychologist’s clinic.

King Posse only had two good albums but surprisingly their success extended years beyond their release. The group even managed to stay relevant for more than a decade, despite losing valuable members due to recurring internal feuds. How did they manage to do that? Define a generation, my generation, with just two albums? The answer is simple. They had the perfect formula for great kanavals.

  • Start by setting the mood with Sammy B’s amazing voice,
  • Then add a few Don Chòv “English” words and sentences no one (including him) understands.
  • Throw Bouda Ranks’ catchy slogan and genius dance moves into the mix (Warning: This slogan is very likely to define the kanaval of that particular year and you will probably be repeating these dance moves for the next 10 months).
  • Let Haitian Buju use his exceptionally deep voice to throw in a few rap lines, for good measures. And let’s not forget how you will beg your parents to buy you the superfly shades he was wearing in the video.
  • Then, add some Black Alex’ non-sense that never fails to touch our souls and hearts.

This was the recipe for Pure happiness. I am so grateful I was brought in an era when King Posse was treated like the kings they were. Back then, Haitian kids were head over heels in love with them, Haitian teenagers worshipped them and parents… well, they just got really good pretending they didn’t like them. I know my mine did; I caught them off guard humming King Posse’s songs quite a few times. And let me tell you, although he will probably never admit it, my dad was a big fan of the dance move “Aziptibidibimbiw” (Not sure about the spelling though. The word is too dope to be featured in the dictionary).

After their decade of reign, King Posse never stopped making kanavals…. and I have to admit, those songs were good compared to what other bands were releasing. However those songs just couldn’t level with the greatness of the 1990’s King Posse. And, let’s be honest…. We all got tired of hearing about King Posse once a year.

Now “MAYBE” my judgment is impaired by the abundance of rubbish I’ve been hearing from musical groups this year, but to me, King Posse’s kanaval of 2015 is pretty good (check it out below). It really brought me back in time.

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After hearing it, I went on Youtube (quite predictably) to listen to their old kanavals and reminisce on the good old days (I swear I didn’t dance like a crazy kid, I swear…). Anyway, after enjoying this fantastic throwback, I thought I’d share my personal top 5 King Posse kanavals with you.

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5- Sa Wap Fe (2002)

This kanaval is bittersweet because it was the beginning of the end of the original group. Although Black Alex, Bouda Ranks and Don Chov didn’t feature in it, this song turned out to be a great one. I have to admit Oky Djemz, Mass Power and Cliff did a great job. I have a personal attachment to this kanaval because the year this song was released was also the first year I joined the crowd to dance in Champs de Mars.

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4- Retounen (1997)

Expectations were very high after their legendary performance for their 1996 kanaval, but they came back harder. This song was so great, King Posse had no problem asking fans of other band to leave their beloved bands to come dance with King Posse. And guess what? Everyone accepted the simple truth: it was impossible to not be a fan of King Posse.

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3- Ann Ale (1999)

At this point, they knew they were superstars and they acted like it: they wore FUBU and Tommy Hilfiger jackets in Haiti, even though it was probably 90 degrees F outside. Luckily, their superstar act translated into a great kanaval and a pretty cool video.

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2-  Sa Ou We (1998)

Ok, this one is my favorite one musically. And I probably love it for the same reason I went crazy for all the other ones: it was perfect. I remember listening to this specific track on repeat the entire year following kanaval. Black Alex’ line “Ki waga kanaval la rive …. ihhoah oh ihmaho somi lah kou goh…” (don’t act like you know what I am talking about) still brings the same joy it did 15 years ago when I was young and carefree and all I needed to feel rejoiced was some good King Posse!

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1- Cool Non (1996)

Just like you, I sing “azipdibibimbiw” in my shower at least once a year (no one knows, so let’s keep it between us). This kanaval is the one that defines my generation. And what is great about it is that it actually spoke to an entire generation. Whether you were rich or poor, whether you came from the North or the South, if you were born in the 80’s or the early 90’s, chances are you swore by “Aziptibidibimbiw” because it united the country and different generations around one simple dance.

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Jétry Dumont
Directeur Général | Co-fondateur | J'aime me considérer rationnel et mesuré avec une vision semi-ouverte du monde. J'ai un baccalauréat en finance. Je m'intéresse au Barça, à la politique, à l'entrepreneuriat et à la philosophie.

La jeunesse et la politique en Haïti

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