Pre'volution: Le Président, Ma Moto et Moi
In October 2014, everything seemed possible in Burkina Faso. The people had kicked out long-time president Blaise Compaoré after he had declared he wanted to change the constitution to allow an extension of his 27 years in office. Democratic elections were scheduled for October 11, 2015. But with the elections approaching, a military coup hit the country on the evening of the September 16, 2015. In the midst of it all, activist and rapper Smockey created his album Pre'volution: Le Président, Ma Moto et Moi, the soundtrack Burkina Faso's turmoil. Together with reggae artist Sams'K Le Jah, Smockey founded Le Balai Citoyen, a political grassroots movement comparable to Y'en a Marre in Senegal. The group brings together artists, students, and intellectuals to raise awareness and encourage political participation. Pre'volution: Le Président, Ma Moto et Moi includes songs written by Smockey before and during the uprising in Burkina Faso. "On Passe à L'attaque" tells you how to wake up and kick-start a revolution; "Dossier Zongo," which discusses political crimes under Compaoré's regime, including the assassination of journalist Norbert Zongo, became an anthem to accompany the people's protests and riots. "On se Développe" is dedicated to the Burkinabé revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, and encourages young people to reactivate a healthy local industry, instead of staying dependent on products from the US and China. "Paroles" and "Dans La Peau d'un Mulatre" were written for the theater production Nuit Blanche à Ouagadougou, which stars Smockey playing himself during the revolt; rehearsals took place during the actual protest, with the smell of tear gas on Smockey's clothing. "Opération Mana Mana" is an anthem of Le Balai Citoyen, featuring many artists who support the movement, as well as Smockey's companion Sams'K Le Jah, and was written in 2014, before the uprising. The album also features Zouglou singer Soum Bill from Côte d'Ivoire, Burkinabé rapper Smarty, and legendary Burkinabé singer Amadou Balaké, who recorded contributions to "Combattants Oubliés" before his death in August 2014. At the time of this release, Smockey is still campaigning for fair elections and a better future for his country, and Le Balai Citoyen, with slogans like "après la révolte, ton vote," is back on the streets demonstrating against the September 2015 coup.