Afro Trap Pioneer, Viral French Rapper MHD Headlines in Times Square

By Aïcha Fall, Contributing Writer 

Last Thursday, French Afro trap artist MHD headlined at the PlayStation Theatre in Times Square, placing him alongside a small list of French artists to headline a US Tour. A pioneer in his own right, 22-year-old Mohamed Sylla is often referred to as the king of Afro trap, a term he coined and a genre he is credited for creating. Sylla brings this style into French hip-hop by consistently combining African and French rhythms. 

MHD’s set featured a simple stage, two hype men, and his DJ, who received a warm welcome from the almost full crowd, mostly made up of French concertgoers that sang along to every lyric of their hometown rapper’s multi-platinum self-titled debut album which was released well over a year ago.  MHD was a crowdpleaser, performing hits like “Amina” and “Champions League” to open up the show. Later on, he brought out Grammy award winning Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo for their duet “Wanyinyin” which is on his debut album. 

The young star took many moments to practice his English with the audience, snapchatting the experience along the way. NYC was the second stop of MHD’s tour which includes dates in D.C., Quebec, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. His previous tour of Africa featured a stop in Conakry, Guinea, where over 65,000 fans flooded the historic Nongo Stadium. 

His recent flick with Drake caused a little buzz in the French media as fans quickly spread rumors of a feature. MHD’s viral videos have garnered the attention of many American artists including Drizzy himself and radio personalities including Ebro in the morning. He stopped by Beats 1 Radio in NYC the same day as his show to pay Ebro a visit.

Even with only one album in his books, it is safe to say MHD is on the path to global domination, out-selling French rap icons well beyond his years and experience. With charm, originality, and grace, the Guinean Senegalese French native has proved he appeals to all ages and nationalities.

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