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Kamini

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Biography

French hip-hop artist Kamini Zantoko was born December 8, 1979, in the suburb of Nouvion-en-Thierache, a short distance from the village of Marly-Gomont. Born into a Congolese family and growing up in a region that was almost ubiquitously white would offer him a unique perspective that would serve him well in the long run. His breakthrough hit, "Marly-Gomont," humorously described his experiences as one of only a few black faces in small-town France. Utilizing the Web to popularize his music and videos rather than traditional music industry channels, Zantoko entered the spotlight in 2007 as an Internet-made celebrity. After earning his B.A. in Picardy, Zantoko took work as a psychiatric nurse. He spent much of his free time working with friends on music, producing "Marly-Gomont" in the fall of 2006. Though the track amused the record execs who heard it, all took a pass on the project. Releasing the song on Fun Radio, Skyrock, and Contact FM, Kamini earned almost instant fame, gaining far greater recognition in a month than the formerly uninterested labels could have offered him in a year. Kamini was named one of Time magazine's 15 personalities Born on the Web in 2006. Follow-up singles such as "J'Suis Blanc" (playing with racial role reversal) and "Un P'tit Coup de Motherfuck" (poking fun at other French rap artists who overly identify with American gang culture) paved the way for Kamini's first full-length record, Psychostar World, which was released in May of 2007. The record hit the Top Ten on national charts, earning a spot on Billboard's European Top 100. Though extremely successful, Zantoko remains committed to his career as a health care provider, ultimately intending to return to his position as a psychiatric nurse. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez
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