As the son of Congolese immigrants, the term “Blood Diamond” is special to Young Paris. The term describes the precious stones mined in war zones, often used to finance military action, and often is used to highlight the human cost of the worldwide diamond trade. For Young Paris, he sees the term as a way to describe himself, as he does in his “Blood Diamond” music video, premiering here on HollywoodLife. In the visually captivating video, Young Paris tells his story, translating the term “blood diamond” to mean a precious stone “unrecognized by the world” until he was “properly cut and polished, like a diamond from the many conflict areas throughout Africa,” especially that of his family’s homeland.
Born Milandou Badila in 1988 in Paris, France, to Congolese immigrant parents (who later moved to New York), Young Paris was brought up between three countries, and this experience is reflected deep within his music. Raised in an arts-rich environment — his father being the founder of the Congolese National Ballet and his mother a playwright – it was only a matter of time before Young Paris found his own creative voice. Inspired by the Congo’s thriving fashion scene, as well as its traditional music, Young Paris actually began his career as a model and a dancer. He appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, before launching his own diversity-celebrating lifestyle brand, THE TRIBE.
Yet, music was calling, and it was one he could not ignore. He started his music career in 2015, melding Afrobeats and hip-hop together, and it was in 2017 that he began to really make a buzz for himself. His African Vogue EP attracted some significant attention from some major industry names, and he eventually signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. His debut album, African Vogue, arrived in 2016, marking a very prolific period. He followed that album with his second, Afrobeats, in 2017. The following year, he released My Tribe, and 2019 saw the arrival of Blood Diamond. Not to mention all the singles and EPs he released along the way, including his 2020 song, “Sticks.”
“I grew up hanging with older kids and would be around my uncles any chance I could, one named ‘Sticks’ was a gangster and loved gambling pool and taught me how to gamble as a teenager,” says Young Paris, per Respect magazine. “I got so good at it, I spend my first year paying rent when I finally got my own place off of pool gambling till I lost really bad once and didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills and I stopped gambling full time. Till this day, I’m still in love with the game, and the words sang in the chorus are some quotes [‘Sticks’] would say to me when I asked him about women and what they like in a man cause I admired him so much.”