Fally Ipupa

Fally Ipupa
Fally Ipupa wearing a black vest over an orange sweater, a grey tuque, and a black plastic glove, looking directly at camera
Fally Ipupa in 2018
Background information
Birth nameFally Ipupa N'simba
Also known as
  • Dicap La Merveille
  • El Marabiocho
  • El Pibe de Oro
  • El Mara
  • 3x Hustler
  • El Rey Mago
  • The King
  • Aigle
  • Empereur 4K
Born (1977-12-14) 14 December 1977 (age 46)
Kinshasa, Zaire
(modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • dancer
  • record executive
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1997–present
Formerly ofTalent Latent, Quartier Latin International

Fally Ipupa N'simba (born 14 December 1977), known professionally as Fally Ipupa, is a Congolese singer-songwriter, dancer, philanthropist, guitarist, and producer. Often referred to as the "Prince of Rumba", he is noted for his tenor vocals as well as his blend of contemporary and traditional Congolese music genres, including Congolese rumba, soukous, and ndombolo. His lyrics often cover themes of romance, suffering, and joy.

Ipupa made his public musical debut in 1997, at the age of 20, with the Kinshasa-based band Talent Latent. In 1999, he joined Koffi Olomide's Quartier Latin International, before branching out as a solo artist with his debut solo studio album, Droit Chemin, which attained a gold record after selling over 100,000 copies within one month. In 2007, Ipupa won the Kora Award for Best Central Africa Artist. The same year, he became the first Congolese artist to sell out the Olympia Hall in Paris. In 2008, he toured France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Cameroon. In April of the same year, Ipupa won the Kundé d'Or for Best Central African Artist. Ipupa's second studio album, Arsenal de Belles Melodies, included chart-toppers like "Chaise Électrique" (featuring Olivia) and "Sexy Dance", which became some of his signature songs. The album quickly sold over 100,000 copies. Ipupa subsequently won two consecutive 2010 MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Francophone Artist and Best Video, with "Sexy Dance".

His third studio album, Power "Kosa Leka", featuring the singles "La vie est belle", "Ndoki", and "Service", sold over 30,000 copies in a month. In 2013, Ipupa won the Trace Urban Music Award for Best African Artist and was nominated for Best Live Act at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. His fourth studio album, Tokooos, was certified gold by SNEP, making him one of the first Congolese solo artists that honor. Tokooos also peaked at number five on the French iTunes chart. The album's singles "Kiname" (featuring Booba) and "Bad Boy" (featuring Aya Nakamura) achieved gold certification. His fifth studio album, Control, released in November 2018, debuted at number ten on SNEP's list of the top downloaded albums in France. Ipupa released his sixth studio album, Tokooos II, in December 2020. On 25 February 2022, he issued Tokooos II Gold. On 17 October 2022, he published his seventh studio album Formule 7, which amassed over three million streams on Spotify within 24 hours and dominated French iTunes sales. In February 2024, Formule 7 became one of the best-selling African albums on the French market, according to SNEP.

In 2014, Forbes ranked Ipupa as the sixth richest African musician, and Jeune Afrique named him one of the fifty most influential African artists in 2018. He is the most-streamed French-speaking artist on Boomplay and the most-followed Congolese artist on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Ipupa is also known for his humanitarian work: he is the founder of the Fally Ipupa Foundation, which provides aid to marginalized groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including victims of sexual violence and disease, as well as orphans.

Early life and career

1977–1996: Early life and music debut

Fally Ipupa was born Faustin N'simba Ipupa on 14 December 1977, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo; DRC). He has a brother and two sisters. Ipupa grew up in the Bandalungwa commune, surrounded by nightclubs, bars, and the headquarters of Wenge Musica, which ignited his interest in music. He was particularly drawn to drums and also sang in church with his mother and later performed music in the streets with improvised instruments, along with his friends Atele Kunianga, Pitshou Luzolo, and Sankara de Kunta. Although his parents hoped for him to pursue a medical career given his aptitude for science, Ipupa remained committed to music. He collaborated with various orchestras and groups, such as Flash Succes, Fraternité Musica, New City de la Bogania, and Kibinda Nkoy, ultimately contributing to the formation of Nouvelle Alliance. He gained a reputation as a singer, dancer, and atalaku (showmen or hype men who augment the rhythm and interactivity of performances), and his proficiency developed as he gained experience with conventional instruments.

1997–1998: Talent Latent

In 1997, Ipupa joined Talent Latent, a music band formed by Mosain Malanda and Faustin Djata. He became the director, which allowed him to bring in new musicians. Opting to abandon formal schooling to fully commit to his musical aspirations, he was accompanied by his childhood friends Atele Kunianga and Pitshou Luzolo as well as the atalakus Lisimo Gentamicine and Cellulaire Yankobo. The band released their debut album, A l'oeuvre on connait l'artiste, in January 1999. It gained national recognition and made a few appearances on the Congolese television channel RTNC, where Ipupa performed the song "Courte joie". While A l'oeuvre on connait l'artiste received some recognition, Ipupa began working on the band's second studio album but faced a significant setback as several key members left to establish the group Quartier Latin Académia in Paris, leading to Talent Latent's gradual dissolution.

Faustin Djata, a staff member in Koffi Olomidé's ensemble, introduced Ipupa to Agbepa, who invited him to join his orchestra, earning Ipupa the sobriquet "Anelka" as the "most expensive transfer", an allusion to the high-profile transfer of Nicolas Anelka to Real Madrid.

Quartier Latin International: 1999–2006

Ipupa joined Quartier Latin International in May 1999. During his audition, he sang and danced, leading to his integration into the group as a songwriter, composer, and band conductor. The same year, he also contributed to Koffi Olomidé's solo album Attentat, recorded in South Africa, where his voice featured on such songs as "Victoire", "Caméléon", "Malanda-Ngombé", "Number One", "Nul n'est parfait", and "Kamutshima".

Ipupa included his composition "Éternellement" to Quartier Latin International's fifth studio album, Force de Frappe. He also collaborated with Koffi Olomidé on his 2001 album, Effrakata, including on the track "Effervescent". In 2003, he contributed a song to Quartier Latin International's double album Affaire d'Etat. In 2004, Koffi Olomidé released the album Monde Arabe, which also featured vocals by Ipupa. In a 2009 interview with Radio France Internationale, referring to Koffi Olomidé, Ipupa stated, "At his side, I learned a lot. He is a professional musician artist, very serious in his work. With him, we worked like crazy".

Ipupa left Quartier Latin International in 2006, but in 2016, he took part in a project commemorating the band's 30th anniversary.

Solo career

2006–2008: Debut solo album

While still with Quartier Latin, Ipupa signed a record deal with Obouo Productions for a solo album, titled Droit Chemin. Due to Koffi Olomide's "political controversy", he had no control over Ipupa's record and was absent from its creation. Despite numerous attempts to dissuade him from going solo, including by fellow Quartier Latin musicians, Ipupa entered the studio alongside select Quartier Latin musicians and the arranger Maïka Munan and recorded fifteen songs, twelve of which were selected for the album. At the same time, Ipupa worked on Quartier Latin's next record, Danger de Mort. His solo album was released on 10 June 2006 and included collaborations with Barbara Kanam, Maïka Munan, Krys, Mokobé, and Benji. Droit Chemin received positive reviews and sold over 100,000 copies, earning Ipupa a gold record. South Africa's TVSA described the album as "trials and tribulations of love". Ipupa left Quartier Latin shortly after.

On 7 April 2007, Ipupa sold out the Olympia Hall in Paris, becoming the first Congolese solo artist to do so since Tabu Ley Rochereau in 1970, Abeti Masikini in 1973, and Koffi Olomide in 1998. He was joined onstage by artists like Krys, Benji, and Lokua Kanza. Louise Colcombet, writing for Le Parisien, likened the concert to a messianic arrival and extolled Ipupa as "the rising star of Zairean music". The performance was recorded and released as a DVD, titled Live a L'Olympia.

On 13 July, he joined the African Rhythms event, jointly organized by Radio France Internationale, the Paris City Hall, and the International Organization of La Francophonie, hosted at the Place de la Bastille, with other prominent African musical artists. After his European tour, he performed at the Culture Palace of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, and later returned to Paris for a performance at the Casino de Paris, where he was honored as the Best Male Performer at the Césaire de la Musique awards on 22 October. On 27 October, he participated in an international music festival titled 1st Movicel Live Fest at the Estádio da Cidadela in Luanda, Angola. To round off the year, he received two awards at the Pan-African Music Festival Black Music Awards in Benin.

In 2008, he held a series of concerts in France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Cameroon. His increasing recognition in Africa was also acknowledged in Burkina Faso, where he won the Best Central African Artist at the Kunde Awards on 25 April.

2009–2012: Arsenal de Belles Melodies, "Hands Across the World"

Ipupa began working on his second studio album, Arsenal de Belles Melodies, in early 2008. In May 2009, he represented the album to a crowd of 90,000 people at the Creole Night event hosted at Stade de France in Paris by Kassav', to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Arsenal de Belles Melodies was released in June 2009, three years after Droit Chemin. Consisting of 16 tracks and co-produced by Obouo Productions and Because Music, the album featured American singer Olivia Longott on the single "Chaise Électrique", as well as dancehall artist Krys on "Sexy Dance". Arsenal de Belles Melodies sold over 100,000 copies, including 40,000 in just one week. That same year, Ipupa won the Trophées des Arts Afro-Caribéens as well as a gold record. He went on to perform at the Zenith de Paris on 2 January 2010. To further support his album, Ipupa delivered a performance in Germany, followed by a concert at the Accor Arena in Paris in July, alongside Papa Wemba and Koffi Olomide. He subsequently performed in Belgium, Switzerland, and the US. Other concerts were called off due to threats emanating from the Combattants, a dissident faction critical of then-Congolese president Joseph Kabila, and Congolese artists who were aligned with him. Arsenal de Belles Melodies won three Ndule Awards in Kinshasa, including Best Album of the Year, Best Music Video, and Best Song.

On 10 November, Ipupa was featured on "Hands Across the World", a song composed and produced by American singer R. Kelly. The track served as the debut release by the African supergroup One 8, which consisted of Amani, Ali Kiba, Navio, 2face Idibia, JK, 4x4, and Movaizhaleine. On 14 December, Ipupa won two consecutive MTV Africa Music Awards for Best Video for "Sexy Dance" and Best Francophone Artist.

He was slated to perform again at the Zénith de Paris on 1 January 2011, but the concert was postponed to 12 March 2011, due to challenges in obtaining a travel visa. Le Potentiel reported that Maison Schengen, a visa consultancy agency, had denied European visas to multiple artists based in Kinshasa. The verdict sparked public reactions, with demonstrators protesting in front of the DRC's Ministry of the Interior and Security. Despite the visa challenges, Ipupa sold out the venue and was nominated for Best International African Artist at the BET Awards, which he followed with a sold-out performance at Stade de France in June 2011 during the Nuit Africaine event, alongside other African artists like Werrason, Jessy Matador, Patience Dabany, Coumba Gawlo, Oumou Sangaré, Sekouba Bambino, Petit Pays, Meiway, Magic System, Passi, Mokobé, Baaba Maal, Alpha Blondy, Manu Dibango, and Mory Kanté. In September 2011, he won four Afrotainment Museke Online Music Awards and two Okapi Awards. In June 2012, he performed at the Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar, alongside Extra Musica, JB Mpiana, and Werrason.

2013: Power "Kosa Leka" and "Kitoko"

On 5 April 2013, Ipupa released his third studio album, Power "Kosa Leka", a fusion of Congolese rumba, ndombolo, and hip hop. Critic Claudy Siar, reviewing the album for RFI, called it "one of the best productions on the Afro musical planet". The record was a joint production between Obouo Productions and Because Music, and it featured American rapper Eve on the track "Sex'plosif". The music video for "Ndoki" amassed over 150,000 views on YouTube within a week. To promote the album, Ipupa embarked on a Pan-African tour, with live shows in Ivory Coast, Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, the DRC, the Republic of the Congo, as well as the UAE.

On 11 April, a week after the album's debut, Ipupa signed a contract for three international albums with AZ, a subsidiary of Capitol Records. On 14 May 2013, he won the Trace Urban Music Awards for Best African Artist. On 18 May 2013, he performed at the MTV Africa All Stars concert at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, alongside Snoop Dogg, 2Face Idibia, and Flavour.

On 23 June, Ipupa released the single "Kitoko", featuring Youssoupha, followed by a music video in September. The track was initially slated for inclusion on the international album but was ultimately released as a standalone single.

2014–2015: F'Victeam, Libre Parcours

In 2006, Ipupa formed a backing band, called F'Victeam, which also functioned as his own record label. The band consisted of guitarists, percussionists, drummers, keyboardists, singers, and animators.

On 5 May 2014, Ipupa released the ndombolo-infused single "Original" on Facebook and YouTube to promote F'Victeam. The music video featured zouk vocalists Lynnsha and Fanny J and NBA player Serge Ibaka dancing to the song. It also included scenes from several of Ipupa's previous live shows. "Original" revived ndombolo, which had seen a decline partly due to the migration of Congolese artists to Europe; it amassed over two million views within six months on YouTube. While promoting his group, Ipupa won Best Artist in Central Africa at the African Muzik Magazine Awards, held in Dallas, Texas. He then toured Washington as part of a US-Africa Summit, to which President Barack Obama had invited 47 African leaders, in August 2014. A dozen African artists were selected to attend, with Ipupa being the sole representative from Central Africa.

A few months after "Original"'s launch, Ipupa announced that he would produce F'Victeam's debut album, Libre Parcours. In October, he published the album cover on his Facebook page as well as a few videos of the recording sessions on Instagram. During an interview with Afropop Worldwide, Ipupa clarified that Libre Parcours is not his fourth studio album but that of his collective, for which he served as producer and featured artist on select tracks. Libre Parcours was released in March 2015 as a double album and included seven tracks featuring Ipupa, one with Shella Mputu (ex-singer of Quartier Latin International) and another with Christy Lova, daughter of Ntesa Dalienst. It sold nearly 15,000 copies in one week, including 5,000 following its launch.

Fally Ipupa performing at Global Citizen Earth Day, Washington, D.C., 2015

On 18 April 2015, Ipupa was invited to Washington by the World Bank to participate in Global Citizen Earth Day and delivered a concert on the National Mall in front of 250,000 people. After his visit to the US, he took part in the Anoumabo Urban Music Festival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, an event organized by the Ivorian band Magic System. Ipupa was honored with the Special Prize for African Integration by the Ministry of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad. On 28 June, he received a nomination for Best International Act at the BET Awards. He also performed at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, singing the songs "La vie est belle", "Original", and "Libre Parcours 2". In September, he gave two performances, at Hotel Palm Camayenne and Esplanade of the People's Palace in Conakry, Guinea, in promotion of African music. On 21 August, he played at the People's Convention Center in Dallas, followed by a concert in Houston on 28 August. He presented his previous album, Power "Kosa Leka", on 29 August in Portland, followed by concerts in Atlanta on 30 August and Minneapolis on 4 September. On 5 September, Ipupa performed in Washington, concluding his American tour with a concert in New York on 6 September. He later returned to Dallas to participate in the AFRIMMA ceremony, where he was nominated for Best Central Africa Artist and Best African Artist. In Africa, he performed in Lubumbashi, Kolwezi, and Likasi, and was summoned by President José Eduardo dos Santos to be part of the observance of Angola's Independence Day on 11 November.

2016–2017: Tokooos album and tours

Following his record deal with the AZ label in 2013, Ipupa began recording his first international album, Tokooos, in October 2015. He teamed up with Nigerian singer Wizkid in Paris to record a single, which came out on 6 October. In March 2016, he issued the single "Hymne Coca-Cola" on YouTube for a Coca-Cola campaign in the DRC. The next month, he was featured on the eponymous debut album by French rapper MHD, on the track "Ma vie".

On 25 June 2016, he signed a record deal with Warner Music France. At the same time, he organized an American tour with F'Victeam and approached R. Kelly for collaboration on Tokooos. In late November 2016, he announced via Instagram a collaboration with French rapper Booba. Their single, "Kiname" (a contraction of Kinshasa and Paname, the latter being an etymologically unclear reference to the city of Paris), was released on 7 December, and the music video was made available on 14 December. "Kiname" was certified gold on 16 May 2017 by SNEP. Ipupa went on to release the single "Eloko Oyo" on 7 April, a traditional song of the Central African Mongo ethnic group. On 16 June, Ipupa released "Bad Boy", featuring Aya Nakamura, a track that contains a sample of a guitar riff played by Simaro Lutumba in his 1983 song "Faute ya Commerçant". It was certified gold on 3 November and platnum on 4 March 2024 by SNEP.

On 22 June, Ipupa was scheduled to perform at La Cigale in Paris to present his forthcoming album. The proceeds from the concert were intended for donation to UNICEF to aid in the fight against chronic malnutrition among African youth. The show was canceled by the Paris Police Prefecture, however, due to concerns about potential "serious disturbances to public order" stemming from threats by the Combattants.

Tokooos was released on 7 July 2017 by Elektra France, a subsidiary of Warner Music France. It marked a departure from Ipupa previous work, venturing into urban music. The album comprised 18 tracks, with a range of styles from Congolese rumba, French hip hop, R&B, and Afro-pop. The title derived its name from the Lingala word kitoko, signifying something good and exuding a positive aura. Building on this concept, Ipupa coined the term "Tokooos music" to describe his new artistic style and musical philosophy. In an interview with a BET Buzz affiliate in France, Ipupa stated that, "On my fourth album, I wanted to create a bridge between Kinshasa and Paris; I have done it all in Africa, but I would like to win this French market." On Tokooos, Ipupa experimented by singing some tracks entirely in French, whereas his previous material had mostly been sung in Lingala. The album included guest artists such as R. Kelly, Booba, MHD, Naza, KeBlack, Wizkid, Aya Nakamura, and Shay. As part of its promotion, he was invited to Frédéric Musa's urban show Planète Rap on Skyrock from 10 to 14 July.

Thank you to all my warriors, and to all lovers of good music; thank you to the artists and composers who participated in this project; thank you to my teams, my label Elektra France, this is your golden record!

Ipupa's statement after his album Tokooos received a gold certification from SNEP, 10 October 2022 (translated from French)

Two tours were organized for the album, collectively known as the Tokooos Tour, with approximately fifty concerts held in various international cities. The first leg commenced on 2 September 2017, in Lomé, Togo, and concluded on 19 February 2018 in Los Angeles, with concerts and showcases held in cities such as Nairobi, Lyon, Bordeaux, Frankfurt, Kinshasa, Brazzaville, Cotonou, Lusaka, Bamako, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Abidjan, and Luanda. He capped off 2017 by winning the title of "Best International Artist of the Year" in the Skyrock 2017 awards. The second leg was launched in March–August 2018 and featured a series of concerts and showcases in several countries, including Spain, France, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Norway, Italy, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana.

On 10 October 2022, Tokooos was certified gold in France by SNEP, with sales exceeding 50,000 copies. Ipupa became the first Kinshasa-based Congolese artist to obtain a gold record certified by SNEP as well as the first soloist from Central Africa to achieve this feat. Tokooos also became the second album from Central Africa to receive a gold disc certification by the SNEP, following Bisso Na Bisso in 1999 with the album Racines.

On 10 May 2023, Tokooos was certified platinum for export by the Centre National de la Musique in France, having sold more than 100,000 copies outside the country.

2018–2019: Control and Accor Arena concert

Motorcycle burned during the concert in front of Paris-Bercy station, February 2020

Recorded simultaneously with Tokooos since the end of 2016 and in preparation for his return to Congolese rumba, Ipupa released three promotional singles from his forthcoming fifth album, Control: "École", on 25 July 2018, "Canne à sucre" on 31 August 2018, and "Aime-moi" on 26 October 2018. Control was published on 2 November 2018. The album was mainly recorded in Ipupa's own studio, Tokooos Studio, and Studio Ndiaye in Kinshasa, with some finishing touches done in Parisian studios. It consisted of 31 songs, including the three previously released singles. Control debuted tenth among the most downloaded albums in France, according to SNEP. Ipupa presented the record on the program Journal Afrique on TV5Monde a week after its release and announced a concert in Kinshasa on 30 November 2018.

As had been his practice since 2015, Ipupa announced a summer world tour in 2019, which would cover the US, South Africa, the Republic of the Congo, the DRC, and Australia. On 28 February 2020, Ipupa performed at the Accor Arena in Paris in front of 20,000 people. Due to the prohibition of several Congolese concerts on French territory arising from the specter of "serious disturbances to public order" precipitated by the belligerent Combatants, Didier Lallement, the prefect of Paris, passed a decree on 26 February 2020, banning all demonstrations in the vicinity of the arena, and established a security cordon around the venue. A few hours before the start of the concert, violence erupted around the Gare de Lyon by people accusing Ipupa of being too closely associated with the Congolese regime. Despite threats against Ipupa and the event, the concert sold out on the same day.

2020–2022: Tokooos II, Tokooos II Gold

In an interview with Afropop Worldwide on 10 July 2019, Ipupa announced that his sixth studio album, Tokooos II, was nearing completion. He later promoted the album with a concert at the Accor Arena in Paris on 28 February 2020. Tokooos II was released on 18 December 2020 by Elektra France. The digital edition contained 16 songs and the physical edition 22. The album features collaborations with Dadju, Naza, Ninho, and M. Pokora and fuses traditional Congolese rumba, soukous, ndombolo, R&B, and trap beats. Reviewing for Pan African Music, Rémi Benchebra described the album as being "guided by love, a theme dear to rumbists", and "a voice which combines fragility with power". On 26 December 2020, Ipupa sold out Sofitel Abidjan Hôtel Ivoire in Ivory Coast and received the Best African Artist of the Year prize at the fourth edition of the African Talents Awards. In February 2021, he performed at the Yaoundé Multipurpose Sports Complex in Cameroon in front of 3,000 people, in celebration of president Paul Biya's 88th birthday. To promote the album further, he unveiled a lineup of multiple African concerts, referred to as the "Tokoos II Tour Part I" The tour kicked off on 9 October in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and concluded on 10 January 2022, in Bafoussam, Cameroon. It covered 19 countries, primarily in French-speaking regions, where he performed with his accompanying group F'Victeam.

Fally Ipupa performing at the opening of AFCON 2021

On 26 September 2021, while playing in Kinshasa at Foire Internationale de Kinshasa, Ipupa announced Tokooos II Gold, a follow-up to Tokooos II, with 15 additional tracks added to the original list. He released the promotional single "Nzoto" on 12 November, which blended ndombolo and traditional Congolese rumba, overlaid with sounds of the Mongo ethnic group. Before the publication of Tokooos II Gold, on 25 February 2022, Ipupa clinched the Best Male Artist from East, South, and Central Africa at the seventh edition of the African Entertainment Awards USA, on 26 December 2021, which he followed by a performance at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at Olembe Stadium in Cameroon.

Five months after Tokooos II Gold's release, Ipupa embarked on his "Golden World Tour", with visits to Luanda, Brazzaville, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Brussels, Porto, Spa, Cabinda, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Pointe-Noire, and Kinshasa.

2023–present: Formule 7, Macron-Ipupa diplomacy sparks

On 17 October 2022, during an interview with the French television channel France 24, Ipupa announced the release of his seventh studio album, Formule 7. On 28 October, he posted three singles from the album on YouTube: "Bloqué", "Science-Fiction", and "Se yo", which garnered millions of views. Formule 7 came out on 16 December on Elektra France. It consisted of thirty tracks, with a predominant blend of Congolese rumba. It amassed over 3 million streams in 24 hours on Spotify and became one of the best-selling albums on the French iTunes. On 5 January 2023, Ipupa appeared at the Sofitel Abidjan Hôtel Ivoire to promote the record. He won the All Africa Music Award for Best Male Artist in Central Africa and was nominated for Best Artiste in African Contemporary for the hit single "Bloqué."

Fally Ipupa in January 2022

On 26 February, French President Emmanuel Macron summoned Ipupa to the Élysée Palace as part of his approach to France–Africa relations. Afterward, Ipupa posted on his Twitter that he had discussed the ongoing Kivu conflict and the role of Congolese music among young people with Macron. On 6 March, the French president attended Ipupa's concert in Kinshasa, where they were spotted drinking beer and waving to the audience. Their meeting elicited mixed reactions, with some critics alleging that Macron was leveraging Ipupa's image for his benefit and insinuating French support for ongoing fighting between Rwandan-backed M23 rebels and Congolese government forces.

On 27 May, Ipupa sold out Stade Alphonse Massemba-Débat in the Republic of the Congo, followed by a sold-out performance at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Jeux de la Francophonie in Kishasa, on 28 July.

On 25 November 2023, Ipupa sold out Paris La Défense Arena, becoming the first African solo artist to do so. He brought a lineup of musicians to the stage, including Aya Nakamura, SDM, Mokobé, KeBlack, Naza, Dadju, Tayc, Singuila, and Youssou N'Dour. He was later awarded a gold plaque for selling 40,000 tickets to the show. N'Dour extolled Ipupa and the concert on his X, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, stating, "This evening I felt the DRC, Africa communing with you. What a beautiful show!" Tayc expressed his gratitude on Instagram, saying, "Big Brother, don't change anything, your people love you".

On 8 December 2023, Ipupa performed at Wembley Arena in London, in front of 12,500 people, becoming the first Congolese artist to achieve this feat since Abeti Masikini, in 1986.

On 13 December 2023, he sold out the ING Arena in Brussels, three days ahead of his scheduled concert. During preparations for the concert and in the company of the Brussels mayor, Philippe Close, Ipupa was awarded a commemorative plaque for the sold-out concert.

2022 Stade des Martyrs crowd crush

On 1 March 2022, Ipupa announced a concert at Stade des Martyrs de la Pentecôte in Kinshasa, scheduled for 29 October. The event was part of his "Golden World Tour", from 4 June to 3 October. Though the venue could only accommodate 80,000 spectators, over 120,000 people showed up for the show. During the performance, Ipupa was joined onstage by Charlotte Dipanda, Gaz Mawete, Awilo Longomba, Mignon Abraham, DG Virus, Manon Loubaki, Pathy Nsaraza, Naty Lokole, Fiston Kolokey, Vany Morgane, Souley Kahuka, as well as his former bandmates from Quartier Latin International, Sam Tshintu, Modogo Abarambwa, Jipson Butukondolo, Champion Djicapela, Montana Kamenga, and Babia Ndonga Shokoro's son, Prince Babia. Producers Dany Synthé and Seysey were also in attendance. Claudy Siar and Juliette Fievet presented him with a gold record for his album Tokooos. During the performance, a crowd crush occurred, and the ensuing pandemonium resulted in eleven deaths, including two police officers, according to the Minister of the Interior, Daniel Aselo.


Fally Ipupa Foundation

Fally Ipupa as part of celebrations of the Day of the African Child, with the aim of safeguarding children's protection during times of armed conflict, June 2018

In 2013, Ipupa established the Fally Ipupa Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to marginalized groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, such as victims of sexual violence, those afflicted with disease, and orphans.


In 2017, Ipupa partnered with UNICEF to fight malnutrition, which affects ten million children across the Democratic Republic of the Congo annually.

On 20 August 2021, he was appointed UNICEF National Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in connection with World Breastfeeding Week. During this time, he actively promoted the development, preservation, and reinforcement of feeding practices for infants and young children. On 22 February 2024, he renewed his position.



Year Album title and details Peak Certifications
(sales threshold)


2006 Droit Chemin
2009 Arsenal de Belles Melodies
  • Released: 2009
  • Label: Obouo Music
2013 Power "Kosa Leka"
  • Released: 11 September 2013
  • Label: Obouo Music
2017 Tokooos
28 110 21 FRA: Gold
2018 Control
  • Released: 2 November 2018
  • Label: Elektra France / Warner Music France
74 58
2020 Tokooos II
  • Released: 18 December 2020
  • Label: Elektra France / Warner Music France
80 100 58
2022 Formule 7
  • Released: 16 December 2022
  • Label: Elektra France / Warner Music France


As lead artist

Year Title Peak positions Certification Album

2016 "Kiname"
(featuring Booba)
10 38
  • FRA: Gold
2017 "Bad Boy"
(featuring Aya Nakamura)
69 Tip
  • FRA: Platinum
(featuring R. Kelly)
2020 "Likolo"
(featuring Ninho)
162 Tip Tokooos II

As featured artist

Year Title Peak positions Certification Album

2016 "Ma vie"
(MHD featuring Fally Ipupa)
145 MHD
2017 "Trouvez la moi"
(Dadju featuring KeBlack & Fally Ipupa)
  • FRA: Gold
Gentleman 2.0
2019 "À Kinshasa"
(Ninho featuring Fally Ipupa)
  • FRA: Platinum
2020 "Fais ça bien"
(Damso featuring Fally Ipupa)
17 FRA: Gold QALF

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref.
2007 Trophées des Arts Afro-Caribéens Best Male Artist Himself Won
2007 Césaire de la Musique Best Male Performer Himself Won
2010 MTV Africa Music Awards Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
Best Male Himself Nominated
Best Video "Sexy Dance" (with Krys) Won
Best Francophone Himself Won
2011 Museke Online Music Awards Artist of the Year Himself Won
2011 Museke Online African Music Awards Most Popular Song of the Year "Sexy Dance" (with Krys) Won
2011 Museke Online African Music Awards Central African Song of the Year "Sexy Dance" (with Krys) Won
2011 Museke Online African Music Awards Best African Collaboration "Jukpa Remix" (with J. Martins) Won
2011 BET Awards Best International Act: Africa Himself Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Nominated
2011 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Pan African Artist Himself Won
2013 TRACE Urban Music Awards Best African Artist Himself Won
2013 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Eastern African Artist/Group of the Year Himself Nominated
2014 MTV Africa Music Awards Best Live Act Himself Nominated
2014 AFRIMMA Best Male Central Africa Himself Won
2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards African Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
2015 Anoumabo Urban Music Festival Special Prize for African Integration Himself Won
2015 Ndule Awards Artist of the Year Himself Won
2015 IRAWMA Awards Best Soukous Entertainer Libre Parcours (with F'Victeam) Won
2015 BET Awards Best International Act: Africa Himself Nominated
2015 Africa Top Success Awards Most Influential African Male Personality of the Year Himself Won
2017 AFRIMMA Best Francophone Artist Himself Won
2017 AFRIMMA Video of the Year "Eloko Oyo" Won
2017 AFRIMMA Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
2017 AFRIMMA Best Collaboration "Kiname" (with Booba) Nominated
2017 AFRIMMA Song of the Year "Eloko Oyo" Nominated
2017 Votes Planète Rap International Artist of the Year Himself Won
2017 Trace Africa Song of the Year "Eloko Oyo" Won
2018 Kunde Awards Best Traditional African Inspiration Song of the Year "Eloko Oyo" Won
2018 Kunde Awards Special African Cultural Actor Himself Won
2018 HAPAwards Best Francophone Artist Himself Won
2018 AFRIMA Best Male Artist in Central Africa Himself Won
2018 AFRIMMA Best Male Artiste in Central Africa Himself Won
2018 AFRIMMA Artist of the Year Himself Won
2018 AFRIMMA Leadership in Music Himself Won
2018 BET Awards Best International Act Himself Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Nominated
2019 AFRIMMA Best Central African Artist Himself Won
2019 AFRIMMA Best Collaboration "Inama" (with Diamond Platnumz) Nominated
2019 AFRIMMA Best Live Act Himself Nominated
2019 AFRIMMA Song of the Year "Inama" (with Diamond Platnumz) Nominated
2019 AFRIMMA Video of the Year "Inama" (with Diamond Platnumz) Nominated
2019 Canal 2'Or Best African Artist Himself Won
2019 Pool Malebo Music Awards Best Artist Himself Won
2019 AFRIMMA Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
2019 AEAUSA Awards Best Francophone Artist Himself Nominated
2019 AEAUSA Awards Best Male Artist in Central Himself Nominated
2020 AFRIMMA Best Male Central Africa Himself Won
2020 AFRIMMA Video of the Year "C'est Rate" (with Gaz Mawete) Won
2020 AFRIMMA Best Francophone Himself Won
2020 AFRIMMA Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
2020 AFRIMMA Best Live Act Himself Nominated
2020 African Talent Awards Best African Artist of the Year Himself Won
2020 AEAUSA Awards Best Male Artist Himself Nominated
2020 AEAUSA Awards Best Francophone Artist Himself Nominated
2020 AEAUSA Awards Best Male Artist in Central Africa Himself Nominated
2021 Canal 2'Or Francophone African Artist Himself Won
2021 AFRIMA Best Male in Central Africa Himself Won
2021 AFRIMA Best Duo in African Dance or Choreography "Berna Reloaded" (with Diamond Platnumz and Flavour) Won
2021 AFRIMA Artiste of the Year Himself Nominated
2021 AFRIMA Best African Collaboration "Où est le mariage" (with Shan'L) Nominated
2021 AFRIMA Best African Video "Berna Reloaded" (with Diamond Platnumz and Flavour) Nominated
2021 AFRIMA Songwriter of the Year "Un Coup" (with Dadju and Julio Masidi) Nominated
2021 AFRIMMA Best Male in Central Africa Himself Won
2021 AFRIMMA Video of the Year "Berna Reloaded" (with Diamond Platnumz and Flavour) Won
2021 AEAUSA Awards Best Francophone Male Artist Himself Won
2021 AEAUSA Awards Best Male Artist in Central Africa Himself Nominated
2021 MTV Africa Music Awards Best Francophone Act Himself Nominated
2021 MTV Africa Music Awards Best Fan Base Award Himself Nominated
2022 BET Awards Best International Act Himself Nominated
2022 AFRIMMA Best Francophone Himself Won
2022 EAEA Artist of the Year Himself Won
2022 AEAUSA Awards Best Francophone Male Artist Himself Won
2023 Trace Awards & Festival Best Live Himself Won
2023 Trace Awards & Festival Best Francophone African Artist Himself Nominated
2023 Afroca Music Awards Best African Male Artist Himself Won
2023 Les Flammes Exceptional Flame Himself Won
2023 AFRIMA Best Francophone Himself Won
2023 AFRIMMA Best Male Central Africa Himself Nominated
2023 AFRIMMA Best Live Himself Nominated
2023 AFRIMMA Best Collaboration "Garde du Coeur" (with Charlotte Dipanda) Nominated
2023 AFRIMMA Best Francophone Himself Won
2023 AFRIMMA Lifetime Achievement Award With Timaya Won
2023 EAEA People's Choice Live Performer Himself Won
2023 Jayli Awards Best Artist of the Year Himself Won
2023 Jayli Awards Best Central African Artist Himself Won
2023 Victoires de la Musique Guinéenne Best Central African Artist Himself Won

See also

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