Baloji was born in Lubumbashi, Congo. At age three, his father took him to live in Belgium and he didn't see his mother for 25 years. He developed an interest in rap, and formed the group Starflam. Disillusioned, he left the band in 2004 and dropped out of music. Then in 2008, he released Hotel Impala, a disc about the quest for identity and a response to a letter from his mother asking "What have you been up to for the last 25 years?" That album is a mix of hip-hop, slam, funk, and afro-beat with a little Marvin Gaye tossed in. In 2010, Baloji returned to the Congo to re-record Hotel Impala with African musicians. The result is Kinshasa Succursale, an entirely acoustic disc that includes five new numbers and features balafon and other traditional instruments.