Serge Bambara (aka SMOCKEY) is a hip hop artist, actor and political activist from Burkina Faso in West Africa. Born to a Bissa father and a French mother in what was then The Republic of Upper Volta, he studied in France from 1991-2001, moving back to Burkina Faso in 2001 to start the recording studio Abazon. He released his first album, « Epitaphe » that year which forged his musical identity: the lyrics were politically engaged; the music combined tradition and modern rhythms.
His Abazon label also produces and disseminates the work of underground artists.
Much of his work has political themes: Smockey released the album « CCP » (Cravate costard et pourriture, which translates as Tie, Suit and Rot) in 2010. The album contains more intensely caustic pieces that go beyond criticism, reflecting his active participation in conferences and debates in the most remote towns and hamlets of Burkina Faso concerning good governance, democracy and human rights.
His political commitment reached its climax with the creation of the Le Balai Citoyen ("The Citizen's Broom"), a citizen’s movement co-founded with reggaeman Sams'K The Jah. The goal: to sweep away all those who aspire to hang on to power. They mobilize throughout Burkina Faso. On October 31, 2014, the two "cibals" (sweeping citizens) were in the street with thousands of demonstrators to put an end to twenty-seven years of President Blaise Compaore’s rule, which forced the President to resign and flee the country.
His fifth release-- PRE’EVOLUTION—is a fusion of the terms Premonition, Revolution and Evolution. He recorded most of the pieces on this album two or three years before the insurgency of October 2014. The album expresses the urgent need for a "post-revolution" to complete the process of the people’s liberation. The works are recorded on three CDs symbolizing the flag of Burkina Faso and presented as follows:
• CD 1 (yellow color): PREMONITION
• CD 2 (red color): REVOLUTION
• CD 3 (green color): EVOLUTION
He has received prestigious awards for his work, including "Best Artist of the Year" category of Kundé, a national Burkinabé music award, in 2006, and in 2010, "Best Hip-Hop Artist" in the Kora awards. Bambara also starred in a 2008 film adaption of Ahmadou Kourouma's novel En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages (Waiting for the Wild Beasts Vote), directed by Missa Hébié.