A longtime hip-hop fan, at age 21 Diarra began his collaboration with the fledgling rap collective Time Bomb, honing his craft alongside future superstars like Booba and Diam's. He quickly developed into a lyricist with a metaphorical ingenuity far more advanced than his contemporaries, crafting violent yet strangely poetic portraits of urban Paris life and drawing on the street-smart American hip-hop of the Notorious B.I.G. and other icons to document life in Paris' hardscrabble 19th district. In 1996 Oxmo Puccino made his recorded debut with Pucc. Fiction
, a contribution to the compilation L432
. A series of subsequent mixtape appearances solidified his growing reputation within the French rap underground, and in 1998 he issued his solo debut, Opéra Puccino
. Its 2001 follow-up, L'Amour Est Mort
, proved Puccino's creative and commercial breakthrough, while 2004's Le Cactus de Sibérie
confirmed his star status. After signing to the venerable jazz label Blue Note, Puccino assembled a new backing group, the Jazzbastards, to record 2006's Lipopette Bar
In popular culture
- In 2007, rapper Styles P. used the instrumental of "Black Desperado" in his own album Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), in the song "Holiday". The track was produced by DJ Green Lantern.
- In 2011, he was in a Nike ad promotion reciting a passage from Cyrano de Bergerac
- He has appeared in 2011 music video for "1990" by Orelsan, as a tribute to the 1990s. He was invited to sing the track in Orelsan's live tour as a guest in the Paris Olympia gig in 2012.
- He is featured as the spoken word artist on Ibrahim Maalouf's track, "Douce", from the 2011 studio album, "Diagnostic".
Puccino was born in 1974 in Ségou, Mali. He came to Paris one year later, and lived in the XIXe arrondissement from the age of 5. Oxmo Puccino is the older brother of the French international basketball player Mamoutou Diarra