Coming from the city of Gao, on the edge of the Saharan desert, Malian producer Baba ‘’Babsy’’ Konate is one of the key figures in the development of "Gao Rap", a regional genre of modern autotuned Songhoi music. After presenting some of his work on our Gao Rap compilation from 2018, Tounga is the first release of the artist’s solo work, gathering a decade of tracks that merge sweet autotuned vocals, crunchy drum loops and plucked digital harpsichord, in a playful testament to 2000s PC music, with the sample packs of a modest FruityLoops project. The result is familiar yet otherworldly, drawing from an abundance of distinct cultural expression: folkloric takamba from the Songhai, Hausa film soundtracks from Northern Nigeria, Hip Hop from Bamako and Ragga from Niamey. After relocating to Bamako and learning the art of production from his brother (the acclaimed guitarist Oumar Konate), Babsy traveled to Gao with a mobile studio, setting up shop in the center of town, soon inundated with rappers wanting to record. These ephemeral studios laid the foundation for the emergent new genre, shaped by Babsy's signature sound of fluttering melody lines and lush vocals. His productions soon became synonymous with the regional style of modern Gao music. Global audiences might place Babsy's compositions alongside trap or soundcloud experiments, with collaged pastiche, hyper kitsch, and lo-fi aesthetics. This mix of disparate influences is best heard on tracks like the upbeat ‘’Erness Fassa’’, a dedication to a close friend, that sports a vaguely Caribbean flavor with elastic, highly addictive spacey beats, or the hypnotic programming and quivering synth pads of "Tounga", where Babsy asks Malians in exile to remember home and to their families they left behind. Though the sound may converge with familiar genres, Babsy's tracks are soulfully earnest, with love ballads, praise songs and advice. Tounga perfectly illustrates his ability to take whatever's around and experiment in free-form innovations, forging a style that’s both his own and a new direction for Songhai music.