Ärsenik is a rap band based in Villiers-le-Bel, France, founded in 1992 by two brothers, Lino (Gaëlino M’Bani) and Calbo (Calboni M’Bani), whose family is originally from Congo.
Ärsenik started as a band in mid 1990s. Until 1997, the group also included Tony Truand, a cousin. In 1998, now a duo, Ärsenik released their first album « Quelques gouttes suffisent », which got a double gold Record. A new album was planned for 2005, but the two brothers decided instead to concentrate on solo albums. Lino released « Paradis Assassiné » in 2005, which was the name of a solo song on the group’s second album.
In 2007 the group released a disc titled « S’il en reste quelque chose » which included the most popular songs from the two brothers, such as « L’enfer remonte à la surface », « Rime & chatiments » and « Sexe, pouvoir & biftons ».
Revered as one of the original rap bands, their music voices the disaffection of the French underclass, combining African and Arabic melodies and beats with French lyrics.
In the late 1990s, Lino and Calbo teamed up with a group of rappers who were also second-generation Africans, on a collaborative project called Bisso Na Bisso, an expression which means « just between ourselves » in Lingala, the most commonly spoken language in the Congo region. Part of this group were Ben-J (from Les Neg’Marrons), Passi (from Ministère A.M.E.R.), twin brothers Doc and G Kill (from 2Bal), and Mystik and his female cousin M’Passi. The group embarked on a collective return to their African roots, featuring music with an innovative fusion of styles, that mixed modern hip-hop and zouk sounds with traditional Congolese rumba.
The members of Ärsenik have engaged in various personal projects besides the band.
Rapper Lino has released two solo albums of his own, Paradis assassiné released in September 2005 and Radio Bitume released in May 2012. Both have charted in France and particularly Paradis assassiné released on Hostile Records, which was a great commercial success.
In 2004, he collaborated with Kery James on his hit single « Relève la tête ». In 2007, he also collaborated on three tracks of rapper Stomy Bugsy’s album Rimes Passionnelles and in 2009, took part in Bissno Na Bisso’s project Africa.
In 2012 he signed with AZ, now part of Universal Music.
Calbo has also continued a solo music career. In 2003, he charted in the hit « Trop de peine » by Lynnsha featuring Calbo vocals.
In 2011, he announced preparation of an album projected for release in 2012 titled 6ème Chaudron and in June 2013, he released his solo single « C’est là-bas » on Trèfle record label accompanied by a music video. It featured another fellow Congolese artist known as VR.