R.I.P: Haitian Rap Pioneer Black Alex, 1976 – 2015

November 16, 2015

Words by Adolf Alzuphar

One of the most popular Haitian rappers of all time and one of the great contemporary Haitian musicians has just passed away at age 39 following a battle with an unspecified illness. Black Alex, also known as Black La, has left behind a treasure trove of rhymes and lyrics that will surely remain a part of Haiti’s cultural heritage for years to come.

Black Alex was born Jamecy Alex Pierre, in Petion-Ville. Petion-Ville is by far the wealthiest town in Haiti, but Black Alex was not born rich by any means. “Black Alex” was a childhood nickname given to him on account of the dark hue of his skin, eventually becoming the rapper’s pseudonym. At 18 years old, Black La performed in his first show ever at Place Boyer in Petion-Ville with now-president Michel Martelly, who was then the singer and keyboardist of the group Sweet Micky.

One of his friends had the idea to start a group, and the now mythical Kreyol Rap and Ragga crew King Posse was born. This was in the years just after Jean Claude Duvalier was overthrown, and Haitian society was becoming much less parochial and open to individual liberty, paving the way for a new wave of Haitian rappers to speak their minds on issues in Haiti. With Black Alex as its star, King Posse would go on to dominate Haiti Carnival for several years; make great rap and ragga songs; and also record two love songs beloved by Haitians, “Diana” and “Abandone.”

After King Posse’s dissolution, he went solo. It was around that time that Black Alex became known for his features on carnival merengues and the songs of other groups like Mizik Mizik, Carimi and Ralph Papillon. He continued to release solo work, though it was not as well received as many of his outside features, or the music he made with King Posse. The final group that he belonged to was Afouna, an act largely overshadowed by Barikad Crew, King Posse’s successors at the Kreyol Rap throne. Still, Alex remained well respected until his death, influencing successive generations of Kreyol MCs. Here’s a look at just a few of Black Alex’s most notable hits.


“Lokal” is King Posse’s first major hit. It is off of their debut album Pa Bat Kow.


“Zanmi” was a King Posse hit that spoke out against unprotected sex, alcohol and the use of drugs.

One of Black Alex’s best carnival performances with King Posse is “Sa Ou We”.


Black Alex made the beginning of this Mizik Mizik carnival merengue memorable.


Ralph Papillon and Black La’s massive hit “Love”, as a troubadour song.

Black Alex rapping one of his most popular rhymes on Sweet Mickey’s song “Denye Okazyon”