Lino is the stage name of rapper Gaëlino M'Bani, born in Brazzaville, Congo in 1974, who started the innovative French rap group Ärsenik with his brother Calboni M'Bani in 1992. Ärsenik created tough, uncompromising hip-hop with hardcore beats and melodies inspired by traditional African and Arabic music, filled with aggressively rapped socially and politically conscious lyrics, particularly relating to the struggles of the French underclass. Both of the group's albums, Quelques Gouttes Suffisent... (1998) and Quelque Chose à Survécu... (2002), were Top Ten successes in France. Ärsenik also participated in French/African hip-hop fusion group Bisso Na Bisso, who formed in 1999 and released two albums that year, and collective Noyau Dur, whose self-titled album was released by Because Music in 2005.
Lino began concentrating on his solo career in 2005, releasing his debut full-length, Paradis Assassiné, on EMI in September of that year. The album was a Top 20 hit, but was still considered a commercial disappointment and Lino left the label. He devoted the following years to collaborations, working with rapper Stormy Bugsy in 2007 and contributing to Bisso Na Bisso's third album, Africa, in 2009. An album of unfinished, unmixed Lino tracks called Radio Bitume was released without his permission in 2012. He signed to Universal-affiliated label AZ, which released his long-awaited second album, Requiem, in 2015. The album was his most successful to date, hitting number two on the French album charts. ~ Paul Simpson