Egyptologists, fact-checkers and ordinary internet users have taken aim at Congolese rapper Maitre Gims this week over a video in which he claimed the pharaohs’ pyramids were wired for electricity.
The francophone megastar claimed that “the science the Egyptians had is beyond understanding and historians know it” in an interview with YouTube channel Oui Hustle — published in March but seized on in recent days online.
“In the age of the Empire of Kush (from the 8th century BC) there was electricity, the pyramids you see there had gold on their peaks, gold is the best conductor of electricity,” he said.
“They were effing antennas… people don’t understand that,” the 36-year-old added.
“The only power in Ancient Egypt was human power,” Egyptologist Guillemette Andreu-Lanoe told the Huffington Post’s French edition in response.
“There was no gold on the summits of the pyramids, neither inside nor outside of the structures.”
In fact, the massive mausoleums were built entirely from rocks like limestone, granite and quartzite.
“We’ve discovered that Gims isn’t just a huge rapper but also a dependable historian,” radio journalist Matthieu Noel joked on broadcaster France Inter Wednesday.
“Gims’ new album will be called ‘Crazier Than Ever’,” he added.
Some social media users responded to Gims by posting images from the 1994 film Stargate, in which the pyramids serve as landing pads for alien spacecraft.
Taking a more serious tone, disinformation specialist Tristan Mendes France recalled on Twitter that Gims has “three million Twitter followers, 11 million on Facebook, 11 million on YouTube.”
“Most of them young people who see him as a role model. And who will hear this,” he added.
“Good luck to history teachers in middle schools and high schools.”
Born in Congo in 1986 into a family of musicians, Gims has lived most of his life in France after his parents fled the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko when he was just two years old.
Initially a member of Parisian rap group Sexion d’Assaut, his solo career took off in the 2010s, making him one of the best-known rappers in the French-speaking world with particularly fervent fans in central and western Africa.