Pépé Kallé was born Kabasele Yampanya in Kinshasa (then Léopoldville) in the Belgian Congo, but later assumed his pseudonym in hommage to his mentor, Le Grand Kallé.

With a multi-octave vocal range and a dynamic stage presence, the 190 cm (6 ft 3 in) and 136 kg (300 lb) vocalist recorded more than three hundred songs and twenty albums[citation needed] during his two decade-long career. Known affectionately as “the elephant of African music” and “La Bombe Atomique,”[citation needed] Kallé entertained audiences with his robust performances. The guitarist was Solomon.