I've lived in France for a few years now and one thing that is very clear from the music heard on the radio and seen on the TV is how much rap has permeated so many levels of the culture here.
The problem for me is a lot of that rap just doesn't fit into the kind of hip hop I'm keen to hear.
There are obvious exceptions ot the rule, if you've heard of Saïan Supa Crew, you'll know where I'm coming from and another group that i always found interesting is Hocus Pocus, not that they sound alike or even walk the same path it's just there is an a air of positive energy about everything they do that i find, well, uhm, infectious.
For those that don't know Hocus Pocus is actually a group, from Nantes in France, consisting of a small collective of Musicians and DJ's. The main focus of the band is 20syl, a rapper cum DJ who is also well known for being part of the legendary DJ battle crew C2C. In Hocus Pocus he takes beat making and Rapping duties and drafts in another member of C2C in DJ Greem to provide the turntable flourishes. what's really interesting is that they blend the traditional elements of MC'ing and DJ'ing with live musicians, with Matthieu Leliévre on Guitar, Hervé Godard on bass and Antoine Saint-Jean on Drums.
The track i want to focus on is from their fourth album Place 54, which came out in 2007 just as I moved to France as it happens.
It features the US rap crew the Procussions and i love how the rap's are in their traditional languages, 20syl in French and the Procussions in English, it sounds like it wouldn't work, but it really does. I also love how it's rallying against the constant swearing and cursing so prevalent in modern rap music, and how taking those words it turns it into a witty twin language chorus, just so you know it roughly translates as "we don't need your, F*CK, S*IT, MOTHERF*CKA, don’t need your N*&GA, B*&CH! “SUCKA!”, which looks like it's all profanity but in the context of the positive lyrics it really isn't.
On top of that the beat is one of their finest, soulful, funk and bumping like Crenshaw Boulevard, enjoy.