Yeah I know, it’s March (glad you can count the months of the calendar, go you!) and probably wondering why the fuck I’m writing this now. Well a mix of things have contributed to that, a hint of laziness, a bit of writers block, but most importantly a sense of letting the new(ish) year develop a bit and not wanting to bombard you guys with the habitual end/beginning of year “lists” that pollute and clog the online spaces you read the most.
Another big year is rearing its head for the French rap industry, and as always for the second biggest rap industry in the world (it’s true) a few heads stand out more than others. Now this list isn’t a definite list but a fucking opinion, and in it you will find who I think will have a stellar 2017. I am omitting the usual suspects this time around (Booba, PNL etc) because they’re always at the top of the game and thus I would only write about them. This “list” (let’s just call it that for now) will run as a series, I don’t want to long you out with a super long article so I will keep it short, sweet and interesting. The aim of this series is to educate the ones who may now know the rap scene in France that well but have an interest in it. So voila, enjoy fuckers!
Part 1 Kekra:
The mysterious masked rapper hailing from Courbevoie on the outskirts of Paris is something of a different enigma. Not just by his obvious talent for creating something quite unique in a very saturated market of clones, but also due to the fact that he’s not about the image, and all about the music and that’s all that matters. Not one for conforming to what the new trends might be, Kekra creates them and presents them as aesthetically as a rare haute couture collection of excellence, and that’s exactly what his sound is; tailor-made haute-couture created as unique pieces for the finer tastes. Whether it’s combining dark and wavy at the same time as shown on the very sick Pas Joli , to the grime infused Roll Deep Style , or even the masterpiece double video for Mefiant/Lequel shot in Japan to a quasi psychedelic effect of genius, Kekra has started something very different and needed.
Having dropped four projects in 2016 (maaad) all of which were consistently of very good quality and with a strong following, the anticipated release of Vréel 2 (31st March 2017) is due to cause a major stir in the tranquil pond of the French rap hierarchy. His new video Sans Visage, the first track taken from Vréel 2 has just hit over a million views on YouTube in a week and is causing a bigger stir than usual. I have always said that Kekra was ahead of his time (you can check this in every article I’ve mentioned him in), but I think the masses are finally starting to understand just how sick he is and more importantly just how needed he is. His combination of super witty double entendres coupled with his unique wave of beats will take you in a universe he has created and not copied. Original wave king for the French rap scene, everything about him is different so you won’t be able to compare him to anyone.
His perfect use of the Vocoder as an instrument will sometimes plunge you into an eerie universe of what the streets are really like in the Parisian ghettos, close your eyes and you’re there, between the blocks and the “no-go” ends you will hear in the distance that unique sounding voice of the streets, that voice is that of an artist with his own way of seeing and translating it to the general public. But don’t stop at the wavy hooks and sonically mind blowing beats this universe presents, he’s also one of the best lyricists in the game, often some of his bars will go over a lot of people’s heads (mine included) until you catch it the next time around, but that’s the beauty of an artist like Kekra. Like an intricate painting by one of the masters, everytime you listen back you will catch something different, just like those masterpieces hanging in the worlds most famous galleries, your eyes tend to catch something new each and everytime. His videos are a testimony of that, visually always very sick and different, the globe trotter is always in a different country (Japan, Thailand, Togo, UK to name just a few) thus taking you on a journey through his music not only musically but also through the vision of his unique lens.
This is why for part 1 of this series I have chosen to shed light on this particular artist, not only is he one of the most important artists of his generation but he is also one of the most important the French rap scene has ever seen, an artist who dares to be himself, always in his own lane creating something different not just for the sake of being different but because it’s just him. Welcome to the universe of Kekra, a unique world of artistry painted by one of the greats.
La French Plug
Vréel 2 is out 31st March 2017 but in the meantime make sure you cop the new single Sans Visage