French hip hop
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Hip hop first appeared in France in 1979, just as the genre was achieving some success in the United States. Its popularity was due to the presence of a large African community in France. By 1982, a number of hip hop radio stations had appeared, including Rapper Dapper Snapper and BA Crew , and the future star DJ Dee Nasty made his first appearance. That same year saw the first major hip hop concert, the New York City Rap Tour, sponsored by Europe 1 and featuring Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer DST, Fab 5 Freddy, Mr Freeze and the Rock Steady Crew.
The first major star of French hip hop was MC Solaar, born Claude M'Barali in Dakar, Senegal. He moved to France in 1970 and lived in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. His 1991 Qui sème le vent récolte le tempo, was a major hit. The European Music Office's report on Music in Europe claimed that the French language was well-suited for rapping, and that MC Solaar's popularity came about "probably because of his very open and positive attitude, his strong literary talents and humour". Template:Fact He set many records, including being the first French hip hop recording to go platinum. Most artists claim that the French language hip hop style was influenced by Renaud Séchan songs.
Following MC Solaar's breakthrough, two broad styles emerged within the French hip hop scene; artists such as Solaar, Dee Nasty, and Alliance Ethnik championed a more mellow, sanguine style, while more hardcore performers such as Assassin and Suprême NTM assumed a more aggressive aesthetic. Many such artists found themselves at the heart of controversies over lyrics that were seen as glorifying the murder of police officers and other crimes , similar to outcries over violent thuggish lyrics in American gangsta rap. The cases include the notorious Ministère AMER's "Sacrifice de poulet", NTM's "Police" and Lunatic's "Le crime paie".
Through the nineties, the music grew to become one of the most popular genres in France; in 1997, IAM's release "L'école du Micro d'Argent" sold more than 1 million discs, with NTM shifting more than 700,000 copies of their final album "Supreme NTM". The group went their separate ways in 2000.
In the 2000s, similar to developments in the USA, a gap has begun to emerge in French hip hop between artists seen as having sold out, belonging to the mainstream, and more innovative independent artists. La Rumeur, and Sheryo, some hardcore rappers are known for their rejection of mainstream French rap, while Casey, Rocé, Médine and Youssoupha represent a mix of hardcore or purist rap and mainstream designs.