After last year’s brilliant ‘Ginger Juice’, Switzerland based rapper Makala has become inseparable from Varnish La Piscine who produced his highly anticipated debut album ‘Radio Suicide’. Encompassing a dirty yet sensual funk aesthetic, the two Swiss acolytes celebrate an hybrid and refreshing sound that resonates wonderfully on each track. The MC, of Congolese origin, whose name means “embers” in lingala, delivers punchy rhymes and bewitching flows on retro yet modern moods. The Superwak Clique member displays and cultivates his unique sound with ease… and it suits him well.
Loud, the MC from Montreal reveals a very convincing and faithful piece in the form of ‘Médalilles’ where his melancholic intonations are accompanied by sharp punchlines. Now that the excitement of the beginnings has passed, the young man seems quite overwhelmed, almost already exhausted by the world and events that now surround him. Loud returns this year with a brand new album that allows him to further serve as the ambassador of French-speaking Canadian rap status. The successor to the unmissable ‘Une année record’ is named ‘Tout ça pour ça’ and will be released on May 24th.
Prince Waly, who makes up half of the group Big Buddha Cheez, is a true storyteller. As he keeps saying: he was bottle-fed to American cinema, something that is ever present when listening to his music. On ‘BO Y Z’, the Montreuil artist pushes the boundaries of his music. Nineties imagery, a cinematic tone and a fantasy of the ubiquitous gangster are the three constants that define his universe. The 9-track record features contributions from various quality guests such as Tengo John, TripleGo, Loveni, Alpha Wann, Enchantée Julia and Feu! Chatterton.
Varnish La Piscine, rapper, producer and member of SuperWak Clique (Di-Meh, Slimka, Makala…) delivers an astounding audio-visual experience in the form of ‘Le Regard qui Tue’. Serving as the follow up to ‘Escape (F + R Prelude)’, which already demonstrated his virtuosity, the Swiss artist returns with a very conceptual project; on funky dark productions he unveils an audio book telling a B-movie-like gangster story taking place in 60’s Monaco starring Varnish’s alias Inspector Sidney Franco. He is joined by rapper Rico Tha Kid playing the journalist Angel de Jesùs and the sensual Bonnie Banane aka Gabrielle Solstice, a criminal who literally kills with her eyes. With this new record, Varnish La Piscine has released one of the most original projects of the year so far.
France’s Ash is a mysterious figure. Notoriously elusive, his scarce interviews can be counted on the fingers of one hand, as he would rather express himself through his music. The Strasbourg rapper has a confident and intriguing voice and a distinctive brand of melancholy poetry. On ‘Score’, he abandons the “Kidd” he used to be as he nonchalantly delivers a smooth, detached effort.
Brussels trio L’Or du Commun are gathering momentum. “Sur ma vie”, the second effort from their forthcoming album ‘Sapiens’ scheduled to release this fall, sees Loxley, Primero and Swing deliver an inspirational message of manifesting ambitions and achieving success. The Belgian group is steadily developing their sound, with lively flows, sharp bars and an uninhibited sense of humour that will no doubt give them the keys to their own success.
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GLGV politely use the Japanese courtesy and say “Itadakimas” before devouring a beat. Offering melodic bars peppered with pop culture references over sweet yet powerful production, the Parisian crew comprises five rappers and a DJ, balancing between different worlds as an eclectic group with a genuine original energy and sound. Their name is an acronym for “Good Life Good Vibes”, and together they’re determined to shine with their second project ‘EscXale’, releasing September 21st.
Hailing from the Paris neighbourhood of Argenteuil, Jewel first found a means to express himself though dance before falling in love with rhythm and poetry. On the soulful “High School”, the lyricist is all in his feelings as he finally reveals his secret love to his high-school crush. Effortlessly switching between a precise flow and a harmonious hooks, he offers a upbeat, lilting energy to create a striking piece with real replay value.
‘Léticia’ finds Jazzy Bazz at his most romantic. The Parisian lyricist makes a declaration of unrequited love to the apple of his eye on this light-hearted serenade, poetically expressing his helplessly obsessive desire for a woman who does not seem interested in his advances. After long months of silence, the rapper from the French capital’s 19th arrondissement will be back with his highly anticipated sophomore album “Nuit”, releasing September 7th.
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Paris’ Guizmo is a complex figure, with a personal life troubled with self-destructive tendencies and struggles with vice and addiction. In his music he painfully describes his experiences in this dark environment and his slow journey to redemption, revisiting the iconic Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin classic “Je t’aime… Moi non plus” as he explains to his lover how tortured he is and warns her to stay away from him.
Josman is on the rise. His latest offering ‘L’Occasion’ continues his upward momentum, following his favorite recipe: Eazy Dew on the beat and Marius Gonzales behind the camera. Once again, the alchemy is at its peak, as the Parisian rapper demonstrates a new panel of flows, flexing his technical ability over old-school style production. The track is the third single from his forthcoming debut album ‘J.O.$’, due September 14th.
Hailing from northern Paris, 21-year-old Lord Esperanza released his first album at the end of 2017. Only mid-way through 2018, the prolific rapper has already followed up with two projects, the latest being a 7-track drop entitled ‘Internet’. On this EP, the self-proclaimed “kid of the century” shares ‘Boulevard’, a powerful track that illustrates a ludicrous picture of the world that surrounds him. He expresses his distress through carefully constructed rhymes and vivid metaphors, laying his emotions bare over a delicate beat, a touching cry for help coming straight from his heart.
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Without rain, there can be no flowers. Since 2015’s ‘Negus’, Brussels’ Moka Boka has often returned to the motto that that every cloud has a silver lining and the need for pain to find happiness. Never one to be afraid to speak his truth, on his latest full-length project the rapper shares an honest message of hope, showcasing his surgical flows and melancholic lyricism as he nonchalantly drops spirited bars over soulful productions.
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Combining a unique mixture of rumba, funk and hip-hop, veteran Belgian rapper Baloji’s new album ‘137 Avenue Kaniama’ infuses its irresistible groove with an introspective, soulful core. Drawing inspiration from his unique journey, juggling between Brussels and Kinshasa, between French and Lingala, between loving and leaving, he cultivates his original sound through drawing contrasts and parallels between his experiences, bringing us into his complex world of conflicting feelings.
This poetic song from Dinos sees the Parisian rapper transcribe an heartbreaking message left by an ex-girlfriend on his voicemail, with each verse channelling the development from love to hate. The melancholic effort, lifted from his debut album ‘Imany’, features mesmerising vocals on the hook courtesy of Yseult.