Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Le rap party des francos - 8/9/2009

The Francophone hip-hop scene always gets showcased throughout Francofolies and this closing blowout was a testament to its breadth.

The party kicked off with Samian, an MC that dropped powerfully conscious rhymes in both French and Algonquin, over smooth beats rooted in 90s old-school to my ears. He even did a couple of verses a cappella, including one riffing on "mon rap à moi," empowering young First Nations kids. A fitting description of his style came in one of his verses: "I don't do rap from the streets/I do rap from the reservation."

Assemblée rocked some mighty boom-bap full of anglicisms, in the vein of what I've come to expect from the Francophone rap scene - lots of shouts of "faites du bruit" and hyping up the crowd. They were followed by Radio Radio, with their Acadian slang, 808 swing, live horns and rant against tam-tams and djembes.

I saw [Ghislain] Poirier and Séba at my first Francofolies - which was, incidentally, the last time they played Francofolies. Poirier's beats are heavily influenced by soca and British bass music like dubstep, which adds a dark menacing bounce under Séba's rhymes. Séba dropped an a cappella tirade against the Cinématheque québécoise, too.

The headliner was Loco Locass in their only Montreal show of the year. They're a group I admire greatly on a musical level, especially given their recent collaborations with chamber orchestras. To be polite (and not wanting to open this can of worms), I don't always agree with their politics and so a lot of the long activist speeches between tunes did not engage me the way they did most of the crowd. The live band, and the energetic interaction among the MCs, was killer, blasting out some breakneck drum 'n' bass and building to raucous punk fervour by the end of the set. Samian came out during their encore to perform their collaboration, "La paix des braves," and to sign a petition trying to force PM Stephen Harper to recognize and support the First Nations people (it was more specific than that but I didn't catch all the details - and that's one thing I do support).

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