The Leader of French Rap Revolution
With his distinctive style, sharp songwriting kills, and an attitude of distinct cool,
rapper MC Solaar has become one of France's most influential rapper.
Born Claude M'Barali in Dakar, Senegal, 1969, MC Solaar was voted best upcoming act at
the 1992 Victoires de la Musique awards ceremony, and his influence has begun for the past
years to attract world interest. His debut album from Polydor,"Qui Sème le Vent
Récolte le Tempo",sold a lot of copies and became the first rap album in France to
go platinum (over 400,000 units locally). It landed four hits, including "Bouge de
Là", and "Caroline".
The international interest in Solaar led to releases in most European countries, including
Germany, and Japan where he toured. In the UK, Solaar found a home in Gilles Peterson's
Talkin' Loud label. Solaar was also one of the guests in Gangstarr's Guru Jazzmatazz
project, and one of his songs was included in the Tommy Boy rap compilation in the USA.
Solaar says that when they started with their first album they wanted to equal in quality
what American rappers were doing, and show that they could make the French language swing
to their music. It earned them respect and credit, even on the international scene.
His writing has often been compared to that of a number of icons, including the late Serge
Gainsbourg. In addition to his swinging rapping style, much of Solaar's sound comes from
the music composed by his versatile DJ Jimmy Jay.
Rap is usually associated with suburban violence. His lyrics, while dealing with
contemporary issues, are positive. Rap music is often tipped as monotonous ; his music
swings. And last but not least, rap means commercial ghetto ; Solaar sales went far beyond
the usual 60,000 consumers who have a rap album at home."
Solaar released his second critically acclaimed album 'Prose Combat', in November 1994,
and set his place in the international rap industry for good. And then three years later
with the release, in June 1997 of his third album,recorded in Paris and mixed in New York,
French rap star MC Solaar confirmed his status as an international artist without
compromising any of his superb serenity. In 1995 he also made a song for a French film
called La Haine which is about life in the French suburbs and the violence that takes
place there. The song, Comme dans un film, has also got remarks to violence which is very
different from what Solaar has been writing about before since his rhymes are usually
about peace, love and harmony.
Later in 1995 he ended his relationship with his DJ, Jimmy Jay due to an
argument and started to to work with Pigale Boom Bass. Since then his style has progressed
to a more fluid rapping and chilled beats mixed with old samples.
In 1997, with the release of his third album Paradisaque he confirmed confirmed his status
as an international artist without
compromising any of his superb serenity. The biggest hits of that album were Gangster
Moderne and Les Temps.
In 1998, MC Solaar released a self-titled album. It's only 37 minutes long but contains
his latest hit, 5éme saison. He also released in 1998 a double CD called La tour de la
question which is a concert album.
MC Solaar is a fluid rapper and a good poet which can be easily noticed in his lyrics. His
easy going, yet teasing style, his positive lyrics and his love of words and sensuous
perception has won him many awards and the gradual admiration of his Americanl peers as
well as others around the world.