I was on a blog which had a bunch of French music videos recently taking in any new sounds I could find. One thing that drives me crazy is many of the videos could not be viewed because copyright laws prevent them from being viewed in the U.S. This offends me greatly. I think it is a crime to keep music and culture from anyone. Why can’t I view a French music video? The fact that I live in North America and not the European Continent means what exactly? The only thing which upsets me more than this censorship is the actual inability to get so much of the music I love here in the states. Sure I can go to amazon.fr and pay Euros (curse our week American dollars!) and an arm and a leg for shipping… c’est la vie.
Anyway, while browsing what videos I could, I came upon Keny Arkana. Truth be told her videos were blocked also, but a female French rapper? Nothing would stand in my way! I have been able to find next to nothing about her. Wikipedia provided the only info I have stumbled upon so far (being to lazy to read French right now): Arkana began rapping in 1996, with her first texts at the age of 12. She formed the collectives Mars Patrie and later Etat-Major, gaining performance experience in the Marseilles underground scene, culminating in the 2003 release of Etat Major’s first mixtape. After several solo appearances on various projects, Arkana released her first EP Le missile est lancé (The rocket is launched) in 2004. Her first album Entre ciment et belle étoile (Between concrete and stars) was released in October 2006. Her first single, La rage, released in 2006, pointedly references the 2005 civil unrest in France.
Keny Arkana also launched a series of local social fora through the association Appel aux sans voix (Call to the voiceless). “L’Esquisse 2” is her latest album, released in May 2011. I have only managed to get my hands on 2005’s Lesquisse, but I am in heaven. You know I am a lover of the Polski hip-hop but the flow of the French language is an equal contender in my heart. Her delivery is impeccable and the beats and amazing instrumentation on the album completely draw me in. I think European hip-hop is musically far more sophisticated than our American brand.
Si tu peux liser le francais, son site: Keny Arkana
Her single “La Rage” was the first track I heard of hers, but it is on her second album, Entre ciment et belle étoile, which hopefully I can find soon!