Category Archives: hip-hop

Russian Hip-hop Medly

Because I can’t seem to find much information for many of these Russian hip-hop artists (and R&B artists), I’ve decided to simply make a nice sampling of their videos. Enjoy.


Макс Лоренс








My Friday night continuation of the journey into Russian hip-hop has yielded more great finds. Sadly, Russian hip-hop has numbered among my more difficult genres to collect info and music from! Luckily I have found several artists with free tracks on, and have relied on the magic of Youtube. One of many tonight is Airat. As I said, you can get some of his tracks on, though only few. Luckily, he also has a website which has a lot of his videos on them: Airat. You can also listen to a lot of his music on the site! Either way, if you share my love of Eastern European hip-hop, Airat is another great artist to explore!


Ar. Qure

Tonight I ended up deep into Swedish pop music, and found some amazing stuff (which I’m sure I”ll post eventually!) But somehow this night ended up with Russian R&B, which turned Russian hip-hop. I’m glad it did (you know I love my Eastern European hip-hop!). One artist I found is Ar. Qure. I cannot seem to find any information on him anywhere and this is making me sad. Apparently he’s had several albums. From what I’ve heard I quite enjoy him, and hope I can find more soon! The only reason I’ve heard anything is because his page has free downloads right now. So do yourself a favour and give a listen: Ar. Qure It’s too bad there’s only 5 tracks and no information on the artist!

At least I was able to find a couple of videos!


Sinik is another French rapper I’ve been enjoying lately. He has been around since 1996, when he formed the group Amalgame with three of his friends. The collective evolved and became the Ul’Team Atom. After several mixtapes he released his first EP, Malsain, on the 3.5.7. label in 2000. In 2001, he met Karim et Nabil with whom he established the label Six o Nine. His meeting with Diam’s was a decisive turning point in his career. The two rappers have toured frequently together and have a more than professional relationship, considering themselves “brother & sister”.

January 1st 2005 saw the release of “La Main Sur le Coeur”, his first album with Warner Bros, which became a double gold disc. His second album, “Sang Froid”, was released on April 3rd 2006. It is also a double gold CD. Sinik also performs under other names: Malsain, L’assassin, and S.I.N.I.K. One of my favourite albums of his is Le Cote Malsain, released as L’assassin. It has the sound I’ve fallen in love with in French hip-hop though I can’t quite describe what that sound is! It’s definitely in the beats and instrumentation. This album definitely has some amazing piano parts, and choir/symphonic epicness that is pretty awesome. In fact I think this two-CD album has become one of my absolute favourite French hip-hop albums!

Check out his website: Sinik. Apparently a new album is coming out May 21st! I can’t wait!

Fonky Family

Fonky Family are a French hip-hop group from Marseilles. The group consists of four rappers: Le Rat Luciano, Menzo, Don Choa and Sat; producer Pone, DJ Djel;  dancer Blaze; singer Karima; and manager Faf Larage. Fonky Family made their first appearance on the French hip hop scene in 1994, after IAM had paved the way for new hip hop artists originating from Marseille. Their first album, Si Dieu Veut, came out in 1997 and soon received a gold album. Karima left the group before the release of the album.  After numerous collaborations with different members of IAM on their solo albums, the group released an extended play (EP) record with six live and edited titles, titled Hors série volume 1, in spring 1999. Hors série volume 2 was released in 2000.


The group’s second album, Art de rue, came out in 2001. After that, many members of the group chose to pursue solo careers: Le Rat Luciano had already released a solo album in 2000, and Sat and Don Choa followed in 2001 and 2002 respectively. DJ Djel produced two compilations in 2001 and 2003. In January 2006, Fonky Family released their third album Marginale Musique (Jive/Sony BMG), which debuted on the French charts straight at number one.


This is another group I haven’t been able to find a ton of info on but I have definitely been enjoying their albums. I think that their latest album, Marginale Musique, has been my favourite. I really liked the music on that album. The sound was also a little more polished. But I’ve enjoyed the other albums immensely as well.


Check out their site: Fonky Family

La Fouine

La Fouine is a French rapper I stumbled upon in my recent quest for expanding my French hip-hop collection. He released his first album, Bourré au sonin 2005. His second album, Aller-Retour, was released in 2007. I haven’t been able to get a hold of the first, but I do have Aller-Retour,  and it is a great album. One of my favourite tracks on the album, “Tombé Pour Elle” features Amel Bent, who is my absolute favourite French artist! =) La Fouine also released Mes Repères in 2009 and his newest album, La Fouine vs. Laouni, in 2011. This latest album was inspired by his dual personalities: the first one La Fouine, character he created for “entertaining people; La Fouine is very cunning, materialistic, bad boy and so vulgar … it’s not really me”. The second one Laouni (his real name) is about things he lived in his youth; here his rap is sincere and moving. The week of album’s release, more than 25,621 copies were sold in France, A major feat for a hip hop artist. He has also his own label “Banlieue Sale Music” and his own clothing line called “Street Swagg”.


Between albums, La Fouine has released 5 mixtapes, which I think are my favourites. I have listened to both volumes of Capitale du Crime which were released after Aller-Retour and La Fouine vs. Laouni respectively. The mixtapes have some absolutely amazing collaborations with other great artists, and the styles are so wonderfully varied. It’s a true smörgåsbord for the ears!  I wish I knew more about him but check out his music and watch some of his videos! (He actually has a ton!)

And of course check out his website: La Fouine




 Nneka is a Nigerian-German hip-hop/soul singer. She was born and raised in Nigeria, but went to Germany at 18 to pursue her career in singing (along with a degree in Anthropology!) Nneka has worked closely with German beat-maker DJ Farhot. She first gained attention as an opening act for Sean Paul at Hamburg Stadtpark, and shortly after began working on her debut album. She finished recording the album in the autumn of 2005: Victim of Truth. It was released not only in Germany but also in England, France, Netherlands, Nigeria and Japan. The album earned rave reviews from the media, the UK’s Sunday Times later declared it “the year’s most criminally overlooked album”, comparing it favourably to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (one of the greatest albums of all time! I was listening to it earlier tonight!).

Her second album, No Longer at Ease, was released in 2008. Most of the songs are political, talking about the plight of the Niger Delta and the corruption Nigeria. The lead single from it, ‘Heartbeat’, became her first song to break into the German Top 50. In September 2009, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at number twenty. In November 2009, Nneka staged her first concert tour of the United States where she performed shows in New York City, Vienna (Washington DC), Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Furthermore she was a special guest on The Roots Jam session. Her first US release Concrete Jungle was set for 2 February 2010.

Soul is Heavy is the third album by singer Nneka. It was released on 18 March 2012 in the U.K. In a recent interview Nneka stated that the album is “a bit more of a “band” sound this time around, a mix of digital and organic music. Still very me, though. It deals with issues that have to do with the day-to-day life of people: corruption, false prophecies, religion, war conflict…” The album is definitely of a somewhat different style from her previous two, but it is amazing, and still so very Nneka. I love her voice. I think it’s very raw and emotional. You can hear for sure the African roots in her beats and I think it gives a sort of “earthy” quality to her songs. If nothing else, Nneka’s music is incredibly powerful. 



Hocus Pocus

Sometimes I am bewildered by how magical music is. After I found Keny Arkana, I decided I should try to find some more French hip-hop, and have I struck gold. Hocus Pocus is a French hip-hop/jazz/soul /funk band from Nates. That’s right, a hip-hop-jazz band. Could this be real? The group was formed in 1995 and had some attention throughout the 90s, but really became popular in 2006 for their LP 73 Touches. They have had 5 albums to date, and I have gotten my hands only two so far but I will hunt for the rest!

Obviously the music is just wonderful. The group’s music has been described as a mix of all hip-hop true elements with live instrumentation influenced by jazz, soul & funk music. The merging of these styles is an incredible blend, it is smooth, it is funky, and it is real. So far I have only listened to their latest album, 16 Pièces, but as a whole it is a truly spectacular work. I don’t even know what to say, as I listen it just gets better…so listen!!!!

Keny Arkana

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 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!


I know nothing about Bacil except the fact that he is a Slovakian hip-hop artist that I just stumbled upon and I love him! I’ve probably said how much I love eastern European languages for hip-hop (especially my Polish hip-hop). The beats in the songs I’ve found so far are great and many have a great electronic element to them. I am trying desperately to find a full album of his!

Check out some of his videos!