Google+ Beathearts: 02.2014


The new french movement: #4. Ahmad (Montpellier)

I've had a weakness for French rap ever since I discovered Le Funk Mob and Motorbass remixes on the MC Solaar b-sides that started to surface in the early nineties. That interest turned to addiction during (what I would define as) the golden age of French rap which I would define as around 1996-1999.

In my view, French producers outplayed most of their American counterparts in that era . With acts/producers such as DJ Kheops, IPM, La Cliqua, Double Pact and Sages Poètes de la Rue they brought something new to the game with minimalistic but hard boom-bap beats often with samples from non-traditional sources.

But as the millenium turned, many French acts followed their overseas colleagues in a spiral of bling-bling mentality, stereotype lyrics and beats. There are of course exceptions like some of the spin-off projects from the TTC-crew, Abd Al Malik and OFX but for a quite a while our focus has been elsewhere.

About two years ago something changed. If most acts (at least the once that got international recognition) earlier was based around Paris and Marseille now we got fresh sounds from all around the country. All those new encounters sparked us to kick off a new Beatheart's series entitled "The new French Movement".

Among the once we've covered here are #1. Don Da None (Caen) and #2. Zerolex (Besançon). Last year we met up with the Robert Glasper's evil twin in France - #3. Remi Panossian (Toulouse). More jazz than rap but they got that same fresh attitude and I still get the feeling that the musical innovation is spreading around the hexagone we know as La France. Last week, we discovered another interesting artist that is now our #4 feature in the series. Enjoy!


Ahmad based in Montpellier is no newcomer with already three albums under his belt. But he recently released a whole string of videos, EP's and singles that to me represent that new movement of French musical innovation. Atmospheric instrumentals that tell a story of their own and could easily be stand-alone releases combined with beautiful poetic flows that makes Google Translate work hard to decipher. Just check the clip for "Drago" below:

To help those of you who don't speak French to appreciate his rhymes we got in contact with Ahmad and his team for an in-official translation of the lyrics for "Drago". Enjoy below.

The title "Drago" is a reference to Stallone's Rocky II movie with Russian Boxer Ivan Drago (played by Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren :) so the track begins with a quote from him: "if he dies - he dies".

My high kicks are just like Haikus / I want my Liquid Sword / Before choosing one of the 6 millions ways of meeting the homie Biggie Smalls / And I'm sounding just like a 6 chords guitar from Nashville / It's raining problems and I'm throwing a future together / I'm innovating in a dirty trick / Only crime pays, but how much does it cost ? /  I'm perfecting an itinerary which is oddly big / Waiting for a change to come just like Sam Cook / I got some childish dream; my sleep is the one of an adult / and trust me when I wake up, the bohemian lifestyle is being canceled / The nobel price is being smoke through a peace pipe / while the sun is in a bad mood. 

My launching ramp is in a bad shape / but I remain fair play : Detroit Pistons / I'm whispering a small detail, completing the course of History / strinking the future with a crystal ball / And I'm freestyling my motto / I'm turning over a new leaf but I'm falling asleep on the wheel / I'm here in this dirty world, so I can make figures with the alphabet / a humble happiness / and if he dies he dies, a russian boxer once told me / And you can check it out, I'm just kidding about it / It's the real truth, and it's true for real / a preamble on an epitaph / Broken dreams / Destiny / Plexiglas / And I'm dropping a verse in advance / But god be blessed, everything is not for sale.

Pretty awesome right?

Ahmad has just released an EP on Bandcamp entitled "Ne mourez jamais seul" (which I think translate to "Never die alone") and a clip called "Noveau Sinatra". He is currently working on new material for an upcoming album or EP hopefully due later this year. Be sure we'll keep you updated!

Ahmad on Bandcamp