A Rap & A Cup of Tea // No.8 _ December 2020

Page 1

ISSUE NO. 8 / December 2020

A Rap & a cup of tea

Featuring Médine // Abou Tall // Sean & much more

Contents 1

Médine p.25

Abou Ta

• Editor's Speech p.3 • Punchlines p.4 • Reviews p.19 • Playlist p.24 • International Feat p.33



Sean p.5

Ben plg p.35

• Who's? • Damso p.11 • Lala&Ce p.39 • El'ka p.23 • Rap x Manga pt.3 p.40 • Tribute to Népal p.12 • The Team p.41 • Credits p.43 Photography Cover © Fifou


First of all, I'd like to wish you a wonderful holiday season, with all its happiness and joy. Happy times of celebration, sharing and bliss with your loved ones. Also, a special thought for those families who will not be together, because this damn virus that put the whole planet on pause has sadly taken one of their own... To all of you, I extend my sincerest regards. This particular year has truly affected everyone's spirits, and I hope that during these difficult times, music has brought you comfort just as it did to me. So many great projects, amazing lyrics, strong emotions and feelings. If I had to sum up this year in one project I would say without hesitation Adios Bahamas from Népal. For its softness, its message of hope but also its wistfulness and above all for its symbolism. Rest in peace to the soul of this artist, who I know, will be missed in the French Rap scene. Mama Lova? It has been the 8th edition and I couldn't help by mentioning you here in these few lines. I will never say it enough: I have no other purpose than to make you proud. I love you with all my heart. A big thank you to Tata, the one who raised me and who never stopped loving and supporting me. Thank you to Adélaïde, my soulmate, who has been with me on this project through thick and thin since the beginning. Thank you to Marine, my soul sister without whom I wouldn't be here today and to whom I owe so much. Thanks to Tiffany who never stopped supporting me and improving each of my projects, her love helped me go this far... To all the people I didn't mention but who helped me become the person I am today, thank you. This magazine wouldn't be the same without you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS GUYS! With all my love, Fanny Hill Scott



Punchline "Apart from the good we do, nothing's very important." S.Pri Noir

"Your plans will only work if you’re quiet about it." DTF

"If I have what you don’t, it’s because I did what you haven’t done." Dosseh

"There’s a difference between move on and giving up." Damso

"I'm trying to forget but it’s harder than learning." Alpha Wann

"I’m telling you that I’m fine, but look at me. Do I look like I’m okay?" Dinos

Illustration © Emilia Smolka



Clearly the Rap revelation of this year 2020, Sean appears as the new treasure of French Rap. With a visual, melodic and lyrical universe all his own, the Parisian rapper is without a doubt one of the rappers to keep your eyes on. He told us with a touch of bitterness how his latest MP3 + WAV project was born after a burglary, also shows us the agility with which he and his team bounced back. Mysterious and fascinating, Sean was able to create his own universe and we must admit that it's captivating. The one who knew how to bewitch us through sounds like 'Mood', 'En Vrai' and 'Temps D'un Été' took the time to confide to A Rap & A Cup of Tea about the evolution of his career, his vision of music and his musical desires. Passionate, humble and sincere, Sean is undoubtedly destined for a promising future and we can't wait to find out what the future holds. Can you tell me about your background in music? For now, I'd say that my career is quite short (laughs). I started doing sound under the name Sean when I was in high school I think... The first sound I made was thanks to my manager because he paid me for my studio session. At the time, I had stopped doing music for a while and he said "Keep going, there's something to do". And in the end, two weeks later he found the people with whom I made my first music video. I think that's when I started thinking that I really had to keep going. Your last project, before this one, named À Moitié Loup was released last April and less than 6 months later you are back with a new EP. Is it the infatuation of your fans that made you come back so quickly? Yep totally! With my team we are also in a really productive process and we try to make a maximum of sound. Now we're in a new era of consumption, so in the end I think we're just trying to produce as much as people want. It's like a cycle, people consume the music faster so we produced it faster and then we make it available quickly. In fact, I've heard that the sequel is almost ready... Yeah that's right, we're seriously ready. (laughs) You know, we got robbed the night of the national day celebration [July 14 in France], and so we got back the sounds from the project in our emails. That's why we named it MP3+WAV. On this project the sounds are not mixed but only mastered and I made them almost 2 years ago... I didn't want to lose them, that's why we decided to release this project as it is. So that explains why we are already ready for the next part... In the end, I haven't released the tracks I've been working on recently.



How would you describe this new project? We really tried to bounce back despite what happened and come up with a nice project. Even for the morale of the team, it was good for us, because otherwise we had really lost more than a year of work and that was terrible for us. We also made the choice not to release real clips but only lyrical videos. You see, it's as if nothing was finished in this project. It's frustrating on the one hand but on the other hand, there's something interesting I think. In the end, when I'm going to release new sounds, people will only be able to see the evolution that's been going on and that's cool. Now I'm lucky enough to be able to do crazy stuff with musicians like Loubensky who does piano arrangements and that kind of thing changes everything, it's incredible. Once you had said that it was directly in the studio that you created your songs ? Yes, it's true that I do a lot of things by instinct. In fact, I have a rather particular way of working. Basically, when I listen to a prod and I really pick up a vibe, I don't want to listen to it again until I get into the booth and put my voice on it. I don't want to lose the energy of the first listening because that's when I feel more stuff. At the moment I'm doing the toplines in the studio and then I'm going home to write the lyrics. In the end, I realized that I gained in melody by doing that. It's much more important to me now to articulate in my songs, for example, so that people understand what I'm saying so that it speaks to more people, you see?

'' It's not just my project, it's the project of a whole team.'' I remember that in 2019, your Mercutio EP was really based on the ambivalence of the Mercutio character [from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"]. Is this ambivalence of emotions and sensations that you put forward at that time and that we also find on À MoitiÊ Loup, something you want to keep on your next projects? I think that the theme of ambivalence will always be a recurring theme in my career. On this one, it's even deeper because the project is split into two entities: man and animal [e.d.: Hence the symbolism of the title which means


"half wolf"]. Mercutio was more the duality between the alter-ego and the ego. It's also the example of this best buddy who gives you lots of advice on what to do, but in the end he can get as much into trouble as he can save your life. I like to play with this double-sided game. You wrote an ultra touching song 'Première Nuit', it must be hard to get naked that way ? You want me to tell you the truth? It's a piece we haven't even written. We just had the theme and it's the prod that inspired us to write this song, even though it's hyper-dancing and I start with "I'm in front of his grave". It's really paradoxical once again. (laughs) We know that it's hard to stand out in French Rap, especially right now because Rap dominates the music industry, but on the other hand, you've created a world of your own. Did you try to create something unique or did you just say to yourself "I stay authentic, if it works it's good, if it doesn't it's okay"? I didn't really try to differentiate myself, I just wanted to do what I liked. Now I just keep doing what I like without asking myself "Is it going to work or not?" If I had wanted to make sounds that "work" and be sure to capture the attention of the audience, I would surely have made a different kind of music, said something else and tried to get into codes. We're not going to lie to each other, there are a lot of codes that rappers use to succeed now. (laughs) I never wanted to take that path, I decided to follow my own path even if it's longer and dizzying. In the end the story will be more beautiful and I wouldn't have lied to myself. In the interview you did for the media Yard you also explain it a little bit because you say that for you, rapping doesn't necessarily mean "talking about yourself" and that, on the contrary, it's about talking about everything you see around you. And you add: "I like to satirize what I see. I've never made music to tell about what I did the night before." Yeah, that's totally it. It allows you to keep something a little "rare" in the process as well. It's like there's a distance between the artist and the person, you know what I mean? In spite of what I say in my songs, I don't really feel like people know me. (laughs) Sometimes I give myself away in my songs but I can also talk about someone else, you know? That's what's cool about the music I make: you never know if it's introspective or if it's a character, I like to lose people in that blur.


Of all the sounds you've released, which one is most like you in this case? From the last project I would say it's 'Mood', it's pretty light sounding, but on the other hand the lyrics are cool and there's a good musicality. "You know in two minutes I can change my mood" (he hums). Even in the puns and in the chorus I think it's a sound that represents me pretty well. In your opinion, is there an important difference between an EP, a mixtape or an album? Yes, I find that they each have a different meaning. Already I find that an EP and a mixtape is different and the album even more because that's really the finality. It's something you're going to print and keep forever. You can listen to an album 5 or 10 years later and still have the same thrill you had at the beginning. I think a mixtape is a way to get to know each other, and it allows you to "practice" before releasing your first album where you say to your fans "Go listen to my first album, this is really me, you really have to listen to it" you know what I mean?

'' We got robbed the night of the national day celebration, so we got back the sounds from our emails. That's why we named it MP3+WAV.'' In 'Symphony' you say "And to think that we wanted to throw away our dreams"... You know, there are times when you're really defeatist and you think "I'm never going to be a rapper, I'm going to do something completely different. I have other opportunities and I don't even know if being a rapper in 2020 is what I want to do". It symbolizes all those young people who are fighting for their childhood

dream and who are afraid of not being able to make it. And at the end, there's always a moment when you look back at how far you've come and you think that, when sometimes you felt like letting go and turning back. At the end of this piece we also hear your voice, as if you had come to close the project. You said "We have twice the slab, so you and I, the pack, know that we're going to eat twice as much"... Can you tell me more ? In fact, that part was recorded the day after the robbery. At the beginning, we were delirious to make vocal memos between each sound, like interludes, in order to tell the story of the robbery. In the end, we gave up the idea, but I still decided to sit down in front of the microphone and say what I had to say. That's a moment that's "true" and not at all thought out or anything, you know? I think that people can feel it. What exactly do you have in store for us in this promising future? In fact, now, I feel like I finally arrived on good tracks and that I can finally get on the highspeed train. I feel like making stupid clips on stupid sounds because we finally have access to everything we've been working for. It used to take a lot longer to find all the providers to work with and now I feel that things have changed, it's become more "easy". I know who I can work with, who's by my side, etc. It's the moment when I have the most freedom to do what I want to do musically. I really have the feeling that it has become my job. It's not just my project, it's the project of a whole team. What can we wish you in the future? Happiness, love and health for myself and my loved ones. And also that we can do concerts again as soon as possible. (laughing) SeanZeuDog Words Š Fanny Hill Scott Photography Š Maxence & Jonas


Damso What about Damso's incredible career? Born in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1992, William Kalubi - his real name - became one of Belgium's Rap legends in just a few years. Besides being a singer-songwriter, Damso wanted to stay in Kinshasa before a major event forced him to change his path. As a matter of fact, the DRC went through a period of instability and armed confrontation. Damso and his family eventually left their home country for Kraainem in Belgium at the age of 9 years old. Damso's career started in earnest in 2006 when together with his childhood friend Dolfa, they founded the OPG group. In 2014, he decided to release a mixtape called Salle D'attentefeaturing 8 tracks. But it's in 2015 that everything changes for Damso when he meets the emblematic rapper Booba. His track "Poséidon" was included in Booba's OKLM mixtape, which was a great success amongst his fans. Afterwards Damso signed with Booba's 92i label and kept on appearing on several of his projects such as "Paris C'est Loin", "113" and "Pinocchio" of which the verse was quite a sensation. In July 2016, Damso released his first album entitled Batterie Faible that was greatly commended by the audience. He then went on to win gold disc certification in December 2016 and platinum 9 months later. It is at this point that Damso's career really took off and reached the immense success that we know of him now. In 2017, the rapper released his second album Ipséité, which is now acknowledged as a true reference in French Rap. For his 3rd album Lithopédion, Damso brought a melody twist and surprised his fans with new sounds. Although the album received mitigated criticism from his fans, Damso didn't lose his leading position. What is even more incredible, this 3rd opus confirmed the inborn talent of the artist. After more than 2 years of anticipation, Damso came back last September with QALF, an incredible project full of emotion, questioning, melancholy and hope. More serene and confident than ever, Damso proved once again that he enjoys testing his limits with new sounds and types of melodies. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for us! TheDamso © Samson Gorski


Népal How to pay tribute in the best possible way to an artist as talented and unique as Népal, the one who leaves an imperishable memory to French Rap? While the rapper passed away already one year ago already in November 2019, we decided to send you the latest press releases written by his relatives, as a final gift: Press release on the 'Sundance' clip: "In order to respect the artist's will, and for his artistic vision and voice to endure, his family and loved ones have decided to release all the projects planned by Népal itself. In October 2019, he had proposed to Nekfeu to play in the video clip of his song Sundance. To respect his memory, go to the end of his artistic process, and pay him a final tribute, this video is finally born. Népal had thought for this clip to Nekfeu, his long time friend, as the lead actor. The rapper interprets a version of himself that would have missed his dreams. The minimalist, uncluttered clip, like a Sundance clip, follows Nekfeu on a classic working day as a petrol station employee, as imagined by Népal. The video directed by Syrine Boulanouar (the co-director of Les Étoiles Vagabondes) [was released] on September 4, 2020". As a final gift, 5 last tracks of Népal 'Dans Le Fond', 'Cheddar', 'Coach K', 'Même Vie' were broadcasted one after the other until the last track 'Benji' came to close the discography of the artist so much regretted by his public. Press release on the end of Népal's projects: "Our mission to all of us is accomplished. All Népal's projects have come to an end, in full respect of its art. Thus the perenniality of his work is guaranteed. Népal brought us together and allowed us to share unforgettable moments. So thank you to you his friends, who knew how to be at our side. You are incredible and magnificent. A special thanks to his manager, with whom we worked in complete confidence. Thank you also to the media, who understood and respected our approach. And thank you to his public, whom we found so caring and respectful. Népal's work lives and will always live. Thank you very much to all of you. His family." 444nuitsshop.fr Illustration © Emilia Smolka

Illustration © Emilia Smolka


Abou Tall 13

It's in the premises of the famous label Wagram Music France that we went to meet the emblematic artist Abou Tall who became known through tracks such as 'Alter Ego', 'Pour Toi' and 'Aime-Moi Demain' featuring Gradur. He's listened to by thousands of fans who and he decided to highlight those with whom he grew up through his first solo album Ghetto Chic and we can say that he made a flawless one. Coming accompanied by his team, Abou took the time to discuss the project on which he tried to draw his person through sounds worked in the smallest details. Always with a smile on his face, Abou tells us here about the values he holds dear and that he wanted to bring out through his sounds. Often associated with Dadju with whom he created the group The Shin Sekai which made her visible to the general public, Abou remains above all a fully-fledged artist. Humble and modest, the one who has been raping for more than 10 years has taken the time to speak to us with an open heart. For A Rap & A Cup Of Tea, he went back over the events that marked his career until the birth of his first solo project Ghetto Chic. When did you realize you were meant to be in music? Was there a trigger ? I don't think there was really a click where I said to myself "I'm made for music" because I've always done it out of passion. But I do remember at one point I thought I really liked what I was doing, it was the first part of the Sexion d'Assaut with The Shin Sekai at the NĂŽmes Arena. It was in 2013 I think. How would you describe your peculiarity in French Rap to an English-speaking audience that wants to discover you? I think my music is eclectic. I listen to many types of music and I think you can feel it in my sounds. I make music with really varied influences whether it's inspired by Rap or French variety. In my projects you don't usually get bored. (laughs) Talking about your first album Ghetto Chic, can you tell me more about the meaning behind its name? It's an album that's really important to me because it's the first one, and I wanted to create something that's close to the person I am. I grew up in the center of Paris in the 9th arrondissement. It's a fairly popular neighborhood but I didn't have the same social status as the people who lived


there and that's why I decided to call this project "ghetto chic". We were quite a few young people in the same situation and naturally got closer to each other around the same common passion which is Rap.

In this album, there are themes that stand out more than others such as love and betrayal. There's even a song called 'Rue De La Traitrise' and in the sound 'Paris Centre' you say "Betrayal is always a local product, I'm less suspicious of my enemies than of those who call me 'Mate'." Sounds like an important theme for you... It's true that I talk a lot about this theme but I think it's also mostly disappointment that I'm talking about here. Whether in friendship or in love, we are sometimes disappointed in people... These are things that I have been through and that can mark a person and in which people also recognize themselves. It was important for me to talk about my personal experience, so much the better if it resonates in people's hearts.

'' It was important for me to talk about my personal experience, so much the better if it resonates in people's hearts.'' You obviously evoke Dadju in 'Paris Centre' by saying: "I can hear them thinking "Yo Abou, tell me again how it feels / Aren't you jealous, aren't you hurt / Since Dadju left you?". Is a question you've often been asked? Yes it's true that people are quite curious about it because they saw us create our group and evolve together and now they see us separate. Of course they want to know. (laughs) By saying that, I wanted to clarify things and say that nothing has moved between him and me and that we continue to make music together.


The other important theme of this album is love as in 'Mona Moore' and 'Cadenas' in feat with Dadju. How did you manage to find the perfect balance between such different themes? It's funny you say that because I've never analyzed things that way. (laughs) I think it's a good representation of who I am because I can be as full of love as I am of resentment. So that balance came naturally, I think.

Writing seems to be something really important to you, you can feel it in each of your titles that you've put your heart into it and that the turns of phrase are well thought out. Is writing an outlet for you ? I've always been immersed in the culture of Rap, so writing and music go hand in hand. So yes, writing is an outlet just like music. I try to deliver myself through my sounds and above all I try to do it well by putting forms into it. It sounds old-fashioned to say that but I come from the old generation of Rap and before, writing was something really important and it's a standard that I decided to keep in my sounds.

Are you someone who writes a lot of basic writing? To tell you the truth, I'm not really someone who likes to write in the studio. I prefer to write at home or outside, but on the other hand, I take my mind off what I write. I'm able to take four hours to write two lines. (laughs)

There's something I find strong in this album too, that you show that money dazzles people. You say it in 'Ghetto Chic' with "We live in a world where we take money as a prophet" and "Is calling me my brother adequate when you spend the equivalent of my mother's salary in a club?". Can you tell me more about that ? In all sincerity, money has never made you happy. And yet, there is a real paradox in running after money without finding happiness in it. Whether it's the Rap scene or the current generation, it seems that this quest for money is a real obsession...


You know, I was brought up in a religious Senegalese family far from opulence and appearance. But besides that, I also grew up in Paris and here we have a taste for beautiful things... (laughs) Life is full of paradoxes like this one.

There is a song more melancholic than the others and which can even be read as a poem is 'Rat Des Villes'. It's a terribly touching sound... I think it's one of the sounds that best represents the album. I don't necessarily talk about myself on this track but rather about childhood in general. When you grow up feeling different from the people around you, it's sometimes difficult and you can quickly feel excluded. And that's exactly the feeling I tried to highlight: the childhood's issues.

'' I come from the old Rap generation and before, writing was something really important and it's a standard that I decided to keep.''

In the feats we find Dadju and artists such as Lefa and S.Pri Noir with whom you have already collaborated before. Is it important for you to collaborate with those who are part of your close circle? It's true that it's easier to make music with people you know. But in this case, it's mostly because they are people who grew up in the same context as me and whose universe is similar to mine and to the "ghetto chic" spirit of this album. It's not my fault if my friends are known and seriously dazzling. (laughs) In reality they were the best representatives of what I wanted to do in this album.

Looking back on your career now, what was your best moment? You really want me to tell you? It's the release of this album. It wasn't easy to release it, it took a long time, it was a lot of work in real life. With my team, it took time and investment, but to be able to do a project from scratch and present it to the world when it's finished, it's an incredible feeling. It's like my first baby, you know ? (laughing) AbouTall09

Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © Fifou

What made you want to go back to Jacques Dutronc's 'J'aime Les Filles' in 'Je Veux De Toi'? I find that in French Rap, we don't really sample such important songs from the French musical heritage and I found it interesting to do so. When I listened to this music again, everything was clear in my head and I already knew how I wanted to create this song. I think that with the title 'La Clé' it was one of the strongest studio sessions I've ever done because I thought: "You're reusing music from a French variety myth, you can't miss it". So you concentrate twice as much to do something good but in the end it's a great experience.





DAMSO 09/2020 © Trente-quatre Centimes After 3 years of absence and the line "the album of the year will not be released this year" written in 2019 in his song "God Bless" with Hamza, Damso is back with his new project QALF in 2020, just in time to cheer us up! With 45 min of music, 14 tracks and featuring special guests such as Lous And The Yakuza or Fally Ipupa the rapper managed to delight our ears. Damso talks about William "the persona behind the artist" who is calmer than Damso "the actual artist" and we can sense him for example in "911" or "Sentimental". Overall, the album sounds calmer than his previous opus in spite of big bangers such as "BXL ZOO" with Hamza or "D'ja Roulé". We also uncover a touching side of William who talks a lot about his mother who was seriously ill and stayed in hospital for several months, which delayed the release of the project. He even dedicated a song to her on "Rose Marthe's Love" with striking lines such as "You have few friends in the hospital" or "Mom I love you, even if I've never said it". He also recorded a track called "Deux Toiles De Mer" on which you can hear the voice of his son Lior who won the hearts of his fans. He also talks about Africa, his old life and what made him leave his hometown in his songs "Coeur En Miettes" and "Pour L'argent". He even ventures to talk about politics as he did on "Kin La Belle". So many reasons that once again lead to a standing ovation for Damso's talent. © Samson Gorski





Freeze Corleone

11/2020 © SPKTAQLR

09/2020 © Mangemort Squad

While Dinos’ last album Taciturne made 7,800 sales through his first week, Stamina surprised the whole Rap game with 23,200 sales for the same time period. The French-Cameroonian struggled for 7 years to get a global recognition, which requires patience and tireless efforts, which explains the project’s title "Stamina,". The surprising aspect is that this album was his shortest to produce. Indeed, he worked on it for 3 months only while in lockdown. After 7 years of desire to make the most complex rhythmic patterns possible, he wanted to keep it simple to offer people an album that softens this complicated year. His evolution has allowed him to go from recognition among Rap fans to commercial success, without losing his identity. The affinity he has to nostalgia and romantic relationships as well as doubts he’s suffering from are recurring themes in his discography. He also expressed the Africa’s pain that has been bleeding for too long now and needs to restore. One track that sums up all those melancholy – and which is already acclaimed as one of his best song and probably even a future classic of him – is "93 mesures". On a piano melody, Dinos talks, with technicality, about social subjects such as police violence by saying “Each police checking brings me closer to my feat with 2Pac”. At first, the album was presented with one featuring only but in fact, lots of them were hiding. The guests’ name were not even written on the streaming platform and it was truly successful and brings a controlled diversity. I’m not going to spoil the surprise for those who have not listened yet... Good listening! © Miguel Neves Da Costa

It was undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited French Rap albums of 2020, and Freeze Corleone really made a big impression. A gloomier album than the last Blue Beam Project with a total of 17 tracks and no less than 11 featuring! The project includes many collaborations with Ashe 22, Kaki Santana, Despo Rutti, Stavo, Alpha 5.20... And above all the most awaited: "Rap Catéchisme" with Alpha Wann. King Heenok was very inspired by anglicisms and it seems that Freeze did the same in "Chen Laden", "Hors Ligne" and obviously "Rap Catéchisme". And you can't talk about this album without mentioning the two "spam" words that he used a good hundred times throughout the album: "Ekip" (Squad) and "s/o" and I must say that it gets stuck easily in your head. The rapper from District 93 in the Parisian suburbs also showcases his skills in "PDM" with the line "Black power like Marcus / I can hit it like Marcus / Get rich or die tryin' like Marcus". In one line, he managed to mix a historical reference by referring to Marcus Ravey, then by talking soccer with Marcus Rashford and finally referring to pop culture with 50 Cent's character in his film Get rich or die tryin'. In short, Freeze hit hard with LMF and cheers for this French drill maestro. © Samson Gorski


Fleur Froide

Cercle Vertueux

12/2020 © H24 Music / Play Two

11/2020 © Saboteur Records

The new R&B/ Soul phenomenon is gaining more and more prominence on the French Urban music scene, as proved by his nomination to the NRJ Music Award 2020. Tayc, an artist from the city of Marseille in South of France, has just broken the internet with his new album called Fleur Froide.

After more than 3 years of absence, Deen Burbigo is back with this new opus revealing more about himself, or rather about the person he has become.



After having released a trilogy of mixtapes respectively named NYXIA Tome I, Tome II and Tome III, the project was long-awaited, but it was worth it. A melodious voice with various jingles and his own style. In his album, Tayc remained true to himself by evoking in his songs love and women, passing through more melancholy and rhythmic phrases. The project includes 18 tracks featuring with Leto on song "Ride"; Tiwa Savage on "African Sugar"; Camille Lellouche on "Et Si" and Christine and the Queens on "Haine Colorée". We can say that the young artist has just given us a great insight into his potential and we are already asking for more! © Firdaous Ab

When you first listen to the album, you will hear a Deen Burbigo still as thorough as ever in his writing style, in his production choices as well as his musical flow. The beginning of the album vaguely reminded me of the Grand Cru (his first album, Raw) theme, which was rather pleasant. Not surprisingly in terms of the featurings we find his great friend of all time: Eff Gee also a member of the group L'entourage. On the track "Vroom!" the 2 artists give us a raw taste of Rap music and it's quite satisfying! We also find Alpha Wann on "Immunité Diplomatique" (and yes still one of L'entourage) for a great song with raw and very well written lyrics as we always expect from both artists. In short the album's 5 featurings are clearly a success! "Papy" as his fans like to call him, offers us diverse and melodic sounds while still keeping the Rap touch. As for me I am very fond of the track "Savoir-Faire" where he sums up his life before his Rap career and what it became later on. He also mentions his encounter with Nekfeu and Alpha Wann on a parking lot during the famous Rap contenders leading them to fame. The outro of the album entitled "Jeu D'échecs" is just amazing, simply put. You want to know how to end an album in style? Ask Papy! © Van's


Briques Rouges

S/O Le Flem

09/2020 © North Face Records / Panenka Music

11/2020 © Django

As a young rapper from Roubaix, Bekar has been one of the rising stars of French Rap for more than a year now. After releasing an outstanding project entitled Boréal in March 2019, he's back this year with Briques Rouges (Red Bricks) inspired by the landscape of his hometown, the Nord Pas-de-Calais department, where red bricks are everywhere.

Django is a truly accomplished artist - no doubt about it! By continuing to test himself with different Rap horizon and trying out Drill or Pop Urban sounds, Django proves that he’s elusive and impossible to categorize. It’s therefore impossible to associate the artist with a particular musical genre.

There are 18 tracks on this mixtape and... no featuring at all ! He explained the reasons for this decision in an Instagram video where he stated "I really wanted to come up with something truly personal". For me personally, his choice was a brave and daring one and I was looking forward to listen to these 18 solo tracks to see if they wouldn't be redundant. After listening over and over again and especially after spending much time focusing on his lyrics, the project is everything but redundant. Quite the opposite, it's really innovative and shows that Bekar has a huge range of skills. Some people say that his music is very similar to Nekfeu's but I think he has his own musical identity and we can't compare him to other artists.

With a lot of inspiration and diverse sounds, Django makes quite a bit references on all kinds of topics in his sounds which makes him unique. The one who disappeared from the radar for a while often shows us melancholy and pain in most of his works. Being back with his new EP titled S/O le Flem, this brand-new creation is composed of 10 tracks featuring rappers such as Freeze Corleone, Roi Heenok, Osirus Jack, Black Jack OBS, Gazo and Bawbaw 31. Would the rapper be part of the 667 collective? This is the question I leave in suspense...

This project is very personal and we can feel that the artist offered a piece of his soul and took us into his universe by blending exquisitely melodies and rap punch. The songs "Destinée" and "Tiekar" (District in french backslang) are a good example of what I've just said: both songs are well executed and you can really feel his honesty and genuineness. One of the most memorable songs is "Briques Rouges" where we the artist tells us about his life and his childhood memories. Keep a close eye on this artist, he still has a lot of surprises in store for us and he will surely make a greater impact in the future!

Some of the songs really deserve attention, such as "S/O le Flem" featuring Freeze and Roi Heenok, "L'œuvre Au Noir" and "Coupable" reflecting the artist’s vast talents. Tell me what you think!



© Samson Gorski

© Van's


El'ka Originally from Montpellier, France, EL'ka is a rapper member of the Wazacrew collective and backeur of the rapper Vin's known for his song '#MeToo' where he pays tribute to all those women who are victims of harassment and sexual assault. Fascinated by Lunatic and the Fonky Family, he discovered Rap at a very young age and started writing his first lyrics at the age of 15. This nascent passion then leads him to frequent the teams of La Classic and then Wazacrew which he quickly integrates. He then went on to feature with Vin's, Monotof, Aksen and developed his musical identity with an instinctive and aerial style. After a first mixtape, unveiled in 2017, he comes back at the end of 2019 with the first opus of his series of EP's, entitled Allo and releases the second part Allo part.2 in May 2020. Continuing his collaboration with director Benoit Rieu - having already worked with rappers Niro and Maes - El'ka released his project Allo part.3 in October 2020. His Ep is composed of six new tracks including a collaboration with Chanje, a young Parisian rapper. We find a dark atmosphere, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes more nervous, but an artistic direction more and more assertive that lets a real musical identity emerge. On Youtube, he accumulated more than 77,000 views for his clip "Un Peu De Beuh" released last June and more than 37,000 views on his latest clip "Pow". In short, El'ka is a rapper on whom it is important to keep an eye on... To be continued!


Š Gloria Dominiak


Playlist Damso x Hamza Aya Nakamura

“BXL Zoo”

Naza x Niska

“La Machine”

“Joli Bébé”





13 Block






Freeze Corleone Ashkidd

“Freeze Raël”


Drawings © Gabriel Dominiak


Medine 25

Impossible to describe one of the pillars of French Rap and the greatest figures of Conscious Rap without using the word wisdom. Médine has everything of a great thinker. The American journalist of the New York Time, Suzanne Daley, who had come to meet her in his hometown of Le Havre in France, said "If he was an American, he ticks all the boxes for being an American hero" and she is more than right. Médine is more than a rapper, he's one of the legends of French Rap. In a career spanning more than 20 years, Médine has followed the evolution of Rap in France and instead of clinging to the old codes, the artist has decided to evolve with it without ever losing his grip. Always a lyricist, Médine never ceases to make a lasting impression on people's consciences, much to the delight of his fans. The artist took the time to indulge in A Rap & A Cup Of Tea, on his vision of things and his perpetual desire for evolution and progress. More than an simple interview, this one is above all a true hymn to wisdom. As he says in 'FC Grand Médine': "I was already here 10 years ago, I'll be here again in 10 years" and that's all we wish him.

The documentary 'Médine Normandie' of France TV has just been released and it retraces important moments of your career with your own testimony as well as that of your family and friends. It's really poignant because you really give yourself over and we have the opportunity to discover you even more. Where did this idea come from ? In fact I knew Matthieu Pécot very well at the origin of this idea and he proposed to follow me during the creation of this album. It was more sure moments of life as with my family, my professional and friendly entourage and I found that it gave another look on artistic creation. People seem to like it, so I'm happy.

You say something strong in this documentary, it's that the older you get, the younger you get in the Rap Game. You're like the Benjamin Button of French Rap. Yes, that's how I feel. I try to keep an open mind to continue making and loving this music. I don't want to be that old has-been uncle who has a negative opinion about what he's doing now and says, "It was better before". Basically, I'm not the type to be resistant to progressive things. So I think it's reflected in my artistic approach, to want to be younger all the time and to remain competitive on the artistic and performance level.

So it has become important for you to adapt to current trends ? You know, I'm not an old samurai who wants his dojo to survive the times. I want to work on new techniques, and not be alone in my mountain telling myself that I have the best technique in the whole world and affirming it loud and clear. For it to be the best school, it's necessary to confront it with other schools.

In the song 'Grand Paris 2', we find rappers from the old generation like Oxmo Puccino and the new generation like Larry. It was a will on your part to mix styles and eras? I feel like I'm at the crossroads of these generations and I thought it was a great gymnastics to bring them together on the same project. I'm from the "old school" but I still want to continue to discover today's music. This song is just an illustration of this will to bring together the different actors of Rap regardless of their style and their time.

'' Enfant Du Destin is a kind of running story that depicts the tragic journey of a child of the world propelled into the heart of the conflict.'' Throughout your career, there has always been this willingness to "speak the truth" and say the things that are important to you. Yet after so many projects [12 at least] you never repeat yourself and you're constantly innovating. How do you manage to be truthful without being repetitive? I think it's pretty well summed up in the first track of the album Grand MĂŠdine when I say: "For me, changing my flow and my mind as well as my shirt is just a matter of cleanliness". (laughs) You know sometimes it can be seen as a disadvantage to constantly change flow and style, because you destabilize your audience who are used to see you in a certain kind of register. Some people may tend to say: "It changes too much, you don't know what to hold on to". But where some people see the downside, I see the quality of constantly renewing myself.


In my eyes, it's not a quality to say: "He hasn't changed, it's still the same". For me, it's elementary to be able to be told: "You have changed on this point", it means that my ideas and my vision of things have evolved.

How could you describe this new album precisely ? He's "more" than the others. (laughs) More melodious, more featuring, more mixing, more beatmaker. There's more musical will than on previous albums.

Speaking of feats, they were quite unexpected like the one with BigFlo & Oli or Soso Maness, can you tell me more about these encounters? With Soso Maness, we met directly at the studio and it went directly well. He's a real and sincere person who doesn't play a role. As the feeling was going well we decided to talk about our respective cities of Le Havre and Marseille. On the map of France, we're diametrically opposed but there are many similarities between these port cities. And with BigFlo and Oli it's a piece that we wanted to do already 3/4 years ago because we discuss a lot on the networks but in the end we never found the right piece to collaborate together. After taking the time to discuss, we were able to agree on what we wanted to do and that's where this featuring about accepting change came from.

Before starting this album, are there any themes you wanted to talk about? In reality, I'm not really in a process where I say to myself: "I absolutely have to talk about this". I have the impression that it's more the melody that triggers the subjects I want to talk about. Music is the main thread: it triggers emotion in me and this emotion then triggers feelings about a theme. I have also evolved in my way of working because on my previous albums it wasn't like that. But I've learned to work with my time and to work with different beatmakers, topliners, arrangers and so on. You may even have to co-write with people who will advise you on extra words or how to turn phrases for example. It's true that it's a big change, but it's not to displease me in the end. You know, there will always be a part of my public who knew me 20 years ago and who would like me to rap like I did when I first started, but that's not what I want and you have to do with your time. (laughs)


In this album, we find the song 'Tue L'amour' which is a true declaration of love 2.0. You say things like "It's not Miss Weather, I'm not Mr. Hustler. But no, you're not fat, it's the skin that overflows. You're my Princess Fiona when she turns into an ogre". It's true that it doesn't sound very romantic, but in the end this track is one of the most touching of the album. How did you come up with the idea to make such an offbeat song about love? I believe that it's love precisely. (laughs) You know, I've been in love with the same woman for over 20 years. You can imagine that after all this time the romanticism of the first days is no longer the same, but nevertheless it gives way to another form of romanticism. Everything that could pass for routine becomes romantic for me in my own way because I look at things in a new way. As I say in one of the songs: "I'm not looking for new landscapes, I'm looking for new eyes." Nowadays I have the impression that we are more used to leaving the person we are with as soon as we discover a flaw in them instead of learning to love their flaws. So I'm not looking for a new woman, I'm looking to see my wife in a new way.

'' I'm going to make a Miss France sentence but I'll tell you that my most beautiful memory of my carreer is the one that comes.'' Often we perceive rappers as inaccessible beings, always in a pack and you break this image and you show that you're a dad like everyone else and that your pack is your family. Your family is really at the center of all your projects.


In the song 'Imposteur' you explain it a little by saying "I don't want to be a public figure. I just want to be a man among others". Nowadays, everyone cross-dresses on the networks, whether by putting filters on their photos or by trying to exalt every moment of everyday life. I find that the beauty of life is not in these things but in the normality. I don't think that normality is reductive or boring because I needed to show the beauty of simple things. Showing my family on the networks and the ordinary moments we share together is what I find beautiful. There's too much fantasy around the life of rappers and sometimes people are not ready to see the reality of things.

Do you think that's perturbing for people? Some people need artists to create fantasy around an idyllic life but sorry, I've always decided to play the sincerity card since the beginning of my career. (laughs) Before being a rapper with committed lyrics, I'm above all a dad and a husband and it's good to remember that.

Other than the social networks, you also made your children participate on your sounds, you had already done it with 'Papeti' on your previous album Storyteller and now we can hear again your son Massoud on 'Barbapapa'... Is it them who showed their interest ? Before being a rapper I'm mostly a Rap listener, so I listen to a lot of Rap music at home and we go to concerts together and so on. So they've always been immersed in that culture. In the end, we ended up doing a song together. They thought it was fun to do a studio session with me and we even made a clip together on the track 'Enfants Forts'. We're not creating careers, in their eyes it's just a good time they spend with their father. (laughing)

I would like to come back to the saga "Enfant Du Destin", it's one of the songs that is always one of the most awaited on each of your albums. This time you tell the story of Sarah, a young Uighur girl. How would you explain this saga to those who don't know her yet ? At the beginning I didn't think I was going to make a saga out of it at all, I just wanted to tell the story as it really is and not the way they want to tell it to us. "Enfant Du Destin" is a kind of running story that depicts the tragic journey of a child of the world propelled into the heart of the conflict.

'' For me, it's elementary to be able to be told:' You have changed on this point ', it means that my ideas and my vision of things have evolved.''

I don't think it's just one artist's role, it's everyone's role. We have to be supportive and aware that there are dramatic things happening in the world every day while we are in material comfort. Even if I was not an artist, I am convinced that I would have solidarity in my daily life for all these people. If I can use my voice or my notoriety to turn people's eyes to these causes it's important to do so.

One of the most beautiful memories of your career? I'm going to make a Miss France sentence but I'll tell you that my most beautiful memory is the one that comes. (laughs) I think that I haven't yet experienced my most beautiful memory, it means that I'm still here for a long time.

Medine_Officiel Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © Fifou

How did you come up with the idea in the very beginning? It came from a sense of betrayal of Hollywood cinema and national education to discover a part of history from another angle. For example, when I discovered the truth about the Vietnam War, I was surprised to see that it was much more nuanced than what I had been taught.

I remember that on Prose Élite you also dedicated a piece to Denis Mukwege, the Congolese gynecologist and activist who helps women wounded by the incessant rapes during the war in the Congo, on 'L'homme Qui Répare Les Femmes'. Is the role of an artist for you also to denounce these atrocities?


INTERNATI USA x France 2 Chainz ft Booba “C'est La Vie”

Poland x

Paluch “Sid

Nigeria x France Wizkid ft MHD “Bella”

D.R. Congo x France Fally Ipupa ft Shay “Guerrier”

Italy x France tha Supreme & Mara Sattei ft Lous and The Yakuza “Dilemme” 33

Japan x

Crystal Key “Nekk

IONAL feat France

ft PLK dla”

x France

y ft Nekfeu ketsu”

Great Britain x France Stormzy ft Aya Nakamura “Plus Jamais”

Morocco x France Small x ft Dosseh “Kssiri”

Mali x France Sidiki Diabaté ft Black M “Mama”

Great Britain x France Ms Banks ft Kalash & Dadju “Nossa” Illustration © Emilia Smolka


bEN PLG 35

What can we say about this rising star of French Rap, except that he's a big a big music enthusiast? The rapper from Lille in Northern France has a passion for Rap in his blood and he clearly honors him in his first album Dans Nos Yeux. The one who describes this project as "a hymn to non-pudeur" is a true lyricist far from the misogynistic ideas sometimes lent to Rap. The one who puts his passion at the service of others, took the time to talk to A Rap & A Cup Of Tea before going to give a Rap class in prison. Mature, honest and true, Ben looks back on his promising career in the French Rap Game and his creative process. As he approaches his thirties, Ben reminds us of the importance he gives to the emotions conveyed in his texts and we can say that his pen has something to seduce you. Can you tell me about your background in music? My first steps in music were as a listener already when I was a teenager. I was very curious about what was going on in music and I listened to a lot of sound. As I grew up, I started to meet people who rapped, but I had never tried it before. One day, I went to a party with some guys who were rapping and they told me to write a lyric and so I did it. It's as if I'd accumulated years of lyrics in my head and I was waiting to put them to music. You'd say it came as a click? It's not really a click I think, because Rap is the thing I'm most passionate about in the world. I really love it! Before I never really knew if I was capable of doing it because I've always been concerned about legitimacy. I had the impression that it was not for me... In my music I don't make up characters, I just tell what I'm going through and what I see. And when I understood that this is exactly what could touch people, that's when I felt legitimate and I think that the real trigger happened at that moment. In the song 'Ton âme' you say "Child of the French middle-class who knows too much the taste of Lidl" [Low cost supermarket] and in 'Quitter la fête' you say "I lie in carpools when they asked my job" and I think that all these little details of "real life" hidden throughout the album show how much you are a guy like everyone else who simply tells his stories through a message that can be universalized. Is it something you wanted to highlight ? In reality there's no strategy, I never thought "Is this going to please people?". It's just full of little details of life that you don't necessarily notice and that I took the time to analyze. I find that too often we trivialize things that should not be trivialized. For example, a woman who decides to have an abortion will be told: "It's okay, I've had an abortion too" even though it can be dramatic for her psyche. The same goes for parents who get divorced, they'll say to their kids: "Don't worry, your friends' parents are divorced too". You see this kind of subject echoes in many people, but we don't really talk about it.

This album has moreover marked the spirits for its texts. There are sounds that you wrote with your guts and we really feels... Was it a kind of outlet for you? Yeah, it makes me feel good to write. I admit that there are things that I find difficult to say and that I express better in song but I also find that this album is a "hymn to non shame". It's true that sometimes it's good to be modest, but it's also good to give oneself up, it's important. I know that with some members of my family, we're really modest, but I want to tell everything to those I love, you know? What's crazy is that when you say shameless things, that's when everyone recognizes each other... (Laughs) In this album I talked a lot about my father and the relationship I have with him, and in the end, it allowed me to have a discussion with him. There's no featuring on this album, what pushed you to make this choice? I think that the featurings must be done at the right time. Things have changed now, people know a minimum of my name and it has become easier to collaborate with an artist. On this project, the most important thing was to introduce myself and I don't think there was any real interest in doing a feat. But on the other hand, I'm already announcing that there will be feats on the next project... Do you already have names in mind? I'll just tell you that at the moment there's a hype around rappers from the North of France that I'm really happy about... It's important to me to do a feat with one of them if you wanna know. (laughing) You don't really resort to vulgarity in your lyrics, and in your own way you break the clichés of Rap. Was that a desire? In fact, I start from the principle that if there's vulgarity in my texts, it must have a role and an interest. In reality there are 2 types of vulgarity. I don't mind saying things like "Motherfucker" but misogynistic vulgarity is not something that I like. I listened to an album earlier or from the first track, it directly insults women saying "Your girl is a bitch because she sucked me off" I find it horrible and inaudible. To me it's just a message from a fat asshole using a vulgarity of moron.

'' In my music I don't make up characters, I just tell what I'm going through and what I see.'' On top of that, it doesn't convey any tolerance. You can't insult a woman and belittle her for this kind of practice, it's typically the thing I would never do and it's totally unlike me. Can you tell me about the creative process of this album? With my team and my beatmaker Murer, we always meet in the morning because we're not "bat rappers" working at night. (laughs) So we have a coffee at 8am and we start listening to sounds together. As soon as I feel we're getting something, we start composing at the same time, which means that I write while he's doing the production. Over time I've learned to understand my way of working. For example, next week I have a recording session and I know that before I go there I'll really try to be aware of my emotions. I'm going to make sure I keep them in mind so I can express them on the instrument. Do you conceptualize what you want to share? Yes, exactly! I am so sensitive to the things around me, that it makes me a real sponge. When I'm in the studio, all I have to do is "wring out" on the production. How do you see your career in 5 years? I have no idea... I just hope that my audience will be much larger. I'd like to evolve artistically in an interesting way, to be happy to make the music I make without telling myself that I'm doing "déjà vu". I want to make "ambitious music". I'm not talking about making a complicated album with jazz musicians or that kind of thing, I just want to be able to create what I want to. It's still art, I want to make crazy stuff, you know. (laughs) Ben_plg Words © Fanny Hill Scott Photography © 1 - Kaluu Prod 2 - Anastasia Salomé


Lala &Ce Who's hiding the intriguing nickname of Lala &ce, the French rapper who doesn't go unnoticed in the Rap Game? From her real name Mélanie Crenshaw, she's was born on November 2, 1994. The one who is also a former member of the Ligue Des Ombres is the daughter of a French father and an Ivorian mother. She grew up in Lyon in the "capital of the Gauls" in a sibling group of seven children of which she's the youngest. In 2015 she decided to leave Lyon to come and live in London, which allowed her to meet Jorrdee who integrated her into his collective. After several appearances on the 667's projects, including Vieilles Merdes, Vol. II of Freeze Corleone, Lala &ce shares in 2017 the title that truly marks the beginning of her career: "Bright" which today has more than 500,000 views on YouTube. Her style is well defined and unique with misty productions between Cloud Rap, Trap and Afrobeats. Lyrics where it's often about love and lean, and of course this deep and nonchalant voice that has become her trademark. With her androgynous silhouette, she appropriates the codes associated with American rappers and deconstructs the stereotypical image of black women. On June 7, 2019, she released her album Le Son d'Après composed of twelve tracks. It evokes her homosexuality, a subject still too taboo in the Rap world. She doesn't hesitate to mark the spirits in the track "Wet (Drippin)" or she tackles explicitly and bluntly a lesbian sexuality. In short, this artist gives the opportunity to democratize all kinds of themes and allows queer women to recognize themselves in her lyrics. Lalalipsbby

© Gloria Dominiak


rap x manga The Manga's references in Rap music, part. 2 Akira Akira, is a science-fiction manga series written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Ōtomo. Akira is probably the manga that reinvented the Shonen genre in Japan. In French Rap, we can say that it inspired many rappers to create lots of their most beautiful punchlines. Rapper Georgio named a song ‘Akira’ in his last album XX5 released in 2018. A melancholy title on which he says “It’s not the end of the world and it’ll be okay. Come for a ride, I have Akira’s motorbike”. The unavoidable rapper Disiz, inscribed in the legend of French Rap, also evokes this manga in song ‘Disizilla’ saying: “All this has made me a mutant #Akira”. Rapper Sheldon from the collective 75th session alongside the deceased and never to be forgotten rapper Népal - one of the rappers who probably paid the most tribute to manga in his texts - also honours Akira as here: “J'ai la tète dans l'pare-brise comme Tetsuo” NGC “J'fais ce rêve ou les jouets s'baladent hors des vitrines” NGC

Hunter x Hunter Hunter x Hunter — probably the never-ending manga — has also inspired numerous rappers who spilt ink on this subject. Punchlines disguised or asserted; this series gave a rise to many artists with distinct melodies. Already in 2012, in the sound ‘Ils Sont Cools’, Orelsan and Gringe evoked this manga: “Le flow qui foudroie, Gon et Kirua. Des robots, des ninjas, du Rap, des pizzas: Kowabunga.” In ‘Menteur Menteur’ from his latest double album Les Étoiles Vagabondes released in 2019, Nekfeu evokes the joker card with Hisoka’s face on it: “I’ve got the smile of Hisoka in Hunter x Hunter.” Youv Dee, the rapper from the Parisian surbubs is also tactical as here in the sound ‘Berry’: "Brigade fantôme c'est les Dalton." Rapper Zamdam also plays the card of subtlety in the 'Minato' song: “J'veux bon entourage comme l'araignée.” The Parisian rappers Zeu and 7 Jaws also pay tribute to this manga in the sound ‘Zeulee’ saying “J'vis ma vie comme dans Hunter x Hunter, non j'dit pas Hunta Hunta.” In brief, it seems that this manga is a genuine source of inspiration in the French Rap Game. To be continued... © Samson Gorski


The team 41

Tiffany Jyaimislespieds Sibling_Travel


Gloria gorski_agatha

Emilia Emiliasmillustrations EmiliaSM

Wanna join the team ? Apply to a.rap.a.cup.of.tea@gmail. com, tell us who you are, what kind of music you’re into, etc... Everyone’s welcome, whether you’re journalist or just someone fancy to write about music. If you like design, editing or even advertising, let us know !




Drawings © Tiffany Oger



Founded by : Fanny Hill Scott Publisher : Fanny Hill Scott Advertising :


Design : Tiffany Oger

Fanny Hill Scott Emilia Smolka

Social Network : Adélaïde Dominiak-Gorski

Translator / Corrector : Lesley & Saad Contributors : Valérie Bouvet


Adélaïde Dominiak-Gorski

Louise Diakite Agathe Lemoine Lila Nopre Ikram Ayata Jérémy Richet Thomas Leger Samson Gorski Miguel Neves Da Costa Van's Firdaous Ab Gloria Dominiak