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Amour oral

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Album Review

The most realized and blunt war cry for the Quebec sovereignty movement ever committed to tape, Canadians will likely have a hard time casting aside their own personal biases when listening to this lively celebration of Quebec culture and identity. Montreal-based trio Loco Locass are defiantly anti-Anglophone, anti-American, and anti-capitalist, so naturally their idea of hip-hop in no way involves mimicking the American template. "Resistance" opens with a call to arms from Quebec nationalist filmmaker Pierre Falardeau reminding listeners how Quebec was "annexed by force" in 1760, followed by Loco Locass calling for an Intifada against Canada. It's hard to concentrate on just the musical merits of Amour Oral (translated: "spoken word/oral love") sometimes, especially for Canadians, but their unflinching left-wing political views are as integral to their sound as the Dead Kennedys or any other genuine politically minded group. Many of the samples are Arabic inspired, likely meant to infuriate English-speaking listeners, although most of arrangements rely on traditional hip-hop drum'n'bass beats.

As lyricists, Batlam, Biz, and Chafiik are ingenious wordsmiths, capable of continuously playing with and distorting the French language, especially Quebec-based slang. The verses are so dense and stacked with double entendres, even most French speakers would think the three MCs are speaking entirely in code (or a series of inside jokes). The best example of their unique lyrical style is the motor mouthed "Groove Grave," which not only gives Twista a run for his money in the speed department, but is a who's who in namedropping: everyone from French soccer player Zinedine Zidane to terrorist Timothy McVeigh. "Liberez-Nous des Liberaux," translated to "Liberate Us from the Liberal Party," is an obvious jab at the Canadian nationalist Liberal Party both provincially and federally. Other topics of choice include nationalization of industry, the follies of city life, and a fun, rasta-flowing ode to marijuana ("Bonzaion"). Similar to how American hip-hop groups such as Public Enemy shocked people with a clear and concise political message and an unflinching determination, Loco Locass are de facto representatives of the sovereignty movement in Quebec. An essential listen for Canadians and open-minded hip-hop fans.


Formed: 1995 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A stridently political rap group from Montreal, Québec, Loco Locass formed as Koubraüss and underwent a number of name changes -- from Les Locos Loquaces to Locos Locass -- prior to settling on their permanent name. Loco Locass debuted in late 1999 with Manifestif, then followed it in 2003 with the live album In Vivo. Released in 2004, Amour Oral cleaned up at Québec's Félix Awards by winning the categories of Songwriter of the Year and Hip-Hop Album of the Year. The group continued to affirm its...
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Amour oral, Loco Locass
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