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Paris sous les bombes

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Album Review

Released in 1995, the third album from one of the most influential hip-hop groups in France is literally dropping bombs on Paris, as the title says. Almost all the tracks are both aggressive and clever, even in the lyrics as they are embodied by the furious Joey Starr and the shrewd Kool Shen, and on the production level, taking French rap to a whole new level. Each track speaks to the brain and body, unveiling the everyday troubles and thoughts on city life, and triggering wrath and rage through the power of the two lyricists. Typical of the genre you might say, but a large spectrum of subjects is tackled here, with varying degrees of awareness: from the resurgence of nationalist ideas in France ("Plus Jamais Ça"), the blindness of the power structures about the youth, the problems to overcome as the Supreme NTM group evolves ("Tout N'est Pas si Facile") to the pleasure of sharing joints with buddies ("Pass Pass le Oinj"), through their love of funky music. The approach of the subjects reveals a real intelligence in writing, as well as an adjusted interpretation related to the subject: explosive most of the time and dreamy when the subject is purely reflective, only few MCs have this ability to be so versatile in styles of interpretation and still be truly themselves. The two MCs complete each other on rhymes and themes, and sometimes in comparing stories, like in "La Fièvre," where Kool Shen is arrested and stays a whole day waiting for nothing and being asked stupid questions in a police station where they put him the fever, while Joey Starr is getting one from a stunningly attractive woman he wants to catch this same day. But lyrics can take all their dimensions only if they're backed with a high-profile production team, so DJ Clyde (ex-Assassin), DJ Max, the U.S. producer LG Experience, and Lucien make sure it is the case. Clever enough, the skeletal sound allows the two versatile MCs to play with their rich voice tone. And the well-chosen samples really play a role musically, mostly for the flow created by Kool and Joey. A major release in 1995, both artistically and commercially, this album is a classic of French hip-hop music. It definitely put NTM on the map; anyone interested in French rap should rapidly acquire this album, which definitely set a new standard for others to follow.


Formed: 1991 in France

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The embodiment of hardcore hip-hop in France for over a decade, NTM (aka Suprême NTM) were comprised of Didier Morville (aka Joey Starr) and Bruno Lopes (aka Kool Shen). Both born in 1968, they grew up in the French department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where they went to school together, but had no special connection until 1983 when they both attended a dance show in the Trocadero (including American dancers showing their ability to breakdance and smurf). They were together from then on, and trained...
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Paris sous les bombes, Suprême NTM
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