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Keny Arkana

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Marseilles rapper Keny Arkana rose to fame as a member of the politically charged hip-hop collective La Rage du People before mounting a solo career in 2004. Born in Argentina in 1983, Arkana spent the vast majority of her childhood in Marseilles. The product of an impoverished family, she bounced around a series of foster homes and spent a significant chunk of her teen years as a runaway. She began writing lyrics and poetry at 13, later rapping with the Mars Patrie and Etat-Major collectives and making her recorded debut on the latter's 2003 EP Volume 1. A year later Arkana co-founded La Rage du People, a group with strong ties to the growing French alter-globalization social movement, which advocates democracy, economic justice, environmental protection, and human rights over material reward. Her debut solo single, "Le Missile Est Lancé," effectively outlined her anti-capitalist and antiwar stance, and guest appearances on mixtapes as well as records headlined by Soprano, Kayna Samet, and Alonzo further established Arkana as a rapper of rare talent and political commitment. In 2006 she issued her first full-length effort, Entre Ciment et Belle Etoile, highlighted by the single "La Rage," a cut inspired by the civil unrest that gripped France the previous year. Despite Arkana's refusal to promote the album via mainstream outlets, it turned into a word-of-mouth smash, selling in excess of 50,000 copies before year's end. The album was followed by Désobéissance, a 2008 EP, and L'Esquisse 2, her second full length studio outing in 2011, echoing her initial street album L'Esquisse in 2005. ~ Jason Ankeny

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