View Full Version : Should hip hop take the rap for rioting?

lord patch
03-27-2007, 11:46 PM
Should hip hop take the rap for rioting?

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 08/12/2005

French politicians have called for legal action to be taken against hip hop musicians in the wake of the French riots. Joe Muggs reports

The waves of riots that swept across France this year have had an unexpected consequence for the French music industry.
French riots
Urban violence: hip hop has been blamed for the Paris riots

Last week, 200 politicians backed a petition by MP François Grosdidier calling for legal action against several hip hop musicians for their aggressive lyrics.

Although prime minister Dominique de Villepin immediately dismissed the idea, it could not have come as a complete surprise to the rappers to find themselves in the eye of the storm.

For more than a decade, French rap has been the voice of the banlieues, the poor suburbs, and it has long been full of warnings of violence to come in those areas. The tensions - and the musical culture - of these estates were briefly brought to international attention by the 1996 film La Haine ("Hate"), but it is the hip hop world that has kept the issues uppermost in the minds of French youth.

French hip hop is very different from its UK counterpart. The flowing, expressive tones of the language give it a clear identity within the world of rap, whereas British rappers struggle to differentiate themselves from Americans.

Also, with an irony that must make the French government wince, the music gained an incalculable boost from legislation introduced in 1994 to "protect the French language". This enforced quotas on all radio stations, obliging them to play at least 40 per cent Francophone music.

As a result, home-grown rappers found that they received as much of a platform as megastar American acts. Their music is now massive, with an act that sells fewer than 100,000 records considered "underground" - even high-profile British rappers would be thrilled to shift 20,000 units.

Laws designed to protect the "French identity" thus helped create a movement which is now seen as a threat to that identity. Artists have been prosecuted for "dangerous" or obscene lyrics, especially in the south, where Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National is strongest.

There has been anger in the French rap world that the equally contentious novels of Michel Houellebecq, which depict banlieue residents as rapacious animals, not only go uncensored but are considered a great French cultural export. The 200 MPs, by contrast, have accused the rap world of causing the recent riots, forcing Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to state that the government is not anti-hip hop.

The French rap scene is varied, but universally politicised. From the melodic, philosophical approach of internationally known stars such as MC Solaar and Saian Super Crew, through the avowedly leftist Assassin, the fierce Islamic discipline of Rohff and the cold gangsta style of Booba ("the French 50 Cent"), every act has its own take on the poverty and segregation of the banlieues.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a crew worth its salt which hasn't been warning of the volatility and violence of the suburbs," says Rupert Davies of Virgin Records, who has lived in Paris and written academic studies on the roots of French hip hop.

"But it's not a racial or religious thing, however much it might be presented as such in the media outside France. It's entirely about poverty.

"The scene is as much white French and Jewish kids as it is North Africans and Arabs. All of them feel as if they're not truly French, as if they're excluded from the cities - and in many ways they are. The way the suburbs are separated from the 'nice' areas is like nothing you can imagine in a British city."

It is hip hop that gives those disenfranchised places a platform: now, the French state is having to deal with the voices that it has itself promoted.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml;jsessionid=ZHT52BS1I55JRQFI QMGSFFWAVCBQWIV0?xml=/arts/2005/12/08/bmfrance08.xml&site=6&page=0

see also:

Pas même t'y crois production


see also:

Welcome to Infoshop News
Monday, March 19 2007 @ 08:35 PM PDT
French Rioters Release Hip-Hop CD

Thursday, June 29 2006 @ 10:17 AM PDT
Contributed by: Anonymous
Views: 721
Art & RevolutionC7 H16 releases "G la rage et je la garde"
["I have rage and i'm keeping it. I'm pissed and i'm staying pissed..."]

A quick translation of the intro of the CD (also the intro on the website):

In the beginning of the winter, the suburbs have been set on fire and that's a good thing. In the middle of the urbanisation of capitalism, there is nothing more to hope for, nothing more to win...a lot of us have played with a bit of fire. (a lot have paid some joy of fire)

Our hatred is not negotiable, from generation to generation, it's the same shit. Confronting the State and its representatives, those who walk up straight while we are slaves. That's the meaning of the rioters, those who have rage, those who don't want the life they're condemned to.

Nothing new, and nothing is finished, it has only begun. The fire spread everywhere. And it will spread again, from itself, because this revolt is more profound than any word of order.

Available for 5€ from:
Pas même t'y crois production
17/19 rues des Bauves
95200 Sarcelles

Or you can download it for free at:



En fins (clichy sous bois): zone d'injustices ? dub




Mindwalk 42: Henry, Ann Coulter & the FCC

Explicit language in this episode. Hard to avoid when dealing with Henry Rollins. Audio taken from a few short films I found interesting on Google Video. A 10 year old girl from Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine sings her song. Taken from a very well made radio documentary "Children and Resistance by Seth Porcello / IMEMC link below. Teachers, students, and flower merchants fight government opression in Oaxaca, Mexico mixed with Gil Amran. Lord Patch, Public Enemy and Headshot wishes the President good night.




Clichy-sous-Bois, the impoverished and segregated north-eastern suburb of Paris where the two men lived and where the violent reaction to their deaths began, was a ticking bomb for the kind of dramatic social upheaval we are currently witnessing. ...A simple gesture of regret could go a long way towards defusing the tensions for now. The morning after the gassing of the mosque, a young Muslim woman summed up a widespread feeling: "We just want them to stop lying, to admit they've done it and to apologise." -- NAIMA BOUTELDJA -- "The Explosion in the Suburbs: Paris is Burning"



... Well, I had a very eerie feeling of déjà vu. And you'll forgive me, Amy, for being haunted by the first page of Black Boy, my father wrote, when at four years old he felt left out, and they were poor, and he was hungry, and nobody was paying attention to his brother and him. And he wandered listlessly about the room. And he stood before the shimmering embers, fascinated by the quivering coals. And a new idea of a game grew and took root in his mind. Why not throw something into the fire and watch it burn? ... julia wright


8:55 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment

Documentary on the Move Organization

note on previous blog:

Goliath Bled Deep: Police Brutality, the War & More