World Music Friday: Alliance Ethnik & IAM

Once upon a time, Common was called Common Sense. As can happen, he had to change names for legal reasons. Before he was really famous, hanging out with the Neptunes and making films of questionable quality, he did a guest verse or two on the Fat Comeback album by Alliance Ethnik who were at one point the poster group for French hip-hop alongside IAM. Their most famous song is called Respect which features the ever delightful Vinica Mojica.

IAM, aka the French Wu-Tang, was my main gateway into French hip-hop, even before MC Solaar. Just as Wu-Tang had their epic songs featuring a multitude of rappers, so did IAM. Their most recognizable song was called Demain, C’est Loin, an 8 minute exchange of lyrical dexterity which is normal circumstances would get boring but the variety of voices, styles backed up by a simple backing track maintains its momentum the whole way through.

It really is incredible how that golden era of rap spread across the globe.


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