French Hip-Hop 12's Part 1 (1999)
My knowledge of French hip-hop was (and still is, to some degree) MC Solaar and IAM. Solaar's "Caroline" was the ultra-smooth shit my man brought back from his semester abroad in France, and soon Solaar started showing up on records in the States (thanks to Guru I'd say). I didn't get IAM til they did the collabo with Timbo King (or Royal Fam).
Long story short, spent the day going through 12" one-by-one with a surly (can't blame him, I was an American and he was French, right?) record store employee. I had to promise him I'd be dropping lots of cash in advance; he wasn't excited about letting me audition shit, period. Some of the records that crossed the Atlantic:
[French Hip-Hop 12's Part 1]
Lunatic "Civilisé" 12"
This track sounds like some rugged NYC indie shit; love how the MC starts his first verse. Includes instrumental.
La Case Negre "Amertume" b/w "Quand Je Rap" 12"
The b-side's been my long time favorite here, chill jazzy head-nodder. And a title anyone who's taken French 101 can understand. Again, love how the MC breaks into the track on this cut. Includes the two tracks listed.
Scred Connexion "Bouteille de Gaz" 12"
Niice twelve with three cuts, "Bouteille de Gaz", "La Routine", and "Les Diables et les Anges". Despite the familiarity of the latter (you'll recognize the samples), like how they rock 'em. Also includes "Bouteille..." instrumental.
IV My People "Présent Tant Qu'mes Gars en Veulent" 12"
Definately the "hot shit" amongst this group, and the only one I've been able to rock at a club in the States. Right on the edge of being commercial bullshit, I think this track works, love the intro (anchored by DJ Premier and Pharoah Monche vocal samples). Includes instrumental, as well as b-side "Rien à Prouver" and instrumental.