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Controversial French rapper strikes again


by Noémie Lecoq
12 December 2017

OrelSan (real name Aurélien Cotentin) grew up in Normandy, where he was born 35 years ago. As a teenager, he enjoyed listening to metal and rock music. When his basketball friends introduced him to hip-hop, he soon became addicted and started spending his days analysing his favourite rap songs, learning them by heart and translating into French those that were written by his American heroes (Public Enemy, amongst many others). His hobby became a career in the early 2000’s when he and his friend Gringe formed Casseurs Flowters, a hip-hop duo specializing in brilliantly silly and yet impressively skilled performances. Although the band are still active, both of them have their own solo projects, which take up most of their time.

Back in 2009, Orelsan released his first solo album, Perdu d’avance, and immediately sparked controversy. The same still happened with his third album, La fête est finie (in English: The party is over), released last October and featuring Dizzee Rascal, Nekfeu, Stromae, Ibeyi and Maître Gims.

Dubbed ‘The French Eminem’, this singer with a striking delivery has always caused a stir since his early days as a solo hip-hop artist because of his confrontational style. Admittedly, his lyrics are never dull sugary tales. Crude, powerful and sometimes violent (although he says he is no misogynist), his words often trigger criticism from politicians, but his success remains unaltered: he won the prestigious Prix Constantin in 2009, his second album brought him two Victoires de la Musique awards and his shows often sell out. Contrary to what his latest album title suggests, the party is far from being over.

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