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HELL SINKY TRACK 5 : Don’t Let Your Son Linger

This morning when I arrived at Colin’s office, the front door was shattered. I later learned that a disgruntled employee who hadn’t received his salary had blown it up before leaving. An employee, by the way. The office was desperately empty, my pockets too, ‘when you turn out your pockets, the dust stings your eyes’ (IAM – L’Enfer). So, I settled in the midst of the ‘void,’ I looked that trickster Colin in the eyes. And I proposed an arrangement to him: I handle the open space, you manage a communication agency that communicates nothing, I bring you clients, and you let me do my thing. Colin didn’t trust me, but he trusted the black hole that the GP had become even less, so he agreed.

I contacted the smaller rap sites I could find: RadioType28, Astral Hip Hop, and ActuB. I invited them to the Open Space. First, I met the manager of Actu B. The guy is a true rap enthusiast. The reason? He was incarcerated a few years ago, and the rap he listened to diligently saved him from madness. No need to talk money with him, Srab wants the indies he supports to reach the zenith. These ‘indies’ are the independent rappers from the 93, Babali Show, Despee Gonzales, Dino, and the others. These rappers operate around a squat we call Le Plan B.

Le Squat : Le “Plan B”

The second DJ KeFas is as skilled with his turntables as he is with numbers on the internet. He aims to make Radiotype28 an alternative wave amidst Skyrock and Générations FM. As for the last one, Laurent from Astral Hip Hop, he’s the true journalist of the bunch, his hip-hop fanzine, much like himself, a passionate advocate for real music, stands out in this age of hip-hop business. I work in collaboration with Célia, an experienced journalist, and with Alex, my intern.

It’s with Srab from Actub that I first strike up a friendship. This veteran of the hip-hop cause was already working at Radio Plurielle during the movement’s early days. However, he’s a purist, a true one. You can spot the veterans by two things in this small hip-hop community. Firstly, their style, a super trendy lascar look from the ’90s with Fila, also in the way they talk, as they fuel the slang of their era. And most importantly, in their defense of the supreme values of the hip-hop movement; they’re the Robespierres of the cause, the keepers of the temple. Don’t talk about Trap to Srab, he might give you a straight punch on the fly. And if, by some unfortunate event, you mention a certain Jul (currently the best-selling rapper in France across all eras), you might not make it back home alive. Srab would be waiting for you with a sword in hand, and the first Busta Rhymes as his shield.

Srab tells a lot of stories, and having crossed more liars than heroes in my life, I remain skeptical. He visits the GP or Célia follows my instructions to gather the small rock media. But while we’re welcomed in the Rap scene, Rock ‘has lost its balls a long time ago’ (Youssoupha) in France, and makes it clear with vague emails for each of our requests. As for Maude, a JRI passing through for two days, who was supposed to handle the electronic music section. She’s dispatched on a mission to the Middle East, or somewhere like that. So, I work on the Rap scene, bringing together the entire media class, starting with the little guys, while Srab tells me Hip Hop Street stories. Then, one day, he asks if I want to interview Sear Get Busy. This guy is the FILA brand all by himself. The mythomania test is ready, and I say yes.

And there, three days later, I see Sear Get Busy and DJ Kefran walk into GP’s premises. I’m absolutely unprepared. Sear Get Busy is the founder of Get Busy, a legendary Rap Game fanzine, and later, Authentik. All magazines or fanzines dealing with Hip Hop disappeared with the popularization of the internet. There’s still Rap’n’RnB Mag but whatever. As soon as broadband offered free access and videos, our ‘generation of illiterates trying to convince themselves that nothing is written’ (Orgasmisc feat Fuzatti) jumped at the opportunity. Today, Sear comments on current affairs on Facebook and even writes books about it. Poor real muzul is often one of his favorite targets. And after following him for three months, he’s worse than Booba on a social network. He’s a walking clash.

This founder of Hip Hop culture also hung around Paris 8, The Hip Hop Fac. This idiot really impresses me. The interview is far from exceptional. I fumble and mess up like a 14-year-old girl organizing her first party for her birthday. I become the Raphaël Merzahi of Rap for 10 minutes. He sets the pace with a single sentence that will stick with me when I leave Paris: ‘Yesterday, Rap allowed us to leave the neighborhoods, today it’s imprisoning many.’ Yes, it’s true, and Srab knows it too. In every housing estate in France, there’s at least one rapper. There are tens of thousands of housing estates. And in the end, only a handful of them become famous and then disappear into the corridors of time. Rap and football are what the natives have left for the children of immigrants to feel like they exist. If Shurik’n denounced in ‘Animalement Votre’: ‘the fate that compels our fathers to the trowel’, I would tend to be surprised at ‘the fate that sends us to play with a ballpoint pen or a ball’ (‘113 – Les Princes de la Ville’), but ‘no engineers in my team,’ says the same song, yet ‘you will envy those who continue school’ (Kery James – ‘L’impasse’). Because many rappers live on welfare, clinging to a girl who can’t take it anymore.

Soon after, Srab introduces me to Dino and Despee Gonzales. I didn’t know them very well. These guys are massive. The two men, tired of getting ‘flops’ on YouTube, turned to the subway. Well, the competition in the subway, between the Roma waving their MDs, often humming the tune of Marie HopKins’ ‘Those Were the Days’, and the basic homeless begging, is less challenging than facing off against Booba and Kaaris. But it’s powerful, as rappers have always been criticized for being egotistical, even completely full of themselves. The technically flawless old-school duo has no problem putting their egos aside and connecting with people who don’t know rap at the subway corner. They sell 15,000 records like that, and Le Parisien covers them in an article

Babali Show :Une figure du plan B qui a aussi joué un rôle dans “Brooklyn”

Srab invites me to his house to meet his wife and kids. There’s a beauty in this Hip Hop, in this Hip Hop spirit that brings everyone together in brotherhood. But money, for many, is more beautiful than love and friendship combined. It’s what will separate me from Srab.

C.E.O HELL SINKY, author, journalist, documentary

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