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Gazo – Has he mellowed down?

Gazo – Has he mellowed down? Several years ago, the Drill wave, originally from Atlanta, swept over France. Rappers like Freeze Corleone, Ashe22 from Lyonzon, Kaaris, Ixzo, or Kalash Criminel launched the Drill FR movement. However, among this multitude of emerging rappers, an artist named Gazo, who started his professional career with the album “Drill FR,” became one of the top three most listened-to artists in 2022 and 2023. Nevertheless, his collaborative album with Tiakola, released on December 1st, gives the impression that the rapper has softened, become more open, and less confined to the Drill style.

Gazo: More Openness, More Success?

The “Drill FR” project by Gazo consisted solely of Drill tracks. Upon the release of this project, with surprising success, much like a certain Ziak, also a revelation that year, the rapper confided to the interviewer at Booska-P, a Colombian, that he might consider including a track that is not Drill in his next project. This approach aligns with a well-known rule that a rapper must gain validation from the streets before exploring more diversified content. Gazo, validated with “Drill FR,” is beginning to lean toward softer sounds with “KMF” and especially with his album in collaboration with Tiakola.

Indeed, Rap is currently the most listened-to music in France. However, it is primarily urban music genres that dominate the charts. With a top trio consisting of Ninho, Gazo, and Jul for two consecutive years, the pinnacle of music in France demonstrates a clear openness. All three artists are undeniably great rappers, but they do not hesitate to cross the sometimes blurry boundaries of the rap genre to venture into content described as “more diversified,” and, in some cases, towards urban songs for Ninho and pop for Jul. Alpha 5.20 suggested, behind his purist remarks, that Marseille rap wasn’t “realrap. However, Jul has become the best-selling artist in the history of French rap, surpassing even IAM and Mc Solaar. Even Akhénaton, the guardian of the temple, one of the harshest critics, has clearly changed his mind about Jul, and now he has no problem contributing to the collective project “13 Organized.”

But is there a general rule stating that a rapper must diversify their style to reach a broader audience? Indeed, Dawala, the producer of Sexion d’Assaut, understood this as early as 2012, realizing that by appealing to a family audience, one becomes the master of the game. However, other rappers, like Kaaris, who tried to adopt a softer style after “Le bruit de mon âme,” only found success again by returning to their “street” roots. For Kaaris, his rebirth was realized with “Or Noir Pt3” and “2.7.0,” at least in the eyes of his fans.

Thus, Gazo, a purist among purists, seems to be following the same path as most rappers who have become superstars. He is expanding his repertoire. It’s not the rapper seeking his audience, but rather the rapper’s audience that invisibly influences the artist’s choices.

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

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