It seems like such a natural progression for French hip-hop to take off--after all, there's only so many MCs out there with anything original to say or a novel way of saying it, so the flow of the rapper's patter is easily as important as what they're rapping about. French, with its cultivated smoothness, sounds beautiful and naturally flows from thought to thought; chanted over beats, the effect can be sublime--even if the listener doesn't understand a word. Though most dedicated hip-hop fans are familiar with MC Solaar, it might be the Saian Supa Crew who spread le message
. The SSC are a six-man collective (three MCs, one vocalist and two vocal percussionists, who "sing" sound effects) who have internalized influences from a wide variety of forefathers: the Roots and Jurassic 5, for a wide-open, old-school feel and a respect for hip-hop history; DJ Premier and the Wu-Tang Clan, for the production on "G-Padpo" and "Darkness"; even the playfulness of Prince Paul. It's a lot to display on one album, and some songs work better than others--but there are more than enough winners here. --Randy Silver
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