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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2003
MC Solaar is well known to France as 50 Cent is known to ths US, he's had hit singles in the UK, France, Germany and as far afield as Japan. So what's getting people to buy French rap? The fact that Solaar is a peaceful rapper, he deosn't speak badly of women, he doesn't talk about shooting the police, he doesn't mention unecessary violence, and he's poetical. He knows how to use French verbs so effectively it's incredible. His speed isn't blistering too, not like some of the rappers out there who you can't understand. Cinqueme As is his 5th studio album, which I feel is pretty impressive.
It all kicks off with the angelic tainted "Solaar Pleur", which to me isn't his best. I really don't like this title, it's just so annoying to me. The rapping is good, but the whole mood just seems to go against Solaar's grain. He's just so angry and swears like it was in fashon. It's just not my style.
I especially like "Leve toi et rap", which is an excellent piece of hip hop; Solaar rapping about how he got up and took the mic in his mid teens. It's also about late 80s Paris, grafitti, b-boys and hip hop nights. It's quite well put together, and the samples are excellent, Gangstarr announcing "MC Solaar", one of my favourites on the album.
Another I really like is Colonies, an excellent tale of how Africa had a lot of French colonies.
Another great has to be Hasta La Vista, Solaar a l'Espagnol, which is pretty cool. If you have the UK release, it's actually a Spanish version, which I also loved. This is a tale of a lover in Spain, which is poetically put together by Claude MC.
Other great features on here has to be la belle et le bad boy, a parody of Beauty and the Beast, but of course, 00's style. The bad boy robs cars, mopeds and other stuff, while the girl is beautiful, and the bad boy wants her.
La la la reminds me a bit of his 1998 hit "Les Temps Changent", it's cheerful, yet a bit silly and comical.
Akansas is quite a serious track with serious vocals, about a kid who gets a gun for Christmas and shoots bottles, but one day he decides to shoot someone. Solaar is trying to say if you get your child a gun, he might well get a real one in the future, so don't encourage guns.
Another of my favourites includes RMI, all about income support - telling us a lot of people expect it and don't get much to live on. You'd have to understand French Social Security rules to understand this.
Other favourites include Hiphopaloorap, which is a pretty cool piece of hip hop; Cinqueme As, which I find quite rather patronising of Solaar to make himself sound like he's god; and Playmate, which is an excellent love song about a girl who goes after rich men who only want to fool around, and not have a proper relation. The girl is left with a baby, and takes the TGV to get away from him.
Solaar has done a lot of colaborations on here, 9Respect and Don Xeré Delavega, and now, Bambi Crutz, who is well known in Solaar's discography. This is because he's in the Cinq Cent One Posse, which Solaar hangs in. Homme Qui Voulait Trois Milliards is the tale of a man who wanted cash fast, and did a robbery. It's a parody though, because MC Solaar makes a joke of it by saying "MC Solaar is behind the counter, how can I help?". Excellent track.
Finally, Si Je Meurs Ce Soir, which is a song about if he dies tonight, which reminds me of something 2Pac would do. Very cool and laid back, great vocals, but a bit too G Funk. The strange thing is, it's got 4mins of silence, then Samedi Soir comes on, a song about Saturday nights, when he used to get high and wander the streets.
Altogether it's an excellent album - DJ Sample, DJ Mac and Black Rose are all unknown, but they've done a sterling job on production. Their production level is at the same as Pigale Boom Bass, with hints of Jimmy Jay, which is excellent. The only thing I hate about this album is Solaar Pleur, just can't get into that song. The enhanced stuff on here's a joke too, Opendisc is all that's on it, which signs you up to a mailinglist and lets you see "extras", which isn't really that exciting. Altogether, an excellent album with excellent production values, 4/5 just because of Solaar Pleur.
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on 20 November 2002
This is a fantastic album, easily surpassing his 'Paradisiaque' LP. He raps with an unmatchable fluidity and diversity, and his lyrics are the most intelligent in this genre of hip hop, exceeding even the likes of the Wu-Tang clan and Rakim....even if you cannot speak French, you will be mesmerised. There are several tracks that I feel really bring out the best of his unique talents. Leve-toi-et-rap, Solaar Pleure, La belle et le Bad Boy and Si Je Meurs ce Soir really highlight the variety of music that he incorporates into his work, but for me Hasta La Vista and the symphonic version of Solaar Pleure are really what he is about. His ability to rap in various different languages is incredible and this is underlined in the fantastic Hasta La Vista....'soy en un papel de lider como Fidel Castro'.....a mi me gustaba la chica llamda Rachel, tengo la voz, la fuerza, estilo y papel'...this song is so good to listen to. His use of classical music is evident in many other tracks, but the symphonic verson of Solaar Pleure is magical. This man is simply a genius! Who are Saian Supa Crew when you have MC Solaar?
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on 30 March 2007
Solaar gets it all off his chest in this album. Social injustice, American gun crime, the slave trade, French urban poverty (those living under the 'seuil' (threshold) relying on the inadequate RMI (Revenu Minimum d'Insertion), a kind of minimum wage for the young unemployed are amongst his primary areas of concern. Despite all this, he does not preach, he does not parade as the Messiah but he DOES bring across important messages without any detriental effects either to the lyrics (which waiver between poignant and strikingly brilliant - for instance these lines from the modern French urban lovestory of the stunner and the gangster:

'Mais entre eux, c'était toujours complicité

Escale sur un piédestal, un reve délimité

S'il devenait triangle, elle serait rectangle').

One great advantage that MC Solaar has over his French 'rivals' (there aren't many serious contenders besides maybe IAM AND SSC to the hip-hop/rap crown) is his sonoric diversity. The album starts off with the very powerful, explicit and Satanic 'Solaar pleure' and the srcathcy, street-wise sound of 'Leve-toi et rap' (which boasts perhaps the best lyric of the album and describes Solaar's development through childhood and youth), digresses in the middle with one epic love song (La belle et le bad boy) and one cornier effort that is reminiscent of a few of Tupac's urban ballads and then Solaar shares his social concerns with us ('Degats Collateraux', 'RMI' and 'C'est ca que les gens veulent'. The album ends with 2 very catchy songs of very different ilk in 'Cinquieme As' and 'Si Je Meurs Ce Soir', the former being somewhat of a lyrical and melodical ego trip with the latter very reminiscent of track 2 in a sort of dark, higher-being, external forces manner. In terms of sounds, this is as eclectic as Mach 6 as Claude M'Barali (real name) bounces between pop, raps, hip-hop, African choirs, Spanish guitar and orchestral string and wind. I would thoroughly recommend this album (both as an insight into the man's genius and modern French society (given the recent rioting in French cities and the relative success of the extreme right).

Best tracks - Hasta la Vista Mi Amor!, Belle et le Bad Boy, Lève-Toi et Rap, La la, La, C'Est Ça Que Les Gens Veulent, Si Je Meurs Ce Soir - Black Jack, MC Solaar, Homme Qui Voulait Trois Milliards - Bambi Cruz, MC Solaar

Weak tracks - Hiphopaloorap, Baby Love, Playmate
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on 17 August 2001
I happened upon the first single from this album ('Solaar Pleure') in my local record shop, and as I has always been curious about French hip-hop, I thought I would have a listen. It was absolutely fantastic, and as a result, I bought the album when I went over to Paris. The quality of all the songs is very good, and there is a fair amount of variety. My inability to understand what Solaar was saying did not affect my enjoyment. Highlights of the album are the first two singles; 'Solaar Pleure' and 'Hasta la Vista', and the drum n' bass influenced 'Babylove'.
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on 1 January 2004
another fabulous album from the musical wonder who is MC Solaar. his lyrics are untouchable (if you understand french) and with tracks like 'solaar pleure', he manages to wipe the floor with not only french hip hop acts like saian supa crew and iam but american rap also ( i dunno about u but i get sick and tired of the same old regurgitated crap us artists come out with.)the best tracks are 'solaar pleure', 'hasta la vista' and 'la belle et le badboy'. cant wait 2 get my mits on mach 6. vive le rap francais!!!!!!
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on 30 October 2001
After the dissapointment of the lack of effort put into the last album "MC Solaar" I was dubious to see how this faired.
Luckily, the gamble paid off. Quality production, tight lyrics show MC Solaar talking of what he sees in his surroudings with excellent use of Verlan and french. Whilst not as groundbreaking as Qui Seme Récolte, or Prose Combat in terms of production and originality.
Compared to previous albums, I would say this this is more like "Paradisiaque", which is by no means a bad thing.
He wipes the floor with artists such as IAM or the Saian Supa Crew who in the french hip hop scene are the competition with this album.
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on 14 August 2001
I can't say how this compares to other albums by MC Solaar as I haven't heard any, but put it this way - I'm buying another one today. Very smooth, raising the tempo on the single 'Solaar Pleure', and even a sample of the Beastie Boys thrown in there somewhere. If you're into other (fairly mainstream) hip hop, its definitely worth a go.
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on 4 September 2001
On the strength of one single "Hasta La Vista" I ordered this CD having heard none of the other tracks. When it arrived I was astounded to hear what is one of the best albums I now own. It's a perfect summer chill-out album. Best track Hasta La Vista steals the limelight, but another coule of outstanding tracks; La Belle et Le Bad Boy, Playmate, Baby Love and the Symphonic Solaar Pleure make this album a must buy. Even if you don't understand the language, it is one of the best albums of this millennium so far!!!! Buy it now.
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on 17 August 2001
this is a superb album. i have two other Solaar albums and this is one of the best yet, but slightly different. my favourite tracks are Solaar Pleure, Hasta la Vista and Baby Love a must buy for any lover of music!!
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on 20 November 2013
For those who understand french language, I do like this hiphop artist's style. I would recommend that you are very fluent. His lyrical flow and tracks are just as you would expect from French community. Another good artist next to this one is IAM. Both equal in measure.
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