Back to the beginning of the end. A couple of years after I got into Hardcore, I got into French Rap. I don’t know or recall how I discovered Zoxea in 1999 but I still remember their music. Their music still floats through my mind now and then. YouTube was not doing enough for me any more. I needed the real thing. Back then I only had the CD version, so I browsed the site Discogs.com and found some info lines on it. No big information anyway, I needed to have a tangible copy from the Discogs Marketplace.
Since every self respecting Rap artist was releasing vinyl or every self respecting fan was buying vinyl back then, I should have know earlier. To my pleasant surprise their was someone selling a sealed copy of their double LP. I made an offer and it was accepted less than half an hour later. It was a girl who sold it, she was great to communicate with and packaged it very well. It arrived this morning in the mail, so here is a piece of my youth back. Sealed.
They have great music and rhymes. Rhymes deal with hanging out in Brussels, getting grip on life or loosing it, pressure people experience in life. It’s mainly a positive record in my opinion. Although if you do not understand any French I could get why it’s not so well known. There is also a feature of Busta Flex (not the US Busta Rhymes) who does a truly great improvisation live.
As you can see from the sticker in the upper left corner, French Rap music wasn’t DIY. It got coverage on bigger labels and on the Radio station Skyrock. Skyrock was a French radio broadcaster on the FM radio wave. As I lived near the French border, we could receive the station on the radio. They were known for playing Rap and were somehow an institution for it.
The back cover of this Zoxea LP breaths the atmosphere of living packed together in the French HLM quarters. Freely translated to English, HLM stands for ‘low priced housing’. Such housings were created by the French government to ensure housing for the poorer people also, a social housing project on bigger scale in the whole of France. If you drive through the country you will see HLM’s near every bigger city. Well Zoxea was obviously from one of them. And maybe they created even more segregation amongst the French citizens.
The record was realized by Kool Shen, a founding member of NTM, another band from Saint Denis in Paris… More about that band soon, I am awaiting the record to be delivered.