Question: Which Quebec rappers unexpectedly launched an album together on Friday, May 22, 2020?
Answer: Léo Fougères and Emmanuel Dubois, better known under their respective pseudonyms of FouKi and Koriass.
Welcome to Génies en herbe, a 14-track surprise album that will stoke the fans of the two flow-masters and undoubtedly grow their audience. Because this collaboration, which began about a year before the pandemic, is proving to be more than fruitful. There’s a chemistry that works here, a fluid complementarity. The frontal assaults of the weathered thirtysomething dovetail perfectly with the more muffled volleys of his colleague in his early twenties. “Leave me the alone, damn it, I’m fixing myself up / I’m quarantining you, it’s not COVID-19”, FouKi raps on the title track, the only one where the reviled virus is allowed to be mentioned, before Koriass goes on to say “It’s not COVID that’s going to isolate me / It’s in my madness, I’m a prisoner.”
From the duo’s minds and mouths emanate a flow of words whose tone ranges from serious causticity (“Herbogénistes”) and trash talk (“Fait chier”), to faux braggadocio (“I.T.P.P.N.A.” and “Marée haute”) and self-mockery (“Tout c’qui faut”). As the genre obliges, self-references accumulate, notably mentions of Steve (Jolin, alias Anodajay, boss of the prosperous rap stable 7ième Ciel).
In the music department, seasoned beatmakers Ruffsound and QuietMike assume the bulk of the workload, supported by Manifest, Pops, Rousseau, Jay Century, June Nawakii, A.C., and RealMind. Lots of pleasant sounds here, including the half-funk, half-Afrobeat guitar chords on “Bruit”. Good idea to quote Rock et Belles Oreilles by inserting between the tracks, excerpts from classic Quebec sketch-comedy show’s historically hilarious game-show parodies. It strategically lightens the mood.
Special mention to Brad Laplante for the cerebral illustration on the cover. The video for “Tout c’qui faut” is already online.