Aurélien Cotentin has become one of the most accomplished creators of French rap. Whether the advocates of political correctness like it or not, it’s tough to dismiss this confounding, hyper-realistic rapper. Orelsan embodies the sensitive, the lost, the macho, the deviant. He’s also a very thoughtful, gifted and literate songwriter. His sharp-edged words elevate him above the fray with La fête est finie, a series of sombre portraits of French (or Western) society in general, of its inequalities, its inertia, and also of the shortcomings of our private lives and ills of our inner worlds. Words prevail over beats, but this “hip hop with brains” remains justifiable.
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