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Hip-Hop given a French spin by Saian Supa Crew


Review: Heather Metherell

THE French group, Saian Supa Crew, proved that Hip-Hop could be just as enjoyable in a foreign language as it is in your native tongue, at their gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on October 17.

Bursting onto the stage with incredible force and energy, they filled their theatre with their presence immediately and soon had the whole place moving.

Whether or not you could understand a word of what they were saying, you couldn’t help but sit up and take notice. In fact, your GSCE French wouldn’t stand you in much stead anyway, as much of their rapping is done in a kind of French slang.

There is a marked difference between the performance of the Saian Supa Crew and their American equivalents, and that’s in the sheer energy with which they perform.

The six members move together as one (an effect enhanced by them all wearing the same Saian brand T-shirt) and dominate an otherwise empty stage with dancing that appears to be carefully choreographed.

What is missing is the posing and gesturing that is normally associated with Hip Hop artists, the Super Crew seem more concerned that their fans are having fun.

Part of this was plenty of audience participation, the call and response, first in French, then in English, showed where the bulk of the audience was from – and, quite surprisingly, it seemed pretty much divided down the middle.

One of the highlights of the evening was the incredible beat boxing from Crew member, Sly the Mike Buddha, who mimed tuning in stations on a radio station to tunes such as Billy Jean and Voodoo Chile, while showing off his vocal talents with scratching and improv.

The Saian Super Crew’s excellent performance went some way to beat the prejudices about French Hip-Hop as they charmed the crowd their fresh, lively mix of Hip Hop, Ragga, Reggae, Dancehall and African Rhythms.

There was so much to be admired in the production and presentation of the music that the language was forgotten, in fact the beauty of the French language is that you don’t necessarily need to know what it means to enjoy its sound and flow.

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