Saturday, September 30th, 2017

MC Solaar – Sonotone

The granddaddy of French rap is starting to feel it.


Cédric Le Merrer: MC Solaar, once poet laureate of French hip hop turned sell out to variété, has disappeared long enough for the rehabilitation process to take place. Now France is ready for him to do a serious song about growing old, with an old school beat and all the trappings of his early stuff. It’s not bad per se, but age did not make Solaar wise. We didn’t need him telling us “shit, I guess I’m an old now” when his flow already made that clear..

Stephen Eisermann: MC Solaar approaches his first solo single in a decade, an ode to getting older, with conviction. He’s introspective, sure, but he sounds determined, as he starts the song listing all that is wrong with an aging body, only to later find a sort of redemption and second wind. It’s powerful, and although I’m not sure the minimalist composition works in the song’s favor, MC Solaar’s voice is really all this track needs to feel empowering.

Jessica Doyle: It’s less grand than the video implies, and better, as he ruefully recounts his prostate exams and wishes he could be permanent like the Ku Klux Klan. The lament is less about mortality itself–maybe he’s going to heaven, mainly to hell, either way he’s keeping calm about it–than time’s arrow: not that he is an older man now than that he’ll never be a young man again. The sentiment feels true to me, and so does the song.

Julian Axelrod: Hearing MC Solaar rap about prostate exams and hearing aids over a Herbie Hancock score from a lost 80s cop movie makes The Blueprint 3 look even more embarrassing in retrospect.

Tim de Reuse: The wordplay is charming, the delivery is smooth and sincere, but the hook sounds like a hastily-assembled parody of something else (just what is that dry, pathetic-sounding little synth line trying to accomplish?).

Iain Mew: Solaar goes rapid and technical enough that it could be showy, but instead he remains perfectly measured and leaves all the flourishes to the eruptions of synth and strings and song around him. It’s a journey full of beautiful twists and turns. Realising that the retro-futurist sound is the perfect fit for rapping about getting old and pining after youth makes it better still.

Reader average: [7] (1 vote)

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