Delivery is everything, especially in language and art. Nuance, tone, cadence and an all-out verbal assault is primordial if you’re French rapper (born Cameroon) MC Jean Gab’1. Charles M’Bouss (his real name), chose the MC moniker from watching 1960’s and 70’s French cinema and in particular from Jean Gabin, one of the country’s most adored actors during this time. If you pronounce Gabin’s name correctly, Gabin sort of sounds like “cabin” with a short “i” sound at the end. Similar to “un” in French or “one.” Thus hyphenated you get: Gab’1. Why though is MC Gab’1 so appealing?

Well in part, he’s led a life a crime (mainly robbery) and has witnessed it – the death of his mom and step-father at the hands of his real dad. He’s also spent enough time on the streets of the 15th arrondissement in Paris to understand the daily struggle and need to survive. By any means necessary. When he reaches 30 years-of-age however, MC Gab’1 picks up the mic for the first time and proceeds to take to task every major rapper in France in a no-holds-barred verbal tapout resulting in “Je t’emmerde”. Translated, it’s the equivalent of “Fuck you”. Je t’emmerde is good stuff, nothing beats the way it sounds and the amount of “oomph” you can get out of its pronunciation when used well. It is also one of the language’s most vile and nastiest insults, second to none to the phrase “je t’encule”.

Art like language I believe should not be limited by “social norms” or “political correctness” if it is being used as a tool of change – socially, economically, politically or otherwise. It also shouldn’t be viewed as a crime if expressed in favor of or against its people or government. I don’t want to get into a debate about which words we should or shouldn’t use – George Carlin decided this issue decades ago. What’s important here, is the “arts” should contain a certain element of truth or truisms supported by an individuals actual experience or “vecu” of what they’re expressing.

In other words MC Gab’1 can back up what he is critiquing – a rap scene gone soft. A scene that had once led to the recognition and betterment of a whole generation of disenchanted youth left behind by an uncaring and disinterested government during the late 1980’s and 90’s. Led notably by the group NTM and songs like “Nique la Police” (fuck the police). MC Gab’1 – unlike his predecessors – intends to keep it real, honest and direct and he wants you to know it. The result is pure gold.

And why not, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime? That goes double for art!

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