Rap à la française

A rapper who quotes Camus and Satre? Only in France.

Here is the story from BBC on French rapper Abd al Malik who says,

“The aesthetic should always serve a moral purpose, it’s what’s called artistic responsibility. The French writer Albert Camus and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre followed this idea, and I want to do the same,” he says. […]

He takes his position as role model seriously, as is demonstrated on a track called Celine. It makes a surprising comparison between the controversial 20th-Century French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine and rappers like himself.

“Celine revolutionised literature because he was very close to real people, like us rappers today. That’s generally a good thing, but there’s a danger about being so close to the people; you can start to embrace all the things that are wrong with society.

“In Celine’s time, anti-Semitism was rife and he fell into the trap of becoming anti-Semitic himself. Today, we rappers can sometimes do the same and say it’s always the fault of others, or apologise for violence, or become misogynistic or too materialistic.”

Abd al Malik is a convert to Sufism. He is also the author of the prize-winning book Qu’Allah bénisse la France (May Allah Bless France).

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