Prince of French Drill ascends his throne...

Drill’s ascendancy to become a truly global form is one of 2021’s most potent music developments. Beginning as a niche style in Chicago before taking hold in New York, the sound’s UK centric evolution has been followed by tandem developments in Nigeria and Ghana.

French rap could be the next to cross-pollinate with drill’s icy potency, with Gazo’s ‘Drill FR’ presenting a lucid theses on what wild beasts could emerge from the cross-pollination of the varied strands of sonic DNA.

‘Drill FR’ culminates months of one off releases, and its 15 track span criss-crosses between languages, sonic influences, and styles, demonstrating the punchy creativity that allows Gazo to leap the linguistic divide. - Hache-P stars on early highlight ‘Cache You’, while the sub-zero synths that descend on ‘Parkinson’ offer sheer audio paranoia. Tiakola amplifies the energy on ‘Kassav’, with Landy and Franglish blessing ‘Go’ with guest bars.

The supporting cast is expertly picked, with UK duo Pa Salieu and Unknown T spraying on ‘Mon Cher’. Indeed, those names are a sign of the studio disparities at work in Gazo’s approach - Unknown T is sheer East London, while Pa Salieu’s sonic complexities nod towards Gazo’s own diasporic experiences.

As an English speaker, the depth and nuance of Gazo’s lyricism can sometimes pass me by. The strength of his flows, however, speak for themselves - jarringly rhythmic, he’s able to suggest a great range of emotional subtlety purely with his mic work.

Out now, ‘Drill FR’ part of a new wave of Francophone rap that is opening up an often inward scene to the world. Asserting their place as part of a global movement, these voices are too potent to be ignored. Often labelled the Prince of French Drill, this project allows Gazo to make his ascent.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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