All about French Rap

Kekra : What’s Behind the Mask?

Dossier | Artist

Kekra [the verlan of crack] is a rapper from Courbevoie, in the Hauts-de-Seine County (92) in the western suburbs of Paris. He is like an UFO in the rap scene. A lot of mystery surrounds the rapper. For instance, he always hides his face. even if he is one of the “trillest”. Through his music, he speaks about his past life as a cocaine’s seller, his love for travels, his daily routine and his relation to music. The beats on which he rap, his use of English words, his use of vocoder, his attitude and his sense of fashion are good reasons as to why Kekra is probably the trillest French rapper.

• The beginning and the Freebase series

Kekra used to live in a really poor area near the Parisian Business District, where a lot of rich people came to work. This socio-economic contrast gave him a lot of motivation to make money at a young age by any way. According to some interviews, he dropped out of middle-school to sell drugs in order to make money. We don’t know too much about his childhood and teenage years. He arrived on the rap scene in 2015, with a first free project called “Freebase”. This project was setting the tone for the rest of his career. On the album cover you could not see the rapper but instead, a drawing where you could see his name written in a sort of Arabic font (Kekra has Moroccan origins), a flip phone (known by drug dealers in France), a PlayStation controller, a weed pack and a scale. We can quote the song “Grande Armée” [big army], in which he explains his idea to leave his neighborhoods to go live on the Grande Armée Avenue (one of the most expensive of Paris) with his “armed gang”.

The following year, in 2016, Kekra confirmed his presence on the French music scene by dropping 3 projects, including his first album called “Vréel”. Freebase Volume 2 and Freebase Volume 3 were both of them free projects. Those were very good, with a lot of aggressive and energetic songs such as “Por qué hombre?” [Why man ?], “Baldwin” or “Samosa”. On these mixtapes, you can hear that London has an influence on Kekra’s music.

• Vréel, Vréel 2 and Vréel 3

In-between 2016 and 2017, Kekra dropped a series trilogy of studio album called Vréel [the contraction the words for “true” and “real”, like trill in the US]. The first Vréel, which dropped in May 2016, contains “Pas joli” [Not pretty] which was a big hit. In this song he describes the atmosphere of the neighborhoods from which he comes: “from questionable neighborhoods where it isn’t pretty”. This album also includes songs like “Méfiant” [Mistrustful], which is more joyful and energetic.

The second opus, Vréel 2, came out in March 2017. Kekra passed a new milestone with this one by diversifying his music while retaining his aggressive and care-free DNA. The album contains more festive music, like “A.W.W.”, “Sans Visage” [without face] or “Uzi”. We also find some hovering songs, like “Hilguegue” or “Trop loin” [too far]. Kekra rapped on beats that are new to him, close to both techno and grime, like on the song “9 Milli”.

The rapper finished this series by dropping Vréel 3 in November 2017. This album is a great one too. It synthesized Kekra’s skills. We can emphasize his use of vocoders and his various flows on this project. We can mention songs like “Pull Up”, “Tout seul” [alone] or “Eaux troubles” [troubled waters].

• Land and Vréalité, maybe Kekra’s two most complete album

In 2018, Kekra dropped “Land”. This album had a nice success. The album cover is quite amazing. This album is maybe one of the most intimate of Kekra. It contains 11 titles, all of high quality, including “10 Balles” [a 10 euros weed pack] which talks about drug selling with a great melody. There is also “C’est bon” [it’s good] on which we find again the rapper in a good mood speaking about his family and travels “world citizen” (…) I’m always laughing (…) family, family, family, it’s all good”. We can also mention the very good “Frérot” [bro’], “Wing Chung” and “Sega”.

Finally, in June 2019 Kekra dropped his last album so far: “Vréalité” [a new pun equivalent to trill]. According to some, me including, it may be his best album. For the first time ever, Kekra collaborated with another artist on a featuring. This collaboration with the rapper Niska, called “Vréalité” like the album, was one of the biggest hits of 2019 and is a true masterpiece. This album contains a lot of other great songs like “Lights out”, “C.O.D.”, “CLS” or “Aznavour” (in tribute to Charles Aznavour, one of the greatest French singers of all time).

Kekra is a very complete rapper. He is very strong in his use of melody and he is also a strong kicker. In addition to being a great musical artist, he is also very deep into designer clothes. Recently, he became ambassador for Maison Margiela Paris. Finally, Kekra dropped a few singles at the beginning of 2020. Maybe a new album will come out soon? Stay tuned!

#92 #courbevoie #kekra #niska
Written by - February 9, 2020