Shurik’n – Samouraï

19th December 2023 · 1990s, 1998, Hip-Hop, Music

Here’s a slice of French hip-hop from the soundtrack of the Marseille-set cop drama Blood Coast (aka Pax Masillia) by a member of the city’s best known rap crew IAM.

There’s a great new French cop show on Netflix called Blood Coast, set in the scruffy Mediterranean port city of Marseille.

It’s a scruffy, edgy place and you’d probably never go there if you watched the show for fear of being gunned down on the beach in an inter-gang shootout by drug dealers.

But I love it there, and I love the TV show, whose original title is Pax Masillia, which translates – with heavy irony – as City of Peace.

It’s (partly) created, written and directed by Olivier Marchal who also made Braquo, which rivals Spiral as the best ever French cop show. And I love the music.

French rap seems to have a different vibe from mainstream American hip hop, with its claustrophobic beats redolent of the banlieus where it was born, and as much emphasis on the music as the words – which are obviously in French.

Most, if not all, the soundtrack music in Blood Coast comes from a Marseille-based hip-hop crew called IAM who formed there back in 1989, are signed to Def Jam, and have collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan.

There are lots of great tracks adding atmosphere to the show. This solo track, Samouraï, is by founder member Shurik’n (aka Geoffroy Mussard) and appears at a key moment in the drama.

Another of my favourites is Scrute Le Terrain by another IAM member, DJ Khéops and Le 3ème Oeil, featuring this gorgeous violin sample.