Philosophy, food, silly attempts at hip-hop: long have these been the three cornerstones of French culture. MC Solaar is the world’s longest-serving French rapper, which makes him after Weird Al Yankovic the world’s longest-serving novelty act, too. “Good Lord, it is a French man who raps!” cry homiez worldwide as they encounter Monseiur Solaar for the first time. “How droll! Look! He’s doing it again! And again! And….ah. Haven’t you got anything else?” The sad problem for MC Solaar and his fellow rhymeurs in crossover terms is that you listen to hip-hop because in part you are interested in what the MCs are saying. A cutting indictment of the state of foreign language teaching perhaps, but in Solaar’s case this is not really possible.

Mind you, to give him credit MC Solaar is doing his best for the furtherance of education. On the Jazzmatazz album he raps the following: “Je joue au golf / Ballesteros est mon prof”. This is not only rubbish, not only a lie, it’s a rubbish lie lifted from a C-Grade GCSE French paper. Having struck this vein of lyrical gold, Solaar was quick to follow it up, with the tracks “J’aime Ecoute Les Disques” and “Allez Tout Droite Et Tournez A Gauche” and the groundbreaking album Ten Nouns You Would Take To A Party.

(Thanks to Greg Scarth and Nicky Davenport).