French rap duo, PNL, who are brothers, released their third studio album, Dans la Légende, this week, and it resonates with a global audience — yes, even those who don’t speak French. The tracks that make up the album at times come across as nihilistic, while also conveying a sense of yearning for better world. Even though they rap about some of the usual subjects like sex, sports and money (which all seems more romantic in French, anyway), they also focus on more intense subjects like violence around the globe.
The brothers — Ademo and N.O.S — hail from a suburb south of Paris and have reflected on the social and political landscapes not just in their own country, but around the world, striking a chord with a younger generation of people frustrated by escalating violence, terrorism and corruption. They’ve also become popular thanks to social media; they aren’t signed to a major record label, but their previous album, Le Monde Chico, is certified gold for selling over 50,000 copies in France in March this year.
As the Fader noted in a cover story on PNL this past summer:
French rap has a long tradition of engaging national politics directly, whether in the confrontational style of American gangsta rap or through homegrown variations that have more in common with witty, romantic chanson française.
The physical version of the group’s third record is available in two versions, orange and rose. The orange version of the album includes a bonus track “I Hate You” while the “rose” version features the song “Cramer!” Overall, listening to it might leave you feeling a little melancholy but it also sparks determination.
Stream the album here: