Orelsan is a French hardcore rapper whose full-length debut, the hit album Perdu d'Avance (2009), was the subject of much controversy, with many critics likening him to Eminem. Born Aurélien Cotentin on August 1, 1982, in Caen, France, he listened to rock music as a youth but gravitated toward rap music as he grew older. He made his recording debut in the mid-2000s with a series of underground singles released online; in particular, he used the popular video-sharing websites YouTube and Dailymotion to release early singles such as "Ramen" (2006) and "Saint-Valentin" (2007). In association with the French rap label 7th Magnitude, Orelsan made his commercial debut in October 2008 with "Changement," the lead single from his full-length album debut, Perdu d'Avance (2009). A Top 20 hit on the French albums chart, Perdu d'Avance spawned a series of follow-up singles, among them "No Life," "Différent," and "Soirée Ratée." Produced chiefly by Skread, the album was an atypical French rap release. Whereas most French rappers are of immigrant descent, hail from suburban high-rise ghettos, and rap about social injustice, Orelsan is a white middle-class rapper from the far northern province of Lower Normandy who raps about the boredom of his rural locale. Hence the comparisons drawn to not only Eminem but also Mike Skinner, the British rapper known as the Streets. Shortly after the release of Perdu d'Avance, Orelsan became the subject of much controversy when French politicians of both the right and left wing joined together in their condemnation of the violence and misogyny expressed in his lyrics, in particular those of the song "Sale Pute" (i.e. "Dirty Slut"). While the song isn't included on Perdu d'Avance and indeed predates the album, the controversy garnered lots of publicity, especially once French cultural minister Christine Albanel tried to get it banned from YouTube, and thereby made Orelsan something of an outlaw hero. His 2011 effort, Le Chant Des Sirènes, featured much less controversial material with many tracks focusing on the artist's rise to fame. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Rap - Released September 26, 2011 | Wagram Music - 3ème Bureau - 7th Magnitude
Distinctions Victoire de la musique - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Described as France's answer to Eminem, Normandy rapper Aurelien Cotentin, aka Orelsan, proved he was just as capable of creating controversy as his U.S. counterpart with the leaked track "Sale Pute," a misogynistic tale of domestic violence that had everyone from women's rights groups to the Culture Minister calling for his music to be banned. Perhaps burned by the hostile response, his second album, Le Chant des Sirènes, slightly tones down his venom-spitting persona in favor of a more mature and reflective approach that largely deals with the pressures of his notorious rise to fame. Despite this less vitriolic lyrical stance, the album's sound is still just as dark as 2009 debut Perdu d'Avance, as Skread's claustrophobic production shifts from industrial dubstep ("Raelsan," "Mauvaise Idée") to aggressive crunk (Gringe collaboration "Ils Sont Cools") to nocturnal Streets-esque suburban rap ("Finir Mal") throughout, while even its poppier moments such as the Timbaland-inspired title track, the clattering R&B of "Si Seul" (featuring a rare melodic lead vocal from Orelsan), and the low-key acoustic hip-pop of "La Morale" are laced with a sense of melancholy that suggests the past two years have hit the 29-year-old hard. Elsewhere, the authentic old-skool vinyl-scratching pastiche of "1990" and the bizarre fusion of twinkling music boxes, nursery rhyme melodies, and childlike vocals on "La Petite Marchande de Porte-Clefs" briefly lighten the mood, while there are flashes of his former self on his biting attack on Parisian society, "Suicide Social." But while Le Chant des Sirènes is unlikely to make as many headlines as his previous output, it's an inventive if admittedly downbeat progression suggesting that the enfant terrible of French rap might be growing up. ~ Jon O'Brien
Soul/Funk/R&B - Released February 16, 2009 | Wagram Music 3ème Bureau 7th Magnitude
Featuring 14 expletive-laden tracks inspired by the mundanity of his middle-class upbringing in rural Normandy, the debut album from controversial rapper Orelsan, Perdu D'Avance, has drawn comparisons with fellow shock-MC Eminem. Released in 2009, three years after the videos he posted on YouTube made him an Internet sensation, the Skread-produced LP features the singles "Changement," "No Life," "Different," and "Soiree Ratee," alongside a collaboration with Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron Thai. ~ Jon O'Brien
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