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Tonton David

Idioma disponible: inglés

Tonton David was a French reggae artist who scored more than a half-dozen Top 40 hits during the 1990s and early 2000s, thanks to his unique combination of ragamuffin, hip-hop, Caribbean, and Congolese influences. Born David Grammont on October 12, 1967, he spent his earliest years on Réunion Island before moving to Gambia, Senegal, and Paris. Such a diverse upbringing helped inspire an equally diverse sound, and Tonton David recorded his first single, "Peuple du monde," in 1990. Released on the French rap compilation Rapattitude, the song hit Number 32 on the French charts and paved the way for 1991's Le Blues des Racailles, which marked his full-length debut. It was 1994's Allez Leur Dire that truly turned Tonton David into a mainstream artist, however. "Sûr et certain" climbed to Number 9 in France, with "Ma Number One" and "Il marche seul" charting at Number 17 and Number 29, respectively. That same year, Tonton Davis teamed up with KOD's Manu Katché and Geoffrey Oryema to record "Chacun sa route," a Number 3 hit that appeared on the soundtrack to the French film Un Indien dans la ville. His success continued with 1995's Récidiviste, which included the Number 30 single "Fugitive" (featuring Algerian musician Cheb Mami). Although latter-day albums like 2005's Babelou and 2006's Livret de Famille failed to generate the same commercial sales as their '90s predecessors, Tonton David enjoyed one last Top 40 hit in 2005, when he appeared on Intouchable's "La Gagne." He spent his final years in eastern France, where he suffered a stroke on February 14, 2021. He died of a stroke two days later, at 53 years old. 

©Copyright Music Story Andrew Leahey 2021
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