By inviting himself in the middle of the election period with his eighth opus, the Le Havre rapper does what he knows how to do best, a raw and committed rap, always with a touch of humor. He tells BFMTV.com about this creative process.
The timing is nothing out of the ordinary. Between the presidential election and the legislative elections, Médine has just slipped the release of its eighth studio album Medina France this Friday. As a response to the historic score achieved by the Rassemblement National on April 24 and the attacks from all sides to which he has been subjected since the start of the campaign, the rapper from Le Havre takes up the pen again, more committed and denunciatory. than ever. Meeting with Medina.
Bringing an artistic look to societal issues
Two years after Grand Médine, released in 2020, the interpreter of Greater Paris, changed perspective. Finished the race for a first gold record at all costs, as he confided in the documentary Medina Normandy, broadcast by FranceTV Slash. Today the priority of the rapper is more to refocus on oneself to deliver a personal and eminently political speech.
Because since his previous opus, the artist has not stopped writing. In the aftermath of the numerous attacks and public insults to which he was the subject, in particular from the deputy LREM Aurore Bergé or even Nicolas Bay (ex-RN, spent with Éric Zemmour) – to which he moreover decided to respond “on the legal level” – Médine assures him “this climate of tension inspires him”.
“I have the impression that I am useful when I bring an artistic look to societal problems. So I have observed since the start of the presidential campaign, the evolution of political discourse, which has become more secure, with the subject of predilection Islamization and the question of French identity. It has nourished my work for more than a year and it is in this context that I wrote Médine France”, he says to BFMTV.com .
“I am featuring with myself”
How to take root in a country despite adversity is therefore the questioning at the heart of the new opus of the Le Havre rapper. The latter tries to provide an answer by offering his artistic view of French identity, as evidenced by the piece Come on Zchildren – rewriting of the Marseillaise version Médine – or the album cover, heavy with meaning.
On it, Medina has soberly chosen to affix a copy of his identity card, as a gateway to his personal history. It is for this reason that the project does not involve any collaboration with other artists.
“The subjects, the feelings, the positions and the commitments that are mentioned there did not necessarily leave room for someone to add to the words. And then the album bears my name, so in the end I am a little in featuring with myself”, confides Médine with humour.
But in addition to this speech, Médine offers its listeners a few moments of pause as on the piece Houriwhere he compares his wife and mother of his children Karinale, to a celestial beauty from the Muslim religion.
“I don’t want to be in a position where I do everything to be absolutely street-credible because I chose commitments that would prevent me from having a lightness. Being subversive by being a rapper who talks about love, c is among the most important fights of my life and my artistic career”, assures Médine.
Turning hate into art
In 2006, Médine unveils the piece Hotmail in which he picks up all attacks assigned to him in rows. If he repeats the experiment 16 later on Medina France with the piece Insta Pearls, this time, Medina goes further. He compiles real voice messages received from his haters on Instagram. A way to “turn shit into gold”, he jokes.
“It’s a tradition in my house, I always have a piece that uses the negative force to turn it into a positive and make something artistic out of it. It’s like fuel. And then being able to say that I’m paying for a vacation or restaurants to my family thanks to the hatred that I receive, I find that it is an incredible karate grip”, assures Médine, a smile on her lips.
The Bataclan, “an old wound that wakes up”
In line with the search for positivity, Médine amused himself a few tracks later by listing the bad memories that marked his life, all stored in what he calls his Seum attic. The principle: “keep in a corner of our mind the offenses we have received so that we can come back to them from time to time and see how we have evolved in relation to that”, he explains.
Among the list of inconveniences cited the rapper obviously mentions the Bataclan. Four years after the controversy surrounding his arrival in the mythical Parisian hall, this story remains “an old wound”. “She wakes up from time to time, no later than a few minutes ago,” says the one who will perform at the Casino de Paris on October 19.
At the time of our meeting, the rapper has just learned that elected officials from the city of Verviers oppose his coming to a festival, scheduled for early June. “They consider my comments to be outrageous… I don’t think they listened to my albums or my interviews,” he assures us before indulging in humor. “The funniest thing about it is that the festival is called Libertad… Liberty with variable geometry rather…”
“My medals are my political fights”
Beyond the notion of identity, this album resembles in certain aspects a political program. Médine has fun throughout the project to take up the codes and vocabulary as in the title France to French rap in which he raps “I don’t do concerts, I do meetings. I’m the most legitimate candidate.”
But when asked whether he intends to get involved in politics one day, Médine remains unanimous: “I have the impression that I am already involved in politics at different levels: in my texts, in my positions but also in as president of a sports association in Le Havre…”
The artist is also mobilized internationally. Recently, he was notably one of the artistic voices engaged to have France recognize what is happening in China with the Uighurs as being a genocide, a theme that Medina also addresses in its title. Child of Destiny: Sara.
“When I take part in this, when I’m invited to Oslo by the Nobel Peace Prize, because I wrote a piece about Denis Mukwege, in 2018 or when my piece Algiers Weeps illustrates a whole section of the history of colonization and decolonization in the history books of a high school, it is a form of reward for my work”, he confides.
And to conclude: “It may be a way of consoling me, but why seek at all costs to obtain a gold disc when my medals are in reality the fights and the victories that I lead on the political level. “