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the best of the “ultimate fanzine” of hip-hop united in a beautiful book

Since its start in 1990, the legendary French fanzine Get Busy is more than in tune with hip-hop then in full bloom: he too does the maximum with next to nothing. Made by a handful of enthusiasts led by Sear, based in Saint-Denis (93), this cabbage leaf crossed out with the words “Forbidden to Bastards” was born in reaction to the press, in particular the music press, which at the time doesn’t understand much about hip-hop and completely misses out on this nascent movement which she considers, at best, a passing fad.

Faced with this disdain, this fanzine steeped in enthusiasm, bad faith and “chambrette”, its favorite sport, intends to defend with its meager means this culture in which the small team believes and in which it recognizes itself. “We said to ourselves very naively: the only way we can talk about hip-hop and rap well is if it’s the people inside who do it.“, recalls Sear today, stressing that he never had the ambition to become a journalist or to have a career in the press.

One of the pages of the book

Get Busy therefore begins in a traditional way, like an eight-page photocopied and stapled, printed in 300 copies. With his humour, his irony and his straightforward tone that does not refrain from any embarrassing questions, it is from the start his long interviews that have made his reputation. Random publication and equally uncertain points of sale complete to make it a cult object for any fan of French hip-hop and rap in the early 90s (a distant era when the internet did not exist). Especially since it is gradually improving, the last six issues in paperback format benefiting from glossy color covers.

Hip-hop is bling, we want beauty, we want clean“, remarks Sear, interviewed today by Mouloud Achour in the book. “Only rich sons want to be grunge. We didn’t have the means, but we had luxury tastes.“For the children of immigration,”in the 80s, what do we have? Not much“, he points out. “Hip-hop was a breath of fresh air. It was a blessing. He got us interested in other things“, to leave the halls of buildings, to move, to travel.

After a detour through authenticthe NTM magazine (three issues published between 1998 and 2000) inspired by Grand Royal the Beastie Boys, which earned us crazy interviews conducted in tandem by JoeyStarr and Sear, Get Busy becomes a society magazine, available on newsstands for seven issues where, fitting with the curiosity and the desire to enrich oneself intellectually of its creator, it opens up to various personalities from the cinema, the media, sport, politics, banditry or porn.

And this, without letting go of his corrosive, impertinent and sometimes raw style, with questions that no journalist would have thought or dared to ask. Since 2016, it has reinvented itself as a TV Show on the web, in a more relaxed style, with the Get Busy Show on Click TV.

An inside double page of

This year, Sear (for Eternal Signer of Radical Articles), ended up doing what he “viscerally refused” until there : “open the memory box“. In this thick anthology with a neat layout, he has brought together with his followers a selection of dozens of interviews published since 1990 and carried out for the different incarnations of Get Busy. The result is a heterogeneous radioscopy of French society over the past thirty years, seen through the prism of a certain “suburban subculture“.

We thus come across film personalities such as Alain Chabat, Benoît Poelvoorde, Albert Dupontel and André Pousse, media men such as Frédéric Taddeï, Thierry Ardisson or David Dufresne, sportsmen such as footballers Lilian Thuram, Michel Platini, Socrates and the boxer Marvin Hagler, and porn actresses like Julia Channel and Laetitia. José Bové, Jacques Vergès, Charlie Bauer and even… Casimir, the orange dinosaur from Île aux Enfants, who gives us the exclusive recipe for Gloubi Boulga.

Rap and hip-hop only occupy a good third of the book, but the cream is there, from Dee Nasty to DJ Mehdi and Cut Killer, and from KRS One to Nas, Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg . Without forgetting a rare and enlightening interview with the legend of graffiti Mode 2 in which he exposes his radical thought as much as “hippie” and preoccupied with the environment before its time.

One of the double inside pages of the book

Many of these interviews have stood the test of time, they remain fascinating today. Especially since they benefit from a perspective with texts written especially for the anthology, accompanied by QR codes for those who wish to go further.

Impossible to ignore the two flagships of French rap: a long article is of course devoted to NTM vs IAM, the real false eternal rivals of rap from here. Get Busymistakenly considered the press organ of the Supreme” assures not to have served the soup to the first (he even refused to speak about his album Paris under the bombs) and never neglected the latter, interviewed from number one of the fanzine and described as revolutionaries of French rap. This article is especially embellished with an exceptional photo dated 1991 on which appear together IAM in full as well as JoeyStarr, Rockin’ Squatt of Assassin and the team Get Busy.

“30 years to go from NTM to JuL, from Public Enemy to Tekashi 6ix9ine, from a hard-to-find fanzine that we treasured once found to a constant stream of information that we forget as quickly as it appeared on our screens… “, writes Sear in his editorial, a bit wry. “30 years to create in reaction to bullshit from the rock and institutional press and end up compiling ours in an anthology“. Bullshit, yes, but of anthology.

“Get Busy, Anthology”, preface by Alain Chabat (Marabout, €39)

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