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The female artists who are redrawing the boundaries of French rap

With its unique offerings and undeniable musical diversity, French rap has risen, over the course of outstanding albums and hit songs, as one of the most prolific and interesting scenes in Europe. Strongly supported by its most famous headliners, the quality of its musical offering is also based on the experimental work of new generations who do not hesitate to explore innovative sounds. Yet in the midst of this diversity of proposals, gender diversity remains rare in an environment that is still very predominantly male. So with projects, clips and striking pieces, those who work with original and different music have carved out a place for themselves: between haunting refrains, distorted voices laden with melancholy and fusions of rhythmic musical influences, focus on female artists who push the boundaries of French rap ever further.


When we talk about female rap, there are big names that we can hardly avoid as they occupy the media and musical space. After the release of her acclaimed debut album and wide coverage in the print media, popular shows and radio interviews, Lala &ce has become, in just a few years, an established figure in French rap and a leader in women’s rap. However, the artist did not have much to please the established standards of the music industry: his music, at the crossroads of the mumble rap of Young Thug, the trap of Atlanta and the chopped & screwed of Dj Screw did not seem likely to please the majors, labels and French distributors.

But years of work and experimentation have made Lala &ce’s music evolve into a complete, more accessible and more colorful work: by exploring soaring and catchy aspects, she has managed to keep her strong identity while offering accessible music. Since then, Lala &ce has become one of the major heads of French rap while establishing herself as a female figure with an unprecedented proposal. But she’s not the only one.

In autumn 2021, the series produced by Canal + called Queens: for the love of rap presented 5 female talents of French rap, including Chilla and Juiice in the cast. Active since 2016 and 2018, they too have managed to rise as representatives of women’s rap in France and make an impression with their first respective albums, Mun in 2019 for Chilla and Jeune CEO in 2020 for Juiice. Since then, each in their own distinct worlds, they have been able to impose their artistic vision while carving out a privileged place for themselves in this sector where women are rare.

So if these artists have succeeded in becoming figureheads of female rap, they are now established talents, known and recognized on the French rap scene. But they are not the only ones: many other artists push the boundaries of French rap with each new piece with their unique musical proposals.

The DIVA team

When she launched her DIVA platform in 2020, journalist, activist and poet Lola Levent had a clear objective: to denounce inequalities, discrimination and sexist and sexual violence in the world of music. Supported by many actresses and actors in the industry, the platform has become over the months as a reference in the feminist struggle by anchoring itself in the #musictoo movement, aimed at denouncing sexist practices in the music industry. .

But today, DIVA keeps its commitments while evolving into a management and support structure for exclusively female artists like Joanna, Lazuli and Angie, and highlights talents with impressive potential.

Halfway between Brazilian baile sounds, Latin trap and dembow, a genre affiliated with reggaeton, Lazuli has established herself with her first EP “Zero” as an avant-garde. With her calm voice, she draws South American inspirations from her Chilean origins and makes her way between the tortuous basses of Izen, executive producer of this first project. The result is striking: Lazuli delights rap fans as much as she gets the crowds dancing, all with disconcerting simplicity. And the sequel promises to be all the more explosive: the artist has announced the release of his new EP “Cardio” in collaboration with producer King Doudou, behind the hits of J.Balvin or even the hit “Ohlala” by PNL , for March 11.

Another talent on the DIVA roster: Angie, originally from singing and melodies between R’n’B and soul, recently presented a trap-sounding single “OK” that exudes confidence. The piece is effective and we want more: let’s keep an eye on this future great lady.

The outsiders

A haunting voice, an autotune pushed to its maximum and intonations charged with emotions: one sings of her sorrows, the other shares her doubts and her growing ambitions. In the music of Babysolo33 and Zinée, if the form may resemble each other, their music is totally their own.

Originally active on soundcloud, the singer Babysolo has kept this underground identity with aerial sounds at the heart of her music: on prods halfway between trap, cloud and vaporous textures, she brings captivating distorted melodies, and approaches with a certain accuracy the emotions, human relations and feelings of love through his texts. In a recent song, Brushit tells the rough story of a woman confronted with her violent boyfriend on melodious piano chords, catchy drums and an aesthetic in the style of the 80s. The result is striking: Babysolo has a certain talent, and his recent releases, in particular his joint EP “Stress & Paillettes” with the beatmakers 3G & Bricksy, only confirm it.

Zinée, she is an artist of the 75th Session, this Parisian collective which has shaped the rap of the capital by counting among its ranks Nepal, Sheldon, Georgio or even M le Maudit. Sometimes applied to the cutting of instrumentals through hard-hitting rap verses, sometimes carried away by his emotions on great autotuned flights, Zinée’s music has something hypnotizing as it conveys emotions. With her latest project Colbalt, the artist has definitively proven to us that she has everything to become a pioneers of French rap as she redraws its contours with accuracy and precision.

Even if the trend seems to be improving slightly, it is certain that female rappers are still far too rare in the French scene, and that the place granted to them remains too small.. However, these artists seem essential to the good health of French rap: with their unique musical proposals, they strive to create new music at the crossroads of influences and bring a defined and completely captivating universe to this great nebula of French rap. So as long as women are still under-represented in the French scene, let’s continue to support the projects of these innovative artists who deserve at worst attention, at best success and undeniable success.

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