L’Entourloop have released a long awaited long player, it comes as no surprise that it’s an absolute monster
It’s impossible not to view music through the lens of your own heritage. Enigmatic crew L’Entourloop throw all of that out the window, fusing two traditions – Hip Hop and Reggae – that haven’t always been associated with France and continental Europe. Viewed from the silo of the UK we rightly think about the connections the Caribbean diaspora have with this country with labels like Trojan, Lovers Rock and On-U Sound cementing bass music as a part of the firmament. The plain fact is, right now, soundsystem culture probably burns more brightly in the rest of Europe than it does here.
Artists that started in the UK routinely get a lot more love on the continent than in their native land, with huge events like Outlook & Rototum Sunsplash and many many more . Alongside that a raft of outstanding producers and labels have emerged – the likes of Manudigital and The Dynamics take classic reggae sounds and bring new perspectives and soundscapes. The L’Entourloop crew take that love of bass and merge it with the often overlooked french love of beats that bump – foundational artists IAM and MC Solaar produced outstanding tracks during the Golden Age Of Hip Hop and that fire has never really dimmed.
That brings us to the new L’Entourloop album which aptly translates as “The Clarity in the Confusion” – it draws together the themes of all of their previous albums and EPs as well as pushing things forward. The cast list for the record is without question the biggest yet, the popularity built in the last 7+ years has no doubt enabled them to draw in some huge names. This is illustrated right from the gun with Alborosie guesting on “Calling Dancers” adding a touch of modern reggae royalty to a bass infused head nodder. There is plenty more classic roots soused with hip hop – “Eternal Roses” utilises bona fide legend Ken Boothe and they team up with sonic comrade Kabaka Pyramid for “Rock Mi Nice”. Crucially, however, the musical references are far from one note….
Opening single “Florilège” builds on the sounds of the oustanding 2019 Golden Nuggets EP – jittery, rowdy and designed for maximum dancefloor pressure. There’s a broad sweep of influences scattered throughout the LP. Jungle godather and funkdub favourite General Levy is recruited for a tranche of drum and bass on “People Is Massive”. The very next track teams up LMK, Reverie and Lady Chann for “Scoville Anthem” – a gnarly bassed head nodding re-rub of “Original Nuttah” (in fact there’s so many good versions of that track it’ll be worth it’s own five of the best). The album reaches east to India on the superb Mumbai 808 – echoing 2021’s Puman remix (which we featured in this mix).
Elsewhere on the record they reach into all corners of MC culture – Grime dons Killa P, Flowdan and Big Red appear on “Saga”. On “Get Back” the production mirrors the laid back stylings of the always on point Chali 2Na. Spanish duo Las Ninyas del Corro amply demonstrate that rap music is strong and distinctive in Iberia on “Way to be Happy”. There are really too many collaborators and genres to mention them all – straight up Steppers on “Lift Up Your Head” and album closer “Downtown (Befour Steppa)”, there’s even a nod to trip hop on “Clin d’oeil”. All of the usual L’Entourloop cohorts are in place; N’Zeng, Troy Berkley et al – the record *almost* contains too much, but when it’s this good it’s really never enough.
As the French idiom goes A chaque age ses plaisirs – “at each each age it’s pleasures” – we will likely never know how, at this time of life, Sir James & King Johnny landed in the age of “Hip Hop In a Yardie Style” – but the pleasure is very much ours.
“La clarté dans la confusion” is released on 10.06.2022