Why Lou Phelps, a Francophone MC from Montreal, raps in English on his debut album
'I want to open doors for people that speak French and want to rap in English'
Montreal-based rapper, DJ and producer Lou Phelps has been climbing his way to the top of Canada's rap scene. In this video, Phelps — also KAYTRANADA's brother, just FYI — shows off his skills and explains why he's rapping in English, finessing his French accent and working on improving his style and flow.
Watch the video:
French is Phelps's first language, but he began rapping in English to build an audience and some international recognition. The rapper thinks that the English language may have greater reach in the rap world. But when he started releasing his English verses, "the blogs and forums didn't really mess with my music," he explains. He thinks it's because listeners were affected by his French-Canadian accent when he would rap in English. "I think it threw them off."
Now, having an accent is less of a concern for the artist. "It isn't about the accent anymore," says Phelps. "Just say how you feel, say what you feel with the best words possible."
That kind of directness is key to the message that Phelps wants to send to his audience. "Don't let people have power over you because that's when you're unhappy. It's more like be free, be yourself."
Listen to "Come Inside" by Lou Phelps, featuring Jazz Cartier — it's out now.
This film was made by PIQUE, who are sharing their visions of Montreal artists through CBC Arts.