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."

'I want to open doors for people that speak French and want to rap in English'

Montreal rapper Lou Phelps is working on his debut album. (CBC Arts)

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:

Pique: Lou Phelps

4 years ago
Lou Phelps is working on a debut album after collaborating with his brother Kaytranada on their project Celestics. 2:27

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."

Lou Phelps flexes his track Want To in the video. (CBC Arts)

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. 

“Don’t let people have power over you because that’s when you’re unhappy,” says Phelps in the video. (CBC Arts)

This film was made by PIQUE, who are sharing their visions of Montreal artists through CBC Arts.


PIQUE is a digital production studio and creative agency based out of Toronto. In addition to producing original content andspecial events for creatives and artists, PIQUE also creates branded content and develop innovative digital and social media strategies for clients across Canada.


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