Supreme NTM – ‘Tout N’est Pas Si Facile’
taken from Paris Sous Les Bombes (Epic, 1995)
Ethel Beatty – ‘It’s Your Love’
taken from The Uno Melodic Story (Charly Schallplatten GmbH, 1998)
I’ve been meaning to put something together about this particular song for a long time now, but it’s Sach O who’s acted as catalyst as he has just dropped an excellent overview of Supreme NTM’s third studio album over at The Passion. Paris Sous Les Bombes is in fact an album that I covered during my blogging infancy and it endures as one of my favourite releases from the French hip hop canon. Get familiar if you’re not already: this album bangs.
The reason I’ve held off for such a long time on covering this particular song is due to my relatively fleeting knowledge of the sample sources used here, as the production by DJ Clyde and DJ Max is notably dense and multi-layered on ‘Tout N’est Pas Si Facile’. As such, I’m unable to offer up quite the level of nerdy detail that I tend towards when putting tracks under the proverbial microscope, but the strength of this cut and the beauty of the key sample source are enough for me to temporarily eschew my anal tendencies. So deal with it.
Sample fodder comes in the shape of Ethel Beatty’s ‘It’s Your Love’, a dazzling piece of Roy Ayer’s production work that is now highly sought after by folk who still dig in crates of the non-virtual variety. Released in 1981 on Ayer’s own Uno Melodic imprint, ‘It’s Your Love’ was the flip to the more boogie-oriented ‘I Know You Care’, but the luscious, jazzy groove of ‘It’s Your Love’ is the clear winner on this 12” and an essential piece of early ’80s classic groove. It’s the first couple of bars that are of note in relation to the NTM track, a straight loop jack with some EQing to really bring out the strings and bass and create the fittingly hazy vibe for Kool Shen and Joey Starr to reminisce on days gone past when “le hip hop n’a jamais eu besoin de gun”.
As previously stated there’s actually quite a lot more to ‘Tout N’est Pas Si Facile’ than just the Beatty loop, with irritatingly familiar sax running throughout the song as well as extra percussive flourishes and scratches during the chorus that fill the beat out; sometimes even the most fervent digital digger can come up empty handed. However, regardless of my own shortcomings here, this song – and indeed Paris Sous Les Bombes in more general terms – is a clear indication of the sophistication of French hip hop music from the period and proof positive that the language barrier needn’t be a complete sticking point in appreciating rap from non-English speaking lands. Vous pigez?