“On the brightest nights I have the darkest thoughts / My love songs are inspired by my bank balance / It's not up to you that I destroy my earthly life, it's not up to the others that I smoke and drink”.
Welcome to the dark world of rapper Sanguee and producer MoMo Spazz. Of Moroccan and Algerian-Egyptian origin, together they form Triplego, a duo from the suburb of Montreuil north of Paris, whose unique symbiosis of cloud rap and electronic music is unrivalled in the French rap scene.
On their 2014 album “Eau calme” (“Calm Water”), a gentle voice floats over beguiling sounds, ideal for relaxing and getting stoned. This new style of music was completely different to the extremely popular and aggressive genre of trap music in France at the time, with superstars such as Kaaris.
Back then, Triplego did not immediately catch on with the public. Only with time did a wide audience discover and come to love cloud rap from the banlieue: the floating, dark aesthetics with an autotune voice that typically speaks of melancholy and loneliness.
“Moroccanised, Africanised, they don't want to see us in the Elysée Palace; yet they have colonised us, ghettoised our mentality, bullied our young hearts.”
Since then, Triplego have not let go of their dreamy instrumental music, which mixes elements of electro, R&B, reggaeton, 2-step and the Algerian popular music Raï. Sanguee raps about life on the streets, about money and broken relationships. Sometimes in French, sometimes in Darija, the Moroccan-Arabic dialect, he shares his most intimate dreams and fears with his listeners. In an interview with the music magazine “Yard”, the musicians explained: “We want to talk about our everyday lives, and at the same time the listeners should be able to escape their everyday lives.”
Exactly ten years after their debut “Overdose”, Triplego are presenting two new ways to escape the world in 2023 with the album “Gibraltar” and the EP "Quand tu partiras” (“When you leave”). “Gibraltar”, released in March was already heralded by the EPs “En attendant Gibraltar Part. 1./2.” (“Waiting for Gibraltar, Part 1./2.”).
It was eagerly awaited and delivered on its promise. Sanguee took a stand with the second track, “Bla bla”: “Moroccanised, Africanised, they don't want to see us in the Elysée Palace; yet they have colonised us, ghettoised our mentality, bullied our young hearts.”
The hit of the album was undoubtedly “Bombarder”, recorded with the Austrian rapper RAF Camora and based on “Gypsy Woman” by Crystal Waters, a house music classic of the nineties. French rapper Kekra also makes a guest appearance to hypnotising sounds from the Maghreb. For their song “Droga”, Triplego have worked with the Moroccan rapper Tagne.
Finally, Egyptian singer Lella Fadda lends her voice to the track “Twareg Latino”. In this way, Triplego has a musical identity that is equally at home on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, in the French working-class neighbourhoods of Montreuil and in the Maghreb.
“Deep and subtle, elegiac and harmonious, MoMo Spazz's sound productions accompany every single one of Sanguee's feelings.”
Barely three months later, the highly productive duo released the eight-track EP “Quand tu partiras” - a psychological rumination by Sanguee that tells of a break-up. A female voice introduces the first song: “I still think about you a lot. Do you think about me?” In response, we explore the contradictions and self-doubt of the rapper, who vacillates between love, longing and hate.
Deep and subtle, elegiac and harmonious, MoMo Spazz's sound productions accompany every single one of Sanguee's feelings. In the second track, “Maghrebiya”, Triplego venture into a classic of Algerian folk and pop music Raï and sample “Didi” by Khaled, the king of Raï. However, the closer the end of the EP gets, the gloomier and more oppressive it becomes: “Come here, babe, I'm toxic; I better retreat; love is beyond my vocabulary,” raps Sanguee.
Triplego are committed to exploring the heritage of hip-hop and North African folk music, but, at the same time, are constantly evolving. Even if it means being ahead of their time and not landing viral hits. No category or genre is big enough for them. Triplego is driven by the forces of creativity, freedom and their sheer joy of experimentation.
Translated from French by Ina Böhme, and to English by Jess Smee