We’re in this together, so let’s make something powerful with it

By Beverley Knight

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The rap scene in Paris is competitive. But that also makes the output quality and exhilarating. Rap music comes to the city from all over the world as part of its diverse makeup. Like the capital’s graffiti, backgrounds, references and styles blend to create something new. Rapper Spleenter thrives on it. “In Paris, rappers represent neighbourhoods, and I don’t feel like I represent any. I represent Beirut internationally; I’m an outsider. It’s like swimming among sharks; I must be one myself.”

Spleenter started rapping solo in Lebanon and didn’t know any French rappers there. “It was basically my microphone, bedroom and brother’s beats.” Once he arrived in Paris in 2019, motivation burned inside of him. Soon, he started going to every single rap event he laid eyes on. “I didn’t skip any and had the energy to get the whole experience and build connections. I wanted into a new scene filled with new opportunities.”

Rap and streetwear have a close link and mutually impact each other. “While rap and its codes inspire ideas and creative mechanics, clothes express a rapper’s personality and the art direction of their projects.” He believes rap and streetwear have their roots in the same place. They share the same state of mind, creative energy and mentality.

“When you dig hip-hop, you’re into all these things. You’re into raw expression, rap, clothes, dance, tagging, street photography…” Today, the influence of rap and its notoriety makes a mark on brands that don’t necessarily have an affinity with the hip-hop movement. “I see it as one big creative web, where each activity inspires another, and where projects mix endlessly.”

It’s fashion that helped move Spleenter’s career in the right direction. When Dams Arts was closing his tour of France with Citadium, he wanted to organise a rap event to end the project. He called on Spleenter. “Things move fast when you meet people you connect with personally and creatively.” Spleenter had the idea of doing an episode of Splünt, an Instagram freestyle concept, at Citadium, and Dams Arts was keen.

Another monumental thing happened to Spleenter in 2023. “I have a very vivid memory of this day.” He was working from home and got a notification from a rappers group. Raska, a famous French rap influencer, was letting artists spit their best bars live for his next YouTube video. “On fais rapper des gens dans la rue is part of a series where the goal is to uncover the best rapper in each city in France.

“I didn’t hesitate and went to the location as fast as I could.” There were at least 80 rappers, Raska, Sopico – another famous French rapper, and the whole camera crew. So here comes my turn to rap.” The squad were vibing to it. The standard was high, and they fed off each other’s skills. “I thought that was it. Thirty minutes later, I saw both judges getting out of a smoked black van car. They said they were going to award one rapper but decided to choose with the best two.”

Next, he was on the road to a studio with the production team for a recording session with Pprod. “It was a very magical moment when I created my track Jeune Phénicien.” He immediately shot the music video after recording. Winning is great. But Spleenter was more concerned with gaining people’s respect from the industry he greatly supports. “Special shoutout to Sopico, Raska and Pprod for creating that possibility.

In Music, the most meaningful message he wants to deliver is continue making and creating. Whatever you do, keep going. “Nobody can stop you when you trust in yourself because you’re the only one to see the light at the end of it.” He’s glad to maintain scorching determination and purpose. “I want my listeners to use this; I want my ambition to be contagious.” He feels the love of every person who champions him and wishes them nothing but goodness. “That’s the Spleenter vision. We’re in this together, so let’s make something powerful with it.”

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