Something really fresh is bubbling up from the banks of the Garonne River in the southwest of France. It’s a pair of brothers who are taking the French hip hop scene by the scruff of the neck. Born Florian and Oli Ordonez the Toulouse natives boast a rich cultural heritage that unites three continents; they are of Algerian and Argentine ancestry. Bigflo & Oli’s introduction into music was not on the mic but on the trumpet and drums at their hometown’s music conservatory. But it wasn’t long before the partners in rhyme were slaying at open mic events.
Their big break came when they dropped the video for ‘Monsieur tout le monde’ in March 2014. The main character in the gripping tale Bigflo and Oli were spinning was renowned TV personality Kyan Khojandi, which could have accounted to some extent for the clip going viral days after its release. But the sobering tale of a good dad gone mad is reason enough to become engrossed in the video, and share it. And this reciting of heart-wrenching anecdotes using their inventive and power-packed flow is what has made the Toulouse brothers household names in such a short span of time. Without waiting for the dust to settle they released their first recording, ‘Le Trac’. And they wasted no time hitting the road to promote the EP.
Such was the attention Bigflo & Oli garnered that streaming service Spotify recruited the duo to spit on the Live from Paris edition of the 2014 Spotify Sessions in September. Come May 2015 the siblings put out their first album, ‘La cour des grands’ which at face value sounds like it would be an echo of Sexion d’Assaut’s ‘L’École des points vitaux’. A notion the single ‘Le cordon’ proves to some extent. This song about a conversation between a mother and her aborted child bears a not-too-faint resemblance to ‘Tel père, tel fils’ from the Paris collective’s 2010 album.
Which is not to take away from the poignant exchange between Bigflo and Oli who play despondent mother and unborn child in this heart-tugging dialogue. And if your understanding of French won’t allow you to decipher their words, the imaginative video will help you connect the dots. The beat will be familiar, though, having been, like for virtually all the songs on La cour des grands, crafted in Brooklyn.
If I were you I’d cop the album, and take French classes.
Miami Based, Internationally Known