CONTRADICTIONS

Franky Fade

CONTRADICTIONS

Montrealer Franky Fade first began showcasing his talents as a keyboardist for the jazz-influenced hip-hop group Original Gros Bonnet. But the rapper, singer, and songwriter born François Marceau ­would soon emerge as a man of words, an adept MC blessed with a deep, sensual voice. Whether he’s creating as part of a group or solo, as on his debut LP, CONTRADICTIONS, he always does so with an instinctive flair for musicality that nicely serves his polished lyrics, which glide seamlessly between English and French. “I wanted a relatively short project, something with punch, that would make people want to go back to it frequently to explore all the different layers,” he tells Apple Music. Although he worked with several collaborators on CONTRADICTIONS, including coproducer Sambé, it is nonetheless the culmination of a personal process: “My ambition is to do rich and complex music,” he says. “I listen to a lot of '70s soul and I’ve always been fascinated by that way of doing something that is seemingly simple and catchy, but that in fact draws on elaborate musical intricacies.” That rich sound is complemented by his insightful and sensitive words, which oscillate between bravado and fragility. “With O.G.B, there’s a certain gap between what I rap and what I’m really going through,” he says of his other project. “CONTRADICTIONS is a much more personal project: Every song had to capture an emotion I’d actually experienced.” Here the rapper guides us through the twists and turns of that journey, song by song.
“Métal” “For a long time, this one sat at the middle of the album, but with Sambé, we decided to put it at the beginning because it conveys that idea of contradiction that’s at the core of the project. Here, the contrast is mainly between the music and the lyrics. It talks about lethargy and a genuine inability to move forward, but the music, which is quite upbeat, makes you want to dance. In ‘Métal,’ I feel stuck due to all my contradictions because I haven’t yet accepted them. Writing helps me metabolize my emotions and reconcile conflicting feelings: I’m a guy who’s very reflective, analytical, to the point of becoming anxious; but at the same time, there’s a part of me that’s driven by instinct.”
“Rewind” “I wanted to break from that sense of despair you can feel in ‘Métal.’ This song exudes a self-confidence that borders on arrogance, and these two aspects of my personality clearly express the duality that’s at the heart of the album. As for choosing English, it just came naturally; I listen to a lot of American music, and it’s that language that led me to do hip-hop. For me, changing languages is like switching instruments: It allows me to express different colors and timbres.”
“Vertige” “It’s not only the first single, it’s also one of the first songs I wrote for this project. I speak about the romantic relationship that will become the common thread through the rest of the album. It’s a track where you can clearly see how my tendency to overthink triggers my anxiety, even in happy times. It talks about deadlock, about the fear of engaging in a relationship that I truly want but that scares me. In short, a genuine love song that takes me away from what I can do with O.G.B. The beat was created by DoomX from the group Planet Giza.”
“VVM” (feat. Maky Lavender & SLM) “I wanted to recreate the atmosphere of a night out at a club, and having the two other artists enhanced that festive dance spirit. I’d given carte blanche to Maky, a guy I’ve listened to and admired for a long time, and he surprised me with his verses in French, which show a completely different side of his personality. As for SLM, she’s a rapper with exceptional flow and extraordinary charisma. It was important to have a female voice to balance the energy, so that everyone feels as though they’re invited to the party.”
“Bon ami” “I see it as a response to ‘Vertige.’ It talks about the same person, but in this one, I’ve decided to surrender myself to the relationship. I didn’t want to wrack my brain: It’s a track that’s a bit more pop than the others, doubtless because I had help from Clément (aka Pops) and Adel (aka Poolboy) from Clay and Friends, who both have a really good ear for catchy choruses and well-executed pop. And I needed a true declaration of love to balance out the remaining songs, which are more depressing. I was a bit hesitant because I found it almost too commercial, but I’m happy I stepped out of my comfort zone.”
“Cellules” “The lyrics are less explicit, but it’s still about the same love story. It’s a return to that feeling of doubt in ‘Vertige.’ I sometimes had the impression I was playing a role in this relationship and it led me to the conclusion that, ultimately, the other person doesn’t know me. Again, I like the dialogue with the track just before it; it’s one of the most satisfying sequences on CONTRADICTIONS. ‘Cellules’ is one of my favorite songs on the album, mainly because of the beat Sambé created.”
“La perche” “Another example of two tracks that are connected, since it’s clearly a prelude to the one that comes next, ‘Murder My Ego.’ It addresses self-medicating by withdrawing from the world. I want to isolate myself, but here again, I’m confronted with my many contradictions. I reject the superficial side of fame, but when I say ‘still je veux ma richesse’ [‘I still want my riches’], I’m admitting that I nonetheless want success and the money that comes with it. It’s an issue that really bothers me, but I think you can achieve a certain level of success without selling your soul. Musically, it’s a track that enabled me to open up: I realized that I could rap, then sing immediately afterwards and add harmonies. I love those different textures within the same song.”
“Murder My Ego” “There’s no lack of confidence in this one: There’s a whole verse where I sing my praises, almost to the point of being arrogant. But the real message is the opposite. When the verse breaks off and I start singing ‘I need you,’ I’m saying it to the person I’ve been talking about in the other songs, but also to everyone who supports me: my family, my fans, my collaborators. It’s all very well wanting to be independent, but without all those people, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
“Vésuve” “Here, we’re getting ready to land. In a way, I go back to that idea of accepting giving yourself to the other person, which I addressed in ‘Bon ami,’ but I have an even more idealized version of love. I had this image in my head that really affected me: the one of the embracing couple at Pompeii, frozen for all eternity by the eruption of the volcano. It talks about the strength that love can give you, even in the face of death. I wanted to set to music that kind of sense of peace you can feel when you trust the other person so much that there’s no room for regrets.”
“FFreestyle” “The double F is simply an allusion to my initials. Despite the title, it’s not a real freestyle, but I do pour out everything that’s going through my head, the way you sometimes do when improvising. It’s a true epilogue, a synthesis of all the contradictions illustrated throughout the album. The phrase ‘Trouve-moi dans un party à côté des miens’ [‘Find me at a party, alongside my friends’] sums up my ambiguity well: Yes, I want to be part of the party and the crowd, but I also want to feel good with my gang. The melody is built around a barely recognizable sample from ‘Sans titre’ by Safia Nolin, who graciously gave it to me.”

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