The impetus for FouKi’s Grignotines was a simple comedy bit. Last year, at Montreal's ADISQ Gala, host Louis-José Houde jokingly read off FouKi’s backstage rider to the award ceremony's attendees (and plenty of others watching on TV): A fruit plate. Some snacks (or grignotines, en français). Not the most hifalutin demands for a rising hip-hop star, Houde commented. “He certainly inspired me,” FouKi tells Apple Music. “All this is thanks to him.” Not only did the joke get a huge laugh, but it gained the Montreal rapper (born Léo Fougères) some newfound attention. “I couldn’t have been given a better award than that [monologue]. The track ‘Grignotines’ is like a tribute. We’re passing the puck back and forth.” Just a few months after the release of FouKi's and Koriass’ collaborative LP Génies en herbe (translation: budding geniuses), Grignotines is a snack pack of varying flavors, all produced with longtime ally QuietMike. Rap, reggae, folk, and pop all commingle, as do other collaborators, including Pops (Clément Langlois-Légaré) and Poolboy (Adel Kazi) from the band Clay and Friends. Here FouKi tells us about what’s on the platter.
Grignotines “This track’s in two parts. There’s like a beat switch in the middle. It’s not something you often see, changing the tune within the same song. It’s sort of a surprise song, like there are five instead of four [tracks on the EP]. The first section we named the ‘turtle’ part. It’s built around a beat I’d made, which QuietMike then pimped up, but we’d put it aside. So I finished the piece, but on a different beat. In the other segment, we integrated some words from Louis-José.”
Bijou “We did this one at Pops and Poolboy’s place. Clément had done the sample—he played a couple of things and we really clicked on this one. I basically created half the track that same day, and later went back to it to write my other verse. It was done in the studio between the first and second wave [of the COVID-19 pandemic]. It was fun! We did a session like we used to do in the good old days. At the beginning of the song, it’s like a joke. We were a bit stoned, and I was singing and I thought, this actually seems to work, ‘Me gustan les grignotines, me gustas tu.’ It’s really a little hats-off to Manu Chao. It’s Manu FouKi music, in fact, or Manu ZayZay. And at the end, with the electric guitar, it turns into a sort of rock anthem, like a hockey song played at the Bell Centre.”
Oui toi “This one’s to do with the current situation [the COVID-19 pandemic]. It’s one of the two songs I did this summer. It’s got more relevance, you could say. It’s in response to everything that’s been going on in 2020.”
Brioches à la cannelle “It’s a song I did in the summer of 2019. I’d only written the refrain and the first verse, and I came across it again this year. At first it was just guitar and vocals, but I wanted to make it more like an anthem—more awesome, more complete. In the end, we recorded loads of stuff on this track—real instruments—and I find it’s got a really good vibe, even though it’s nothing like rap! It’s a great song.”