The second 2015 album from French hip-hop sensations PNL, Le monde Chico, set the stage for the diamond-selling takeover of the following year's Dans la légende. A massive 70-minute statement, this austere but gorgeous album details the lives of real-life brothers Ademo and N.O.S. hustling in the hardscrabble banlieues (suburbs) of Corbeil-Essonnes. The track "Plus Tony que Sosa" lays out their outlook: Yes, like Scarface's Tony Montana and Alejandro Sosa, they sell drugs to stay afloat, but they don't get to enjoy the luxurious spoils. Instead, Le monde Chico is full of misery, anger, paranoia, and a begrudging attitude to the trade that's in sharp contrast to the boasts of most American rap. As put by Ademo in opening track "Le monde ou rien," the elevator to heaven is broken so they hustle in the stairway.
Following the harder-edged 12-track project Que la famille (which appeared earlier in the year), Le monde Chico mixes the muted, melancholy sing-rap energy of Drake and The Weeknd with the depressed Auto-Tune-enhanced cries of Future and Young Thug. With an outlook covered in shadows of the past and the clouds of the present, they compare their surroundings to The Jungle Book and the zoo. The beats don't yet have the lush, echoing cloud-rap feel of Dans la légende, instead pulsing with foggy R&B, Atlanta trap, and—on songs like "Laisse" and "Loin des hommes"—a stark minimalism. Seeds for a French rap revolution were planted here.
Le monde ou rien
Porte de Mesrine
Dans ta rue
Loin des hommes
Rebenga (feat. RKM)
Plus Tony que Sosa
Que la mif (feat. S-Pion, Pti Moha, F430 & Ilinas)