For more than 30 years, the pioneering French hip-hop collective IAM has made politically charged, globally minded music. The group has worked with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, and Beyoncé.
• The collective formed in the port city of Marseille in 1988. With 1991’s De la Planete Mars, IAM became the country’s first hip-hop group to release an album.
• The lineup included Philippe “Akhenaton” Fragione, Geoffroy “Shurik’n” Mussard, Éric “Khéops” Mazel, Pascal “Imhotep” Perez, François “Kephren” Mendy, and Malek “Freeman” Brahimi.
• Their 1993 single “Je Danse le Mia,” which samples George Benson’s hit “Give Me the Night,” reached No. 1 on the French charts. Future Oscar winner Michel Gondry directed the music video.
• IAM’s 1997’s single “Petit Frere” samples the Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Wu producer RZA later recruited IAM for the 2003 compilation The World According to RZA.
• As with Wu-Tang, IAM juggled group projects with frequent solo releases, especially by Akhenaton and Freeman.
• For 2003’s Revoir un printemps, IAM recruited Beyoncé for “Bienvenue” and Redman and Method Man for “Noble Art.” The album topped the charts in France and Belgium.
• In the early 2010s, IAM signed with a division of legendary label Def Jam. The 2013 album Arts Martiens topped the French charts.