Fusing the Caribbean influences of his Guadalupean heritage with the streetwise sensibilities of his upbringing in Paris’ eastern projects, Timal contrasts an affinity for beach-bred riddims with a ferocious hardcore rap style. Taking his name from an affectionate term for a boy in Guadeloupean Creole, the MC born Ruben Louis in 1997 firmly implanted himself in his native France’s rap consciousness with a string of eruptive freestyles posted online between 2016 and 2017. His much-anticipated major-label debut, Trop chaud, arrived in 2018, led by menacing single “Arrivant'' and rap français/dancehall emulsion “Cartel,” introducing tropical heat to a diverse and increasingly melodic hip-hop scene. Meanwhile, Timal’s gruff and insistent Auto-Tuned delivery conveyed the frustration of wanting to leave behind a world of poverty and pain when low-income communal living is all you know. With a delivery that split the difference between melancholic and boisterous, Timal expanded on the theme with 2020’s Caliente, forging a distinctly bittersweet harmony by pitting his most combative verses (“La 13”) against downcast tales of coming of age in segregated France (“Le temps passe”). Alongside Afropop-infusing luminaries Niska and Ninho, Timal has stomped into a leading role amid a new generation of culture-swirling artists redefining the modern French rapper.