Back in April, I interviewed rap artist Nikkfurie (aka Ahmed Mazouz) of the French hip-hop/electro group La Caution. While many Americans might not be familiar with the group’s name, millions have heard the instrumental version of La Caution’s song “Thé à la Menthe” or “Mint Tea” when it was featured in the movie Ocean’s 12. (Think back to the scene with Vincent Cassel’s laser dance.)
In addition to composing the music for this hit movie, Nikkfurie was also the first hip-hop artist to receive a Jean Luc Lagardère Foundation grant — an extremely prestigious and selective grant that awards between €20,000 and €50,000 to young people under 30 working in culture/media-related fields. When I asked him about the grant (which he used towards the production of La Caution’s upcoming album) he said that he thought it was really “cool” that a rap artist was chosen for the musician category and that it was a sign that “institutions are looking at the real world and know that society is changing.” He also added with a smile that he was happy to be in “in the right place at the right time” when he was chosen as one of the 2005 winners.
Check out a portion of our interview (in English!) above to learn more about La Caution, their eclectic musical influences, and why Nikkfurie believes that hip-hop’s “do-it-yourself” aspect was a revolution for kids like him who didn’t have the money for expensive music or art lessons. You can also enjoy La Caution’s Moroccan-inspired video for “Thé à la Menthe” below:
La Caution – Thé à la Menthe
Within the last two months, my project has really started to pick up and I’ve met a lot of cool people in the French hip-hop community including: rap artists Freeman (formerly of the group IAM), Vicelow from Saïan Supa Crew, AP du 113, Nikkfurie from La Caution, Kery James, Raiss & Scorpion and Black Barbie, among others. I’ve also hung out with the legendary DJ Dee Nasty and former TV show host Sidney— both accredited as being two of the first to establish hip-hop culture in France over 25 years ago. With a bunch of interviews already filmed and more on the way, I’m going to try and share as many as possible through the blog, so keep checking back for more posts.