New York, NY – Hosting your listening party at Quad Studios in New York City is a bold move…especially if you know your Hip Hop history.
For what it’s worth, Algerian-by-way-of-France rapper Rilès does know his Hip Hop history, and he seems humbled — cowed, even — to be in such an energetically-charged place to host the listening party for his upcoming debut album on Republic Records, a division of Universal Records.
“This is amazing,” he tells HipHopDX exclusively. “Never did I think I would be here.”
By “here,” of course, he means not just in New York City — not just in Quad Studios — but having a rap career that he used to only dream about when he was growing up in Rouen, a small city that sits on the River Seine in the north of France. Born Rilès Kacimi, the budding Hip Hop star is quick to point out that, despite the American stereotype of France being nothing but baguettes, fine cinema, the Eiffel Tower, and strolling along the Champs-Elysees to shop at the haute couture shops, the struggle is just as real in France as it is in the United States.
“Poverty is everywhere,” he said. “Racism, everywhere. Struggle, everywhere. No country is immune to it. Not even France. And I, too, had to struggle. And that’s what I explore in my music.”
“His music,” of course, has a distinctly European flavor (which is to be expected, especially if authenticity is the goal), but one that’s become wildly popular in a short period of time. He gained notoriety in his home country when he composed, mixed and mastered 1 song per week for a year with no songs already pre-made. The challenge garnered huge exposure for him and he independently racked up over 250 million views on his YouTube channel (which, as of this writing, sits pretty with 1.2 million subscribers). He went on to sell out his first tour with more than 30 shows throughout Europe and North Africa, at venues with 10,000 + capacities.
Despite his obvious creativity, talent, and yes, success — including directing and editing all of his visuals — Stateside success eluded him. But he hopes that this will change with his upcoming tour of the United States, and his soon-to-be-released debut album on Republic Records, a division of Universal Records.
“For many artists in Europe, there’s nothing they want more than to be American superstars,” he said. “I hope to be amongst them.”