Francophone rapper and hip hop artist MC Solaar was born with the more prosaic name Claude M’Barali on March 5, 1969 in Senegal. When he was six, his family moved to the outskirts of Paris. A stint in Egypt at age 12 introduced him to North African rap. His family stressed the importance of education alongside his music career. Solaar majored in languages and philosophy in his graduate and post-graduate studies. He released his first album, Qui Sème le Vent Récolte le Tempo, in 1990 and his most recent three album set, Magnum 567, in 2011, for a total of nine releases. He’s had unusual success for a francophone rapper in the U.S. as well. He won a Victoire de la Musique (French Grammy) for Best Male Artist in 1995 and one for his album Chapitre 7 in 2008. My students always love his 2001 hit “La Belle et le Bad Boy.” Just try to not sing along to the chorus. It’s infectious.
Today’s expression, qui sème le vent récolte la tempête (key sem luh vehn raykolt lah tompet) means “he who sows the wind reaps the storm.” The expression is almost the same in English, except we substitute “whirlwind” for “storm” for euphony. This is the expression MC Solaar riffed on in his first album. He changed the expression to “he who sows the wind reaps the beat.” It’s a much happier image than imprecations of storms and doom!