Today there’s no need to introduce Beat Assailant. Based in Paris for several years, the most American of French rappers has performed and collaborated with the cream of the crop of local rap and soul artist from Ben l’Oncle Soul to Oxmo Puccino. Over the course of his four albums, he’s left a permanent stamp on French groove with his crossbreed of rap, funk, soul and electro. Today he’s back with City Never Sleeps, a philosophical and classy urban manifesto.
City Never Sleeps establishes itself on the musical path of Adam Turner, here acting as both the narrator and main character of this urban epic that radiates pavement, speed, pressure and noise. Forever an urbanite, whether in Miami, Atlanta or Paris, he steps into the shoes of a young man faced with a choice: the path to easy money or to fightfor something more in line with his dreams. “I wanted to tell an urban tale, to evoke the pressure, loneliness among millions, the anonymity of the city and its noisy congestive personality,” explains the artist. And that he does. Over the course of this fast-paced journey, the city and its paradoxes fight over the leading man and his story, to the point of almost becoming the inspired tale’s main character.
After having previously called on a number of different producers, the rapper tightened the recording sessions around Nicolas Gueguen, his keyboardist and a fellow traveler on this journey from its very beginning. After a year of work and a great deal of strikes in all senses of the word, City Never Sleeps creates an atmosphere which sticks to its subject, carried by the exciting single ‘’Run’’ (composed and performed by the Beatmakers Montmartre). The consistent production of this urban mass gives the story a lively originality and a human side, from the modernist beats of ‘’All the Way’’ and the groove blend of ‘’Take It Slow’’ to the elusive melodies ‘’One Wish,’’ sustained by the voice of Ben l’Oncle Soul. Pierced by the skilful scratches of Mr. Viktor (DMC world champion 2013), City Never Sleeps presents a rich and creative story within a story of modern urbanity. A coherent entity of music, sound and meaning that is given profound depth by the rapper’s succinct, flexible flow and his narrative, poetic writing. What if the city were really alive?