the love story behind the hit “Caroline”

MC Solaar, author, composer and performer is an important rapper and pioneer: he was one of the first artists to popularize rap in France in the early 90s. With his pen, his voice, his pace and his smile , the time seems not. to have any hold on him. He spent this week at franceinfo and talked about his more than 30-year career.

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Since his first album released in 1991, He who sows the wind reaps the temposold more than 5 million copies and was awarded five Victoires de la Musique until his eighth album Geopoetics (2017) marking his return after a ten-year absence, MC Solaar found his audience, now intergenerational, always responding. MC Solaar, finally, at work because he is preparing a new album whose release is scheduled for 2022 or 2023 and to keep us waiting, he performs, this summer and this fall, with The big band project in festivals. .

franceinfo: According to a study carried out in 2014 by an American developer who began to analyze the texts of French-speaking rappers, you came out on top of the rappers with the most vocabulary. It must be said that you are a supposed text obsessive, a lover of words, also a lover of poetry

MC Solar: If I’m in this ranking, it’s definitely because I’ve made many, many albums! Yes, fun!

You can easily become an icon. How do you experience this moment when the light turns on you?

I have seen many things, visited many countries. completion Get out of here, we went to Senegal, Mali, Benin and then to some African countries. It’s very nice. We told ourselves that we are not only in our “9-4” as we think, the world is wide. I did not realize, in fact, that I was known. Around 1994, early 1995, we were still the same.

From the beginning, you were very clear: no bad words, no insults, just a message of peace, a bit like a wise old man.

Yes, thanks to the teachers I got. Rap is easily caricatured. With a small trip to the Paris 8 University of Saint-Denis where a professor of Ethnology thought we had style, we understood how not to fall into traps and that we also have the right to show the another image for “other people”. I said to myself: ok, so we don’t have to be the strongest and all. It gives meaning to what we learn in school.

Get out of here, this is the story of a man who is kicked out wherever he goes. This title speaks to the lives of many people. Is that also the strength of MC Solaar, to talk about everyday life, go and immerse yourself in the writing of a common man?

I tried to remove the “I” everywhere. That’s why I camp characters. It also allows me to relate to experiences I have never had.

Yes, I like it. I was able to read thanks to the school with the poem of “I” and then others. When you get into a character, you can say a lot of things.

Without “I”, suddenly, it becomes “game”. I have the impression that you always have to impose things on yourself in writing. What is interesting, moreover, is that from the beginning, you create a space of freedom. Is this what you are looking for?

Yes, the famous poetic license and then the “game” because when I visited the library of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, I read things on literary games. Then, at school, we were told about Georges Perec. When you are facing a leaf, you say to yourself: “What constraints should I impose on myself in order to write? And constraints are unique, because you find a personality thanks to constraints. When we talk Carolina, we try to tell a story, but with colors and maps. Automatically, it becomes something you cannot write if you have not put restraint on yourself.

And then to bring the colors because there is, in fact, a cinematographic writing.

Honestly, I think I took that for not talking about myself. This is a technique to fight against “I”.

Or is it a technique to protect you too?

Yes, of course, but only a little about me. Although I say: from the height of my meter of 78, it’s not true, I’m shorter, it’s 77.

Shortly after the release of Get out of here born Carolina. This title tells of a disappointment in love with a girl called Caroline. You always say it was born in your imagination and yet we ask ourselves the question. In retrospect, is this true or false? Isn’t that a secret love?

Probably, but her name is not Caroline! It’s the restraint that elevates the matter to a poetic level, but really, it’s the same pattern as all the songs. We are fine, there is a separation and the end of the song. Except that there, with all the restraints given to us by Georges Perec and others, from the beginning, the egg whites became floating islands and we flew.

This title will be ranked for 22 weeks in the Top 50. This is a huge success. Is it the most iconic song?

Definitely. This one, people love it, actually, and so do I. In fact, for a long time I did not put a real control on myself and therefore, every time there was a small piece of paper, I added four lines.

We didn’t see the success of “Caroline” at that time, because there were no rap concerts. We will play at Maisons de la Jeunesse.

Finally, you never get old because your titles never get old!

Mind you, there is also the musical aspect of things. Hubert Blanc-Francard decided that, for this, we call people to play the violin because he deserves it. If it were me, I’d do it with a beatbox and it’s anecdotal.

MC Solaar is currently on tour, it is July 29: Festival Grandes Marées in Jullouville, August 12 in the Festival Fête du Bruit dans Landerneau in Landerneau, September 11: Festival Foire en Scène de Châlons-en-Champagne or the 25 and October 26 in Philharmonie de Paris.

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