Unless you have completely lost your 4 or 5g connection in the last few weeks, Nouvelle Ecole, the French version of Rhythm + Flow offered by Netflix since June 9, is not to be missed. Fresh la Peufra, Ben PLG, BB Jacques, Pirate 182 animated the various episodes, while Sch, Shay and Niska provided promotion on almost all rap media† Due to the success of the program the US platform decided to pay its taxes in France (ok, it was easy) to launch the second season cast†
Which jury determines the winner of the 100 potatoes? Which candidates? What’s new? So many questions that will not find answers today, but will not prevent us from making worthless assumptions.
Do we need to confirm Niska, Shay and Sch?
The star trio was both the strength and the weakness of this first season: the names and media aura of the three artists made the Netflix program a true event. The promotion was in full swing, the rap media was necessarily very happy to host an interview with the trio, and the streams of each saw a nice increase over the show’s airing period. On the other hand, the judges’ lack of spunk was one of the main criticisms of the show. The spectators would have liked more informed criticism, real advice and a slightly more sophisticated role than that of simple commentators of the events.
Therefore, in the event that the Shay-Sch-Niska team is confirmed, we expect a little more from them. Jurying in these kinds of programs is not easy, you have to find the right balance between the goodwill to show yourself in front of young candidates and the necessary candor when the performances are not of the standard. By leaning too much in one direction, we risk reaching consensus and letting everything pass; or, on the contrary, to appear cruel or presumptuous.
Who should replace Shay, Sch and Niska?
niska: We are looking for a rapper from Ile de France, with at least 6-7 years of career under his belt, who is still considered a current headliner. The Paris region offers many possibilities. For example, we would like to see Kaaris on screen: he is always a very good interview client, so he could bring a lot to the program with his interventions. He had his ups and downs, worked quite a few years before exploding, his experience in rap is complete. To top it off, he has an excellent retort and never hesitates to cut off his interlocutors with a smile, so he would be perfect for inviting an underperforming candidate to stick his fingers.
sh: Same as Niska, but in the 13: we’re looking for a rapper with at least 6-7 years of career under the hood, who is still considered a current headliner. It’s hard to imagine Jul in such a program, he who tends to run away from the media, and who isn’t a big talker. We might think of Alonzo, who has a long experience to bring forward, and who has even been able to reinvent himself, or even Soso Maness. The latter’s candor has already scratched a few rappers in interviews, he’d have no qualms about kindly sending a rapper back to do his scales. His naturalness and his sympathetic capital would be a great added value for the program, and artistically he knows almost everything: pure and hard rap, introspection, hits, electro titles, etc.
shay: This is a more complicated case. Belgium has no shortage of rappers who can do it, but an all-male jury would be problematic. The Brussels girl has been by far the most published rapper for years and from this point of view it is difficult to find a replacement for her. On an artistic level, many names were largely able to integrate the jury: Le Juiice, Lala &ce, Kanis, Davinhor. We’d agree to sacrifice a bit of Shay’s media aura and maybe even get out of the Paris-Marseille-Brussels triangle… but would Netflix agree to bet on someone else?
And if we selected the jury on other criteria?
It’s hard to blame Netflix for its choice to bet on headliners to attract as many viewers as possible. Now that the formula is in place, with a very popular first season, we could consider another jury, possibly more relevant.
Akhenaton, MC Solaar, Passi, Sinik, Dany Dan… Rappers with 20 or 30 years of career could teach the young artists of New School a lot. Above all, these elders would bring a lot during the sequences in which the show strives to bring certain hip-hop disciplines up to date: Sinik would be perfect to coach his students during battle, Akhenaten would have very judicious advice for writing verses, perfect Dan Dan on the kur, etc. Obviously these are less bankable names these days than in their glory days, but the gains in quality and relevance would be maximum.
Industry journalists and decision-makers
Just as Philippe Maneuver was an important member of the New Star jury in the 2000s, names like Mehdi Maizi, Narjes Bahhar or Fif2BooskaP could find a place in New School’s. Used to discovering artists, reviewing albums, analyzing artistic trends, they could potentially be just as relevant as a real rapper to decide between the candidates. The same goes for record industry personalities: Jean-Pierre Seck, Pauline Duarte, Laurent Bouneau, etc.
Random boys and girls plucked from the streetse
To comment on “heavy”, “blah” or “you’re not hungry enough”, you don’t have to look too far.
This is one of the most discussed questions during this first season: the general level of the candidates. A few managed to stand out and put on a good show until the end. Others suffered from the format: some, far from being bad at the titles they published on the platforms, lost their resources in the freestyle, combat or other events.
It’s best not to eliminate too early
This is one of the big disappointments of the first episode: the elimination of Ben PLG, a dude who has been working hard for several years, rapped in packed stadiums as support act for NTM, and has gained enough experience to become a stage coach. When we see that other candidates, with less bumpy paths and less visible qualities, have passed this first round, we wonder what the jury’s selection criteria are.
Expand the selection to other cities
Paris-Marseille-Brussels are clearly strong axes that weigh on the dynamism of French rap – even if it was necessary from a geographical point of view to force a little to carry out the casting, the name Paris which all the departments of Ile de France, and the Belgian cast integrating residents of Northern France. We especially regret that the provincial towns, as well as the overseas islands, have been excluded from the selection. Nothing prevents a rapper from Caen, Lyon, Pointe-à-Pitre or Bastia from registering for the casting of Paris or Marseille, but the principle of ‘representing your city’ itself does not really help.
Put a little madness in the casting
The cast of candidates for this first season was quite eclectic and quite well represented the diversity of profiles of the new generation of rappers and rappers. We regret, however, that some of the candidates didn’t let go: whether it was because of the commitment, the setting of the production or simply the personality of the candidates, no one really showed insanity – except perhaps Elyon and his bathrobe. An event like the battle would have been the perfect moment to impress the judges and spectators, but everyone remained very wise. Drismer and PCN have registered in the cast of season 2 and could bring this little grain of madness into the show as the notion of entertainment is at the heart of their work.
More immersion in artist training
Writing sessions, media training, visual work, advice from top liners, working with scenic coaches… When a young artist starts his career, he sometimes has to go through this type of training to master all aspects of his job. It would be interesting to follow the candidates in this kind of order and learn with them how to rhythm a verse, how to occupy the space on the stage, how to find a melody, etc. After all, it is a program called Nouvelle École: we expect teachers on the one hand and students on the other!