Laylow and -

YouTube screenshot

  • Conceptual album with futuristic sounds, Laylow's album "Trinity" stunned the rap world in 2020

  • Like the Toulouse rapper, other artists, until then less identified, have stood out by offering unique universes.

“Welcome to the Trinity program.

Please enter your personal three-digit code to access your interface… Authentication in progress… Access authorized, initialization of the Trinity program ”.

Impossible to stay silent listening to the first track of Laylow's album.

From the first minutes, the Toulouse rapper plunges us into a parallel, dark and futuristic universe.

It is also difficult to get out of it.

Light years away from the mighty power of streaming and zapping,


grabs the listener from the first title to the last, until the program runs out.

Obviously, such sophistication in the construction of an album, and such artistic experimentation, it marks the spirits.

It is not for nothing that


was hailed by rap fans and critics upon its release in February 2020. At a time when this musical genre is criticized for having become too calibrated, smoothed out , dominated by the mainstream wave, Laylow's album is like a slap in the face.

It is not a case apart.

2020 saw the emergence of artists who deviate from the beaten track and open up other avenues.

Faces less identified until then have surfaced and stood out from the big headliners.

Sales successes

Laylow, Dinos, Freeze Corleone, Alpha Wann… One way or another, these rappers have all marked the last twelve months.

Through barred proposals, singular and hyper-referenced universes, inventive texts that impress or upset.

Biases that take the opposite view of the behemoths that dominate the sales and rankings of streaming platforms.

“Rap being so popular today, there are recipes and formulas.

Since 2016-2017, there have been a lot of albums that have been released, that have worked, and that are also alike, recognizes rap journalist Mehdi Maïzi.

We do a hit like this, we call this or that person to the chorus… It's the same with American rap where we find the same rappers featuring on all the albums.

Suddenly there is a whole part of the public which is not really any more excited by all that and wants other things.

And inevitably, Alpha, in a very rap kicker register or Laylow in a conceptual side, it clashes.

And it works.

Released in February 2020,


was certified gold.

On the side of Dinos,


 panicked the counters in December and earned him the best start of his career.

This is also the case of Alpha Wann with

don dada mixtape vol 1

at the end of the year.

Another rather edifying example, that of Freeze Corleone.

Released in September, his album


was one of the best starts of the year and was certified in less than a month gold record.

A sales success accompanied by a lively controversy over old texts by the rapper deemed anti-Semitic.

Different proposals

These successes are the fruit of long work, the culmination of many more confidential projects.

"These are people who have been there since the beginning of the decade, explains Mehdi Maïzi," and who gradually built their audience, got them used to their music, brought more and more people into their folds and 2020 was the realization of all of this.

It is in particular thanks to their solid fanbase which brings them a flawless support (during the release of albums for the purchase of physical discs for example), that these artists were able to compete with the headliners of rap. .

But it is above all by daring to explore other avenues.

"The novelty of 2020 is that there are rappers who have a different proposition from the dominant proposition," says Mehdi Maïzi.

From there to shake up mainstream rap?

“I don't think he's rushed, it's just that there are other scenes that exist and that become viable,” he adds.

New perspectives

This submerged part of the iceberg, still little present in the media and in the streaming rankings (this is no longer really the case of a Laylow or a Freeze Corleone), it is precisely the credo of the young media 1863. Launched in 2019 by info-com students in Besançon, its vocation is to highlight "raw nuggets in full expansion or ready to explode".

"We try to highlight the artists of tomorrow and a music different from what there may be in the big mainstream media," says co-founder Noé Grieneisen.

Recently, their



 highlighted artists such as La Fève, Jäde, Slimka and Lala & ce, rising stars of rap.

“We are going to highlight people we find talented and who do not have enough visibility.

We provide a relay and support, ”explains Noé Grieneisen.

The idea is of course not to denigrate a certain mainstream scene, where the productions remain of quality, but rather to propose alternative voices.

"I just think it's good to have another proposal to complete and it's not necessarily one for the other, or to the detriment of," he adds.

On the contrary, more and more collaborations are operating between artists who are already well established and others who were less identified.



Laylow did a feat with Lomepal, Freeze Corleone with Kaaris, Dinos with Nekfeu… Beyond the fact of proving that other ways of creating or producing one's music exist, it is above all a sign that rap does not ceases to renew itself and to take new paths.

Good prospects for the coming months.


"We never break free from Booba when we are a fan of French rap" explains Mehdi Maïzi


Vitaa and Slimane, Ninho, Maes ... The ranking of the biggest sellers of albums in 2020

  • Artist

  • Rapper

  • Music

  • Rap

  • Culture