Meet Nekfeu. The 26-year-old French rapper only has two solo records to his name, but he’s changing the genre with a lyricism that’s honest to a fault. On his 2015 song “On Verra,” which literally translates to “we’ll see,” Nekfeu poses tough questions to his own millennial generation.
He’s not afraid to say things like “young people think more of idiotic celebrities than Martin Luther King.” Ouch. It can’t be ignored that there’s a decent amount of truth to that statement in a world where Kylie Jenner is one of the most followed people on Instagram and the “Cash Me Outside” girl has turned her bad behavior on Dr. Phil into a successful social media career. In one line, he raps about how we speak to each other through computers and text messages more often than we have hard conversations face-to-face.
Nekfeu also plays off of the stereotype that young people are lazy in several lines, but he digs deeper and exposes his own generation’s fears: loneliness, wasting our lives and never quite measuring up. Then he pulls back to the bigger picture while spitting a line about how the entire world seems to be at war. Tying in France’s own complicated history with Muslim immigrants, Nekfeu reminds listeners not to be afraid of “aux consonances arabiques.” It’s a powerful line considering the political opposition immigrants from predominately Muslim countries are facing all over the world today.