One of the rappers who was blamed by certain politicians for inciting those riots that took place in France at the end of last year is in court this week in another dispute with a French MP. Monsieur R, real name Richard Makela, is facing three years in prison or a 75,000 euro fine if UMP MP Daniel Mach is successful in his legal action against the rapper.
Of particular contention is Makela’s 2004 album ‘Politikment Incorrekt’, and more specifically the lyrics and video for the track ‘FranSSe’. In that track Makela raps: “France is a bitch, don’t forget to fuck her till she’s exhausted/You have to treat her like a slut, man” and “I piss on Napoleon and on General de Gaulle”, while in the video he is dressed as a gendarme with two naked women rubbing against the French flag.
On hearing the album Mach proposed a law making it a criminal offence to “insult the dignity” of France and the French state. When the rioting began in certain French cities last November other politicians also expressed their opposition to Makela, and six other French hip hop acts, who they said had helped incite the violence through their lyrics. By that time, however, Mach had already begun the legal action that has reached court this week. The MP accuses Makela of “making and disseminating violent and pornographic messages to which minors could get access”.
Makela continues to deny that he has behaved in an improper way through his music. At the time of last year’s riots he told reporters: “Hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words. It is not a call to violence”.