Influential indie French rapper Laylow's sophomore release L'Étrange Histoire de Mr.Anderson is an exploration of his journey as an all-around creative. From find self-fulfillment from his art and the hurdles he had to overcome to achieve success, Laylow brings the listener close into his world with his choice of words and expansive cinematic approach. He takes elements from Tim Burton's edgy storytelling, a late '90s/early '00s rap aesthetic, a little bit of Matrix futurism, and more to bring his vision on wax.
The project opens up with the dreamy somber sounds of “Un Rêve Étrange/ a strange dream” which sees the rapper fusing bravado lyrics with deep reverberating production. While the lyrical flow is infectious, for those not fluent in the language, he masterfully flips football metaphors throughout a certain French context.
“Bonsoir mon vieil ami” and the celebratory “Iverson” find the rapper rusing on the finer things in life that comes after overcoming the obstacles laid before him. Revered Belgian-Congolese rapper Damso makes his appearance on the moody bass-heavy “R9R-Line.” The collaboration is something awaited by fans of both artists and the result is solid as the duo trades hard-hitting bars in seamless fashion over Benzene’s trap backdrop. Tracks like “SPECIAL” which features Nekfeu and Fousheé are concluded by “Lost Forest.” The former explores how the dynamics of life works for deviant individuals who are misunderstood by society. The reflective track ends on a cliffhanger where Laylow falls unconscious and the story continues on “Lost Forest” where he is coerced by the ominous Mr. Anderson to undergo a procedure to stay away from his two closes friends. On “Fallen Angels” he teams up with UK rapper Slowthai to reflect on their personal struggles over a melancholic production. Both emcees acknowledge their flaws but remind listeners that all they can do is focus on themselves in order to become better. The project closes pit with the piano-heavy “Une Histoire Étrange/A strange story” which slowly builds up in momentum. Laylow delivers a melody-laden flow with a sad vibe. It serves as a shining light through the darkness and Laylow ultimately finds happiness even in the strangest situations.
You need to understand that a majority of the tracks here are intertwined even though you can take each song and enjoy them separately but for context's sake, it’s best you to follow the project from start to finish.
Laylow is the moniker of French-Ivorian rapper Jeremy Larroux who was born and spent his formative years in Toulouse. He spent some time in his native Cote D'Ivoire as well before releasing his debut album Trinity in 2020. Besides making music, he also directs videos for artists such as Nekfeu, MZ, Asap Ferg, Keith Ape, etc.
Get L'Étrange Histoire de Mr.Anderson (= The Strange Story of Mr.Anderson) via Parisian collective and label Digital Mundo HERE. You can also view the short film for the LP below.