L’Entourloop – La Clarté Dans La Confusion
01. Bee With Me
02. Ready Now feat. Pressure Busspipe & I Wayne
04. Police In Helicopter (Vocal Mix) feat. Jah9 & Subatomic Sound System
05. Money On Trees
06. Ghetto Youths
07. Nyquill (Spliff a light Spliff) [Remix] feat. Richie Spice
09. La La Laa feat. Sarah Couch
10. Say That You Love Me
11. Play God feat. Lee Scratch Perry
12. The Calling
13. Ball Game (Knock It)
Veteran French Musicologists
Without a shadow of a doubt in 2022, reggae music is a global entity and has been instrumental in opening new audiences across music genres to all the unlimited flavor it has to offer. None perhaps receiving more than hip-hop. As a self-proclaimed “head”, I’ve been living life through beats and rhymes even longer than I’ve been into reggae. Not surprisingly, the two genres over the years have crossed paths, often to mixed results. Either you get dopeness like Supercat’s remix of “Dolly My Baby” featuring The Notorious B.I.G, or you’re cursed with the atrocious and trite remix of Ini Kamoze’s “Hot Stepper”. (Profuse apologies to those of you who actually LIKE that cut!) Entering this arena with aplomb, veteran French musicologists, King Johnny and Sir James, known collectively as L’Entourloop, bring you “La Clarté Dans La Confusion” their 3rd studio album. Unfortunately, my French is strictly limited to ‘Cest La Vie’, and ‘Au Revoir’, so a quick translation search seemingly explains that phrase as “clarity in confusion”. Ahhhhhhhh, okay! I get it now. So with that assertion, I’d like to ask ol’ Johnny and James, is there really clarity in confusion? Because if you’re telling me that as a music fan who worships at the hip-hop and reggae temples that I’m supposed to clearly fathom the idea that this album does justice to either one of those classifications, I’ll tell you and my Reggae Vibes family that you gentlemen couldn’t be more wrong.
La Clarté Dans La Confusion
“La Clarté Dans La Confusion” opens the proceedings with the title track of the same name and made it clear just what type of listening I was in for. With the progression of each cut, I braced myself for a presentation of cringeworthy, stale hip hop beats, featuring emcee’s of varying skill levels and L’Entourloop didn’t disappoint. Given that King Johnny and Sir James are both “older gentlemen” to put it nicely, neither of them bless the mic but opt instead to feature MCs and reggae artists of varying skill levels to handle the vibes. Cuts like “Scoville Anthem” featuring LMK, Reverie, and Lady Chann, and “Clin d’oeil” featuring Dawa the Architect plod along, failing to elicit so much as a head nod, or even an acknowledgment of dope lyricism from the rappers. Credit goes to L’Entourloop for showcasing up-and-coming talent, but an overabundance of featured artists such as Manudigital, O.B.F., and Degihuegi aren’t going to resonate with most listeners. Oh, but let me be fair! They also have enlisted some REAL talent on this album consisting of veteran hip hop artists, and legendary reggae icons to add to the mish-mosh. Reason for optimism, right?? Hell to the no! How a group can manage to butcher songs featuring the likes of Bounty Killa, Ken Boothe, Kabaka Pyramid, and Chali 2na from the seminal hip-hop group Jurassic 5 is completely beyond me. Somehow this group has managed to pull it off.
A Second Listen?
“Magistral”, Bounty Killer’s contribution is almost laughable. Sounding as crisp as ever over a standard-issue “boom-bap” beat straight from the ’90s, the “Eagle And Di Hawk” icon couldn’t be more out of place. (Where’s Das-EFX and K-Solo when you need them!!??) “Eternal Roses”, the Ken Boothe-assisted track, is a snooze-fest and is made even more irritating by the listless female vocals of someone named Lion in Bed. Once again….LION IN BED! The Kabaka Pyramid and Chalie 2NA efforts? I won’t go there out of respect for E’ntourloop’s artistry, but I will say if you feel like adding to your collection an album that really offers nothing of substance for fans of either reggae or hip hop, then be my guest. I found literally two tracks on “La Clarté Dans La Confusion” that merit a second listen. The Alborosie assisted “Calling Dancers” in which he and a fairly decent emcee by the name of Promoe ride a well-produced beat to strong effect, and the drum and bass cut “People Is Massive” featuring General Levy. A drum and bass cut?! THIS is what saved this album from being completely irredeemable.
At the end of the day, music is supposed to bring joy and make you happy. Sitting through this album was as exhilarating as removing cat hair from a sweater. I think you guys can see where I’m going with this one; to the rubbish pile of failed hip-hop/reggae amalgamations.