The meteoric rise of an artist: “There are no others who sound like FouKi”

The meteoric rise of an artist: “There is none ;others that sound like FouKi»


His rise has been meteoric. In the space of four albums spread over a period of two and a half years, from 2018 to 2020, FouKi has risen to the top of the Quebec rap pyramid. An accomplishment of which he can be proud, but which comes with a downside. Or rather a focus. FouKi refuses to be considered solely as a rap artist. 

“If you say that my music is just rap, it has no relation. I have my colors. There are no other artists, in Quebec anyway, of whom you can say that it sounds like FouKi. »

From home via Zoom, on the eve of the release of his new album Zayon, the 26-year-old artist is determined to highlight the diversity that can be found in his musical creation.

“There is definitely a very rap side to my songs, but sometimes I'm pop, sometimes I'm reggae, I'm even a little rock. It depends. It's never just hip-hop. »

Hearing his hilarious duet St‐Han Quinzou with P'tit Belliveau, we also want to add acid trap to the list of musical styles he claims.

“If you go to my likesSpotify, one song out of five is rap. I listen to so much of everything. Still, I still like having an 808, a snare and a kick. I love how it gets into your body. That's why sometimes I have fun. I sample music from the 1940s and put big kicks on it. Think it's nice. »

Delirium of music videos

FouKi, Léo Fougères of his real name, is therefore a rapper like no other. Too bad if it shocks the purists.

Another example ? His music videos. Rapping while walking down the street towards the camera and wearing a serious look is not his style. He prefers elaborate and fanciful stagings. Think of the Beastie Boys as a point of reference.

“I'd rather go crazy,” proclaims the 26-year-old artist.

Proof number one: in the clip of Zayon, he becomes the secret agent 00-Zay chased by bad guys in what looks like a parody of the James Bond films.

Proof number two: a few weeks ago, he reappeared with tight outfits and a Longueuil cut while singing that he would have liked to live in the 1980s in the music video for 80s, the second extract from the upcoming album.

“During filming, the director and I wondered how many artists would be gameto make a music video like we did, put on wigs and dress way too tight. Nobody wants to do that today, everybody wants to look good, to be cool. You have to have fun. Me, I have a lot more with a wig and mascara than rapping in front of a camera.

“Think big!” »

Where FouKi resembles other rappers is when he shamelessly displays his ambition to fill the largest amphitheaters in the province and impress his admirers who will go see him at Place Bell in Laval. , April 8, and at the Videotron Center, April 22. He wants a “legendary” show.

“This is a big step in my career. I pushed my record company (7e Ciel) a lot to make it happen. They weren't too sure at first. They preferred to do three MTelus than one Place Bell, but I wanted a big show on a big stage in a big arena. Think big!” launches FouKi with a smile.

Two months before the first concert, he is careful not to reveal the aces up his sleeve. He only agrees to reveal that he entrusted the staging to Fred Caron, a renowned specialist in lighting and video design who has worked with Cirque du Soleil, the Chainsmokers, Kiss and Future, among other big names to whom he is a partner.

“We have never worked so much on a show as this one”, says FouKi.

If he sees big, the latter does not want to compete with other rappers, like Loud, who have already set foot on the big stages. Playing who has the biggest show is also not his thing.

“I’m happy to see [that others are doing it]. Yes, it can give us ideas, but I never tell myself that it should have been me or that I have to do more. I just want to have fun and put on a good show. »

► The album Zayon, by FouKi, will be on sale on February 17.
► The list of concerts announced in 2023 can be found on its website: 

New approach 

“At the beginning, when you start, you want to release lots of stuff so that the world knows you exist. Now the world knows I exist. » 

And that's why after putting on the launches of Zay (2018), ZayZay (2019), the album Budding geniuses with Koriass (2020) and Luxury snacks (2020), FouKi took more than two years before returning to the charge with Zayon.

“There is another approach, explains the rapper. You don't release music just to release music. You release music to make it really good. It's not that there's more pressure, but there's one more mark to hit today, when I'm doing a song. I'm more inclined to say huuum, maybe she won't be on the album when before it was sure she would be on the album. »

More critical of your work?

« Yes, much more. »

A nostalgic guy

On Zayon, we discover a nostalgic FouKi. In an interview, the 26-year-old says he is fascinated by the 1960s to 1990s, hence a title like the song 80s.

“I wish it had gone just one day in those years. Go and get myself a roteux at the Hot Dog Mont-Royal, next to our house, but let's be in the 1970s.”

A song like Ségala, where he recalls his youthful escapades with his friends on the Plateau, provides another eloquent example. modesty.

Ginette Reno in demand

Like any rapper, FouKi has a few guests on his album. The name of Acadian P’tit Belliveau (St-Han Quinzou) is surprising. 

“I approached Lisa LeBlanc, but she didn’t want to. Finally, I went to see P'tit Bell, and it was even better. He's such a good rapper. At the start, we wanted a more banjo, more sung second part, but in the end he rapped all the way. It was perfect. »

The presence on the song On l'fait of Imposs, pioneer of queb rap within Muzion, makes more sense. 

< p>“We really connected the first time we met. »

All that's missing is… Ginette Reno, whom FouKi does not hold at all rigor for having renamed her Funky at the Gala de l'ADISQ. On the contrary. 

“Of course I would like to do a feat with her one day, but I haven’t spoken to her again. We had received an offer for Infoman and she had refused. »

It is launched in the universe.