Saian Supa Crew: Brussels Ancienne Belgique

France's leading hip-hop group Saian Supa Crew wow Belgium...

Friday night, a quarter to nine. DJ Risk is spinning a greatest hits set (‘Nuthin’ But A G-Thang’ segued into ‘Girls Dem Sugar’, ‘Thong Song’ mixed with ‘Independent Women’), and the well spliffed-up crowd are going mental in anticipation to France’s premier new(ish) hip-hop posse, Saian Supa Crew. A backing tape of thunder crashing starts rolling, stark white lights blaze into the venue. On stage, six over-enthusiastic men break into a perfectly synchronised dance routine. The punters respond by simultaneously waving their hands in the air.

An unlikely opening for a hip-hop show it may be, but that’s Saian Supa Crew for you. Intent on giving their audience all the entertainment they could possibly want from a good night out, the six rappers only just manage to avoid costume changes. The onstage extravaganza, however, never detracts attention from the musical skills these boys so obviously have.

At its most awe-inspiring when Leeroy Kesiah and Sly The Mic Buddha team up to perform a human beatbox rendition of ‘Music Sounds Better With You’, the talent these Parisian B-boys display borders on the unbelievable. During more than one song tonight, Saian Supa Crew leave out the beats completely, choosing to impose rhythm instead by turn-taking at break-neck speed and the occasional puff into the microphone. Spectacular.

The fact that SSC rap in French may prevent them from breaking through internationally, but ironically enough, even for tonight’s largely French-speaking audience most of the lyrics are incomprehensible. No-one here cares, though, everyone’s too busy dancing anyway. As the Crew themselves say it, “le plus important c’est la vibe, puis apres les paroles”. Too right.

Manu Lammens