French The Kid – ‘No Signal’ review: goosebump-inducing drill and road rap

The bilingual artist’s dark, deep and emotionally driven mixtape reaffirms his place as a truly unique voice in UK rap

French The Kid is paving the way for bilingual UK rappers. Blending punchy East End rhymes with smooth, delicate French language hooks, his vocal style is completely unique, as is his backstory. Raised between the streets of Essex and Toulouse with strong ties to the Irish Traveler community, his identity is shaped by cross-cultural encounters and experiences of crime and poverty. Vivid storytelling bars are the result—and rap fans are loving it.

In late 2020, he dropped one of the most viewed Daily Dappy freestyles ever, garnering over 20 million views, and surpassing equivalent efforts from Central C and Mecz. Since then, he has collaborated with Bad Boy Chiller Crew and Russ Millions, released his debut project ‘Never Been Ordinary’, and has been featured in the NME 100. Yet the desire to do something different defines French music. That drive is evident on ‘No Signal’, a mixtape that sees him flipping effortlessly between English and French over dark, hair-raising UK drills and road rap beats.

While previous releases have stuck to a fairly consistent sound, combining sprawling drill rhythms with chilling string compositions, ambient piano and gliding sub, ‘No Signal’ sees French dipping his toes into new waters. ‘Remember’ has soulful gospel, ‘Fuck a Trend’ has funky summer hip-hop vibes, while ‘Notice Me’ combines skippy drill hi-hats with indie guitar effects. Live instrumentation is also featured on ‘Constantina’, where deep piano melodies gleam excitingly against haunting high-pitched vocal samples. Arguably the project’s best track, it sees French spit “turn up the bass, play the whole mixtape/Trust me, listen to the song alone” – he repeats the instrumental over and over again before being allowed to spit. supports it by dropping. Heavy 808 to swoop back with force.

‘S-Class’, the massive third song on the 18-track mixtape, embodies the essence of French The Kid: after spitting out a series of intricate, deftly textured bars, documenting tales from the road, he delivers silky francophone hooks. “C ton pote” drops frr c pas mon ami / tu me trouve sur le block dans la nuit”. The smoothly delivered lyrics roughly translate as “He’s your friend brother, he’s not my friend / You find me on the block at night”.

What’s most impressive about the Essex Rhymer’s bilingual rapping isn’t always the direct translation, but the fluidity with which he hops between languages, and the unwavering sense of his personal voice that persists throughout. Last year, he told NME, “What’s genius? You might as well believe in ghosts. I don’t believe in it” – and yet, on a mixtape that’s packed with inventiveness and sharp storytelling, French Shows that he’s clearly got his bag.


  • Release date: April 14
  • Record label: Drop Out UK

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