Ayo Jegede
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August 04, 2005
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TTC
Batards Sensibles

I knew it.

I knew itd come back to bite me right in my hairy ass.

Some back story: like most prisoners subjects of a flawed public education system, I was required to take a foreign language for the duration of my resplendently feckless high school career. I took French because, having lived in Nigeria, I was surrounded by Francophone countries and because Gambit, that sickly suave member of the X-Men, was born Remy LeBeau (literally Remy The Beautiful). 5 years later all I had to show for it was a weak geographical knowledge of France and how to say, its five o clock. Im tired. I fell down. And you know, I was ok. I lived in Uh-Mer-E-Kah, where even the most butchered species of the English language was accepted as being far more normal than the Frenchies weird squiggly thing that sometimes sat below the c like a linguistic dingleberry (its called a cedille).

Then these assholes from France had to release Ceci Nest Pas Un Discque some years ago, calling themselves TTC and making me nod my head like a depraved fool. The beats were hot. Shit, the beats were ridiculous. They could and should have been signed to Ninja Tune or Def Jux; they needed to be known to the benighted hip-hop masses. Simultaneously, however, I felt cheapened by the experience, only being able to comprehend a couple articles and even more obvious sentences of their rhymes. Yet their performance wasnt center stage so I quickly refocused on the sound rather than their vocal dexterity, impressive as it may have been. I was saved, I thought, from having to relearn past participles and ugly future perfects.

Then they released Batards Sensibles, effectively making me feel like a solid dumbass for not studying the language past my first year of college. Goddammit, he rhymes so NICE! I said to myself. What differed this time around was that besides putting forth some fucking dope beats on songs like Catalogue, Codeine and the title track, Tido Berman, Teki Latex, and Cuisinier were all cognizant of the foreign ears listening in. So you have deeply pounding club anthems like, fittingly, Dans le Club accompanied by a matching rhyming pattern and Codeine, where the rappers accelerate their rhymes until yelling EXPLODE!

The appearance of Busdriver on the album doesnt really assuage my regrets. If they had some worthless suit, some G-Unit peon, then Id be able to disregard the rhymes with plenary ability. But its Busdriver, and if these guys can get him, and if TTC appeared on Daedeluss Exquisite Corpse LP this year, it cant be some easily disregarded fluke. No, Im missing something fundamental to the beats and, merde, Im kicking myself for it. Im kicking myself because I cant give them a higher, more deserving score.

But, god, dont be mistaken. The beats are just majestic and severely fun, basking in the reverie of synth (Girlfriend) and just absolute silliness (Du sang sur le dancefloor). For those who cant bear the thought of having wasted their high school careers on Latin or, you know, English, theres an instrumental LP they cut thats also available. Still, listeners who elect to buy the instrumental-only version will rue the missed glory of the trios flow. I know I sure do.

Release date: February 8, 2005
Label: Big Dada
Rating: 8.4 / 10

[RMR]