Suprême NTM, live performances and the police

Suprême NTM, also known as NTM, is a French hip hop group formed in 1989 in the Seine-Saint-Denis département, located to the northeast of Paris. The group is formed by rappers Joey Starr and Kool Shen. Their musical style is predominantly hardcore rap, although later albums include funk, soul and reggae influences.

Joey Starr and Kool Shen are outspokenly critical of racism and class inequality in French society, and while their earlier music is violent, some of their later work, such as "Pose ton Gun" ("Put down your Gun"), is anti-violent. In 1998, the group released its last album but officially the band still exists and both Joey Starr and Kool Shen started their own labels.

The group is known for its gritty, dark and sometimes violent lyrics, as well as for the contrast between the two rappers styles. While Joey Starr has a relatively slow flow, aggressive lyrics and a deep, booming voice (you can observe this in "Pose ton Gun"), Kool Shen has a funkier flow as well as witty and rather melancholic lyrics.

NTM began to be known not only for their hard but conscious lyrics but for their stage presence during live events in the 90s and their relationship with the police

Already in their first big event in 1992 at the Zenith NTM came with a large number of dancers, back up singers, and slogans like "fuck the police" or lyrics like "Le monde de demain" which powerfully demanded change in modern society. Police surrounded the concert and several riots then ensued.

The 1993 release 1993… J'appuie sur la Gâchette ("1993… I'm Pulling the Trigger") contained a track with the same name, about suicide, which was censored on most French TV channels (despite not creating any scandal, unlike "La Police") and a track Police that featured violent criticism of the police. The police responded to this by taking NTM to court. The court decided in favor of NTM. However, many French radio stations decided to boycott the group's music.

A second encounter with the police occurred in 1995 when the group made further comments critical of the French police during a live concert that allegedly included advocating violence against the police. The group was again taken to court, and this time they were sentenced, initially to six months imprisonment, a sentence that was shortened to two months imprisonment and a 50.000 Franc fine on appeal.

One of their most impressive songs played live was "Qu'est ce qu'on attend...": "What are we waiting for.. to set everything on fire" in which Joey Starr finishes the song with his lion-like voice by a now famous "Dorénavant la rue ne pardonne plus" meaning "henceforth the street no longer forgives." This song was accused among others by some politicians to have contributed in unleashing the social riots that France has known in October 2005.

You may ask yourself "What does NTM mean?". Well NTM is a abbreviation for "Nique Ta Mère" meaning "Fuck Your Mother". Pretty straightforward.

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