English is taught as a second language in many countries, but in my country, Canada, an important debate regarding this topic has been going on. Quebec has been feeling left out, with around 80% of its population being francophones in a majorly English speaking country. Easily recognizable by their accent, Quebecers have been divided in two groups: the ones that want to protect their mother tongue, and the ones that don’t really mind. I would also add to these two categories people that decided to make the best out of the situation and create a new language: “Frenglish”. I am personally a proud user of this regional dialect.
Just like its name, this idiom is a mixture of both Quebec’s distinctive French and its growing English. Mostly spoken by the youth, it is characterized by the usage of both English and French words in the same sentence. A good example would be “c’est cool”, meaning that something is nice. Quebecers also use English curse words in their everyday vocabulary. Often, we do not realize that these words should never be used, so you should not be surprised to hear an underage teenager use them every few words.
In the past few years, I have seen people take this slang even further by including it in an all-new music genre: Frenglish rap. At first thought to be weird by most of the population (including myself), this new type of music slowly but surely won the hearts of many young Quebecers. We realized that even if our way of talking is usually considered rude and informal, some artists considered it beautiful and worth using in their songs. Koriass, FouKi, and Loud are good examples of artists that managed to include this unique dialect in their work, but in my opinion, the group that represents the genre the best is definitely Dead Obies.
“I’m in the club pis ça joue ma playlist” – Doo Wop
Formed in 2011, the group is made of five members: Joe Rocca, 20Some, Snail Kid, Ogee Rodman (rappers), and their producer VNCE CARTER. With already 3 albums, including their most recent one that was released in 2019, nothing has stopped them. Since the beginning of their career, critics flew from everywhere, but they never gave up doing what they loved. In 2018, just a few months before the release of their latest album, one of the members of the group decided to leave the group to pursue a solo career. After this loss, the group quickly went back on their feet and published their first song without his participation the next morning. They often call themselves “the best group that has ever existed in Quebec”, and I believe to be representative of our culture and the way we talk.
“I’m just flexin’, dépensé ma paye like” – Break
Even if their first songs and videos showed a lot of inappropriate content regarding drug use and girls, they have shown a lot of maturity in their new album called “Dead”, a strong metaphor as their popularity is far from being dead. With catchy soundtracks and different stories told throughout each and every song, they have managed to express their feelings the same way a teenager would, using similar vocabulary and slangs, which makes their song appreciated by the youth.
“Now on est five, on est faboulous” – Royautés
All in all, music is a way for many people, including myself, to feel better and to relate to other people going through the same problems as them, and what Dead Obies managed to do is to create a safe place for Quebec’s teenagers. They let us know that the way we talk and express ourselves is fine, and can even be considered as art. I am hoping the best for this group, and for all the other artists that honor the beauty of my and all my friends’ unique French accent!