IAM is a French hip hop band from Marseille, created in 1989, and composed of Akhenaton (Philippe Fragione), Shurik’n(Geoffroy Mussard), Khéops (Eric Mazel), Imhotep (Pascal Perez), and Kephren (François Mendy). ‘IAM’ has several meanings, including ‘Invasion Arrivée de Mars’ (‘Invasion from Mars’). ‘Mars’ is frequently used as a metaphor for Marseille in IAM’s songs, another meaning is : Imperial Asiatic Man ( AKH often refers to : ( L’homme Impérial Asiatique ) ).
The band was formed in late 1985 by Akhenaton and Khéops, under the name Lively Crew. Lively Crew became B.Boys Stance in the summer of 1987, after which it was joined by Shurik’n, Freeman and Imhotep. In 1989 the group was renamedIAM, and they produced their first album, IAM Concept which was released the following year. They signed a contract withVirgin Records, and went on to publish the album …de la planète Mars (1991), which became a major hit in France. In 1993 they released another album titled « Ombre est lumière » that helped the band to grow in popularity. However, IAM’s big break did not come until their 1997 album L’école du micro d’argent, which took only two days to become a gold album in France and eventually sold over a million copies, becoming a diamond album. L’école du micro d’argent also brought the group some international fame. They also performed at the Reading Festival in England which increased not only their own popularity but that of French Hip Hop in England.
After the massively successful 1997 album, members of the group began to pursue solo careers. Akhenaton had already produced his first solo album, Métèque et mat, in 1995, and he was followed by Shurik’n and Freeman with albums in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Most members of the band now started to work on other projects of their own as well, such as Akhenaton’s 2000 film Comme un aimant and three solo albums Sol Invictus (2001), Black album(2002) and Soldat de fortune (2006). However, the group remained intact, writing tracks for their album Revoir un printemps, completed in 2003. The group released its most recent album Saison 5, in April 2007.
IAM have a long history of collaborations with the American Hip Hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan. IAM have sampled an Inspectah Deck lyric from the Wu-Tang Clan song, « C.R.E.A.M », which states “Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so rough” in their 1998 single, « Petit frère ». Additionally, they have featured a number of Wu-Tang affiliated artists on their 1997 single “La saga” and later members Method Man and Redman on their 2004 single « Noble Art » the video was directed by New York based artist « Brad Digital ». They were also featuring in the song of RZA « Seul face à lui ». These Hip Hop groups have a number of similarities, probably due to the fact that IAM member Akhenaton has listed Wu-Tang as one of his five favorite MC’s of all time. One notable example is that both groups have connections to Islam. The Wu-Tang Clan are known members of the Five Percent Nation and often include Islamic references in their music. On the previously mentioned IAM collaboration, “La saga,” rapper Prodigal Sunn states that “IAM, sunz of man from the royal fam, never ate ham, never gave a damn,” referencing the dietary restrictions that Muslims have to follow. Similarly, French rappers IAM have used their music as an anti-Islamophobic tool. IAM also collaborated with US rapper Lucas on the song, Spin The Globe, with rappers from 5 different countries spitting in 5 different languages showcasing the universal appeal and voice of hip hop.
IAM « Arts Martiens » Tour Dates 2013-2014
IAM Tournée Été 2014
03/07: THONON LES BAINS – MONTJOUX FESTIVAL
04/07: HEROUVILLE ST CLAIR – FESTIVAL BEAUREGARD
05/07: NORT SUR ERDRE – FESTIVAL LA NUIT DE L’ERDRE
06/07: LE THORONET – FESTIVAL LES NUITS BLANCHES
11/07: FRAUENFELD FESTIVAL
12/06: LIEGE – FESTIVAL LES ARDENTES
13/07: LA ROCHELLE – FRANCOFOLIES
18/07: RIBERAC – FESTIVAL LE GRAND SOUK
23/07: CARTHAGE (TUNISIE)
26/07: MALESTROIT – FESTIVAL AU PONT DU ROCK
01/08: METABIEF – FESTIVAL DE LA PAILLE
08/08: VENCE – FESTIVAL NUITS DU SUD
11/08: BRUXELLES – BRUSSELS SUMMER FESTIVAL
14/08: LUXEY – FESTIVAL MUSICALARUE
15/08: TRELINS – FOREZTIVAL
16/08: AVENCHES – ROCK OZ ARENES FESTIVAL
31/10: LUXEMBOURG – ROCKHAL