Booba (aka B2O, Kopp and the DUC), born Élie Yaffa in 1976, released his last album ULTRA yesterday, culminating a very interesting 26 year career at the zenith of French rap, spanning hits, controversies, feuds, and a legend unparalleled across Europe and America. 2.3 million albums sold, 11 Diamond singles, and countless certifications support the DUC's case as the French GOAT.
As a breakdancer in the 1990s, Booba only wanted one thing: easy money, which for him always meant freedom. In 1994, he meets Ali, and they form undergoing gangster rap duo Lunatic a la Mobb Deep, releasing their first album Mauvais Œil in 2000, widely considered a classic with absolute bangers such as Pas l'Temps Pour Les Regrets (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSsIVuTmnto) and Le son qui met la pression (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJYCHHcUBsE) after Booba spent 18 months in prison after robbing a taxi.
In 2002 Booba releases his first solo album Temps Mort, another classic with the absolute hip hop masterclass in Repose en Paix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD1-Vt3dkk4) and small hit Destinée (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF9nuwh9_8c) that went on to go in rap radio Skyrock, the biggest in France. Temps Mort is a classic and perhaps even the best French rap album of all time, and has a gold certification.
2004 saw B2O release number one album Panthéon, certified gold with 100k sales (now sitting in 260k) with somber intro Tallac (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnRLcydHU9I) and hit N10 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZmCwtYk98A) as highlights. A big critical success and a very very good album as well. In 2005 he dropped his mixtape Autopsie Vol. 1 with features from Ali.
His first platinum certification came in 2006 when Booba gave the world classic Ouest Side with features from Akon and Mac Tyler. Hits include Pitbull (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDCSl9CFaNM) is one of the most poetic songs ever, as it denounces the racism of the times, Boulbi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uczY1We-Eak) and Garde la Peche (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JaTztqeUDs). This album has now 500k sales, which in today's terms would be equivalent to a diamond album. He then released Autopsie Vol. 2.
During this epoch Booba was regarded as a hardcore gangster hip hop artist, while rarely participating in high profile feuds. This was about to change.
But first, Booba dropped his fourth studio album 0.9 which debuted with only 17k sales first week and was panned by critics and the general public for his use of autotune, something never donde before. The year is 2008. No real highlights here, my personal favorites would be B2oBa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8a_NiQRocY), where he clashes rap legends NTM, IAM and MC Solaar (his only real competition in the GOAT race). Autopsie Vol. 3 followed.
In 2009 superstar rapper Rohff (who I honestly think sucks but whatever) said some stuff against Booba, which would span the biggest beef in French rap history. Them guys is still going to this day lmao, but at the beginning Rohff never said anything really evil.
With the intention of dropping yet another classic Booba drops Lunatic in 2010, with the tune Comme une étoile (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jeheiDpD0c) selling 200k units, while also being a first week number one album. Autopsie Vol. 4 was next, and it contains a kinda romantic song Scarface (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypU6RHVb_Gw) which was a huge risk at the time, but 32 million views and 20 million Spotify streams prove this was a great success for the now all time great Booba.
By 2012 Booba announces Futur, his next album, after dropping first single Wesh Morray (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhRWM-K5TD8). The aforementioned Rohff took the song personally as he thought it was addressed to him and responded with Wesh Zoulette (which means prostitute/bitch) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VpHcjzw01c) and he actually ratiod Booba in views lmao. Booba declared it wasn't for Rohff but the damage was done. Second single Caramel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiC5SeRfLYw) dropped, and after that the album released, charting at number one and selling 300k units since its release, a triple platinum album. Highlights include Maitre Yoda (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFNEBA8sLJ0), Pirates (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWRu8gj1Qdc), Tombé pour elle (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35FbLhYG86M) and Kalash (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBbHo8b4FDc) featuring (remember the name) newcomer Kaaris. This album features 2Chainz and Rick Ross. A deluxe version of the album dropped in 2013, with new songs including diss track against star rapper Lafouine AC Milan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt_mfcf0ztg) where he accused him of peadophile and claiming he would be the only one remaining at the end of their careers.
Now, it's been almost 17 years and Booba is still going really strong, remaining relevant with his DUC whisky, UNKUT (which would later become DCNDT) clothes branding and constant beef with other famous rappers, as well as his own label 92i, in honor of his municipality number. 2014 saw him drop loosie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHuU-rvWsaY) where he sub dissed everyone he had beef with. By this year Booba started clashing with former protege Kaaris, which featured in hit Kalash.
In 2015 Booba dropped his worst album: DUC. Single OKLM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpXSed8yVSI) went number one, and spawned OKLM radio which saw many famous new rappers rise in fame. OKLM means let's be calm and has since incrusted itself as a common expression of French lingo. Highlights include 3G (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6cxvhzcSZk) and Tony Sosa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PDST8XQH9Q). Future is on the record but the song is ass tbh.
We are now entering the streaming era, and when I speak of numbers I want you guys to multiply by ten the French numbers to estimate what it is equal to in US numbers. For instance, mega hits Au DD by PNL and Banda Organisé by JuL or even Réseaux by Niska are all some of the biggest hits ever and are all over 100 M streams in Spotify. This songs are God's Plan level, which means, once again, multiply the number by ten. All streams are Spotify numbers.
Eight studio album Nero Nemesis, dropped in December 2015 and was an incredible success, while only charting at number 7. Considered to be his last classic, it gave us Validé (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWftfp5cLCk) 40M views and streams and absolute hit 92iVeyron (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwtLqJyhS3Q) 80M views and 45M streams, his first certified single, and first Diamond one the highest certification, Pinocchio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXewKWKvva8) featuring Damso, new 92i signee, who would become an absolute superstar in a case similar to The Weeknd and Drake. If I were to recommend an album of Booba it would be this one. Absolute masterclass.
After a couple of features in two diamond singles, Booba dropped his biggest hit DKR (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stet_4bnclk),in 2016 with 90M views and 60M streams, it is a banger for the ages.
2017 gave us Booba's Trone, with diamond tracks Petite fille (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHuo2pIyTH8) and Friday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WpLtZNafzU). The album leaked and still managed to sell 66k first week only on streams, going number one easily. While not that well recieved by fans, it has aged like fine wine, and is my personal favorite. Trone sits at 495k sales and will probably go diamond next week.
in 2018 Booba started beefing with Damso, and revived his other beefs, including Rohff, Kaaris, and Lafouine, encountering Kaaris at Orly airport and fighting his team, and viceversa, which was absolutely huge in France. Meme event for the ages. Booba did some weeks of prison and proposed an MMA fight, which Kaaris agreed to, but then backed down. He also appeared in Sale Mood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAqATW60uFM), and Madrina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcKXgYlnM7A) both diamond.
In 2019 Booba dropped loosies PGP (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf_J-QAdH24), Arc-en-Ciel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1wbWhMOCaQ) and GLAIVE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqNEmR5uQCM), which disses Damso, and whose video set was shot by. All these songs have 25+M streams. Booba kept beefing everyone and started deteriorating his image with the public, who now considered him childish and immature. He features in diamond single Médicament (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhO3INtwFwA)
In 2020 Booba lost his 5m follower Instagram account after posting rapper Sofiane's sextape. Booba is now clashing absolutely everybody. He releases JAUNÉ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b0_aDX98h0) and appears in Blanche (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k_ddK4wVXM). Subject of many controversies, his public image deteriorates every time more, but he remains in the spotlight. He posts a dick pick, gets banned again from Instagram and insults everybody. At the end of the year Booba announces his tenth studio album, and drops two singles 5G and Azerty which didn't do so well, but still went number one and three respectively.
As a teaser he releases number one single RATPI WOLRD (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqsuLmkDeI8) a Barbie girl remix, positively received. And finally, yesterday the album dropped. I recommend you guys listen to it all, especially after listening to all the songs of this post. He had like 500k tweets yesterday and this is about to debut with mad numbers, after he nailed his promo.
What an end to a legendary career, whose only comparisons could be Jay Z, and Eminem. Booba is the goat of French rap, and with ULTRA he says goodbye. A pioneer in gansgta rap, autotune, trap and the new dancehall/reggaeton zumba tracks, Booba leaves as an icon, unrivaled for 26 years (kinda hasn't been the case for the last 4 years but whatever) and as the greatest of all time.
Link to ULTRA again: https://open.spotify.com/album/6BpbeB9VUpEBID5maQ8sHl?si=-s4NPRKhTH610OBvhjASDg