If you’ve never heard of IAM, I wonder where you’ve been in the last 15 years. But for those who’ve just crept out from under their rocks, here’s a quick run-down of what every inhabitant of this planet should be familiar with.

IAM are from the mediterranean city of Marseille, France and it’s pretty safe to say that they put their city on the map, representing Le Côté Obscur (The Dark Side, a pun on Côte d’Azur and Star Wars, also referring to the forgotten or unwelcome part of the nation.) It was on their first album called … de la planète Mars where they turned their home town into a broken off part of Ancient Egypt, complete with their own mysticism and the names that went with it, but never lacking a healthy dose of humour. Their subject matter spanned both uninhibited silliness and deeply philosophical topics. Never afraid to voice their political views and to be a mouthpiece for the little people in the streets, these children of immigrants to France had all found Islam as their religion and kept stressing the openness and tolerance of their belief while the nation was afraid of Algerian extremists bombing French cities. To this day, the group members are frequently invited to serious talk shows on TV and have managed to both keep close to the street and open up the mainstream public to hip-hop culture.

In their initial constellation, Akhenaton and Shurik’n held down the microphones, DJ Kheops and Imhotep were in charge of the musical backdrop and Malek Sultan and Kephren were the group’s dancers, the latter also being their manager.

Later, between their second and third album, Malek Sultan turned into Freeman and picked up the mic to add his trademark raw southern French accent with an Algerian twist to the group’s tracks. (“J’vous preng tous ici!”)

For now, I’d like to introduce you to the group’s albums from their first tape Concept (1990) to their latest Revoir un Printemps (2003). Their numerous solo releases, collabs and posse albums with other locals, French and even international artists can be found in separate posts.

Here we go… Albums.


IAM – Le Concept (Tape) (1990)

IAM - ... de la planète Mars

IAM – … de la Planète Mars (1991)

IAM – Ombre est Lumière (1993) Vol. I & II

IAM – Ecole du Micro d’Argent (1997)

IAM – Revoir un Printemps (2003)

And now some of their singles:

1. Donne Moi le Micro
2. Je me gausse
3. Guinche le Style
4. Fizdou

IAM – Donne-moi le micro (1993)

1. Je Danse Le Mia
2. Ombre est lumiere
3. Je fais 1 avec ma Musique
4. L’ultra Mia

IAM – Je danse le mia (1993)

1. Le Feu (Prodigal Mix)
2. Reste Underground
3. La Mort n’est pas une Fin
4. Le Feu (Fiyah Mix)

IAM – Le feu (1994)

1. Une Femme Seule (Remix)
2. Sachet Blanc
3. La 25eme image (ft. Daddy Nuttea)

IAM – Femme Seule / Sachet Blanc (1995)

IAM website
Wikipedia articles on IAM: French / English
IAM on Discogs

Peace, 9@home