I have this theory: most European rap artists operate on the principle that Hip Hop still exists in a glorious pre-millennial golden era/late 90s bubble.
Dusty beats, heavy drums, beautiful soul samples (see “Soldats” below), socially “conscious” rhymes (again, whatever the fuck that means–in terms of French rap it’s a lot of rhyming about the ghettos around Paris, in British rap throughout the early/mid 2000s it was a lot of bitching and punchlines about Tony Blair).
These elements were always embodied most strongly for me in French supergroup Saïan Supa Crew, a crew that draws a few similarities to former American indie darlings Jurassic 5 (both groups are composed of smaller groups, J5 consisting of the remnants of the Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee, SSC consisting of Explicit Samouraï, Simple Spirit, and OFX; both J5 and SSC combine singing, rapping, and various other styles of music on their tracks–for SSC, dancehall in particular has a major influence). SSC’s premillennial leanings were verified when RZA and Ghost linked up with the French crew for “Saïan” from RZA’s The World According to RZA album. SSC is dope and definitely a fine portal to French Hip Hop.