NOW PLAYING: TEDAX MAX

Meet Tedax Max, the rapper that's capturing the Sound and Spirit of Lyon.

Speaking to New Era as part of 2022’s ‘Now Playing’ campaign, the French-Congolese artist talks about inspiration, community and independence.

 

Tedax Max wearing New Era's summer Colour Essentials cap and clothing collection


When you think of French hip-hop, it would be understandable for your mind to drift towards the burgeoning scenes of Paris and Marseille, which have given rise to some of mainland Europe’s most gifted rappers. Where there is a strong street culture there is going to be a vibrant rap scene, and that is certainly now the case in Lyon. There, the flag is being flown by one of France’s rising rap artists, Tedax Max.

Raised in the city centre district of La Guillotière, the French-Congolese musician knows this city like the back of his hand, and he uses that wisdom to deliver sharp and witty portraits of urban life over trap-inspired beats. His breakthrough hit, “J’te jure”, racked up over half a million streams on Spotify, and he followed it up last year with an eight track mixtape, Forme Olympique, which cemented his position as one of French rap’s rising stars.

Now, Tedax is one of the numerous artists collaborating with New Era on 2022’s campaign, ‘Now Playing’. The driving idea behind the project is to explore how artists around Europe tap into their playful side and unleash their creative spirit. For Tedax, play comes from taking pleasure in being around his community, and so many of his songs are inspired by the act of just hanging out with friends and seeing what happens.

With all this in mind, we decided to hang out with Tedax in his local neighbourhood, to chat about what makes Lyon the underdog city of France, and where his music is going next.

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French rapper, Tedax Max, wearing a New Era bucket hat and smiling


Hey Tedax! How would you describe the energy of Lyon?

The energy of Lyon is its people. We have a city that is known to be complicated, and which is considered unwelcoming. Even people that came to your shows would sit there and sulk. Maybe we could get insulted or spat on, or not get any feedback at all. But that's not the case anymore. We have a new generation coming through; an audience that has a different vision of things. and when we go to a concert, it's not like our elders, who were apprehensive about it. I think I've been lucky enough to perform three times in Lyon, at home, and they're the best shows every time.

What inspires you when it comes to writing lyrics?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. It's everyday life in the hood, how we grew up – whether it's my life, or that of the people around me. That's what makes my music. My lyrics are quite representative of what I know: Lyon, La Guillotière, Voltaire, the way we live... That's what inspires me, and makes me want to put things on paper.

How did you first fall in love with rap music?

I got into music at a young age – that's when I first heard songs that really blew me away. Rap from Marseille really amazed me.

What made you decide to make your own?

I was around 18 years old. I enjoyed music but didn’t think I could make it myself. But when I started writing, well it came so naturally. Everything was flowing, like a river.

Tedax Max wearing a selection of colourful New Era buckets


How would you describe your style of rap?

I've been influenced by a bit of everything. But my style is usually seen as more "classical", – more in the Boom Bap style, with influences from New York. My tunes sometimes sound more southern, but the technique is really reminiscent of New York.

What comes to mind when you think of New Era?

If I had to choose three words for the brand I’d say: authenticity, lifestyle, and culture… I mean, New Era means a lot to me. We grew up with American rap music, so when I think of New Era, I think of the 59FIFTY caps – those are my favourites. It's the stuff we've always worn, and it represents a lot. It's not only about caps, I also wear the beanies, the bucket hats... It's what we wear all the time...

Finally, what are you most excited about in your life right now?

Well, everything that's happening to me at the moment and all the work we're doing. We've just got a studio where we can make music and do things. I’m also excited about the fact that we are independent, that we can do things by ourselves and we are getting results. I couldn't ask for anything better than to get up every morning and do the thing I'm passionate about and that I love, and see it start to bear fruits. That's the best.

French rapper, Tedax Max, wearing a New Era bucket hat