Mangas and French rap: a linked destiny


an inexhaustible source of inspiration

For several years now, Japanese popular culture has been interfering in the French rap culture. Rappers integrate references from their favorite mangas into their lyrics, or simply show their love for this universe. Superpowers, extraordinary destinies, fantastic or cruel worlds; rappers are inspired by these themes and divert them to draw parallels with their own careers. From Naruto to One Piece and One Punch Man, no manga is left out, and the references are not new...

Since the 80's, some youth programs of the French television broadcast anime, such as Récré A2 or Club Dorothée for example. This period also corresponds to the explosion of manga sales in bookshops such as Dragon Ball Z, Albator, Ken the survivor and many others. At the same time, French rap music was booming with the arrival of NTM and IAM. Immediately, this new scene put Japanese culture on a pedestal, as shown by the cover of the cult "L'école du Micro d'argent" by IAM. 

In this article, we are going to list some of the mangas that are popular with rappers and analyze the codes and motifs they use.


This anime highlights a hero named Saitama (French voice dubbed by the rapper Orelsan for 2 seasons now). His story tells the daily life of a young man without job, depressed, without real goal in life. One day, he crosses the path of a crab man that he must face. Saitama wins, but with difficulty. Then he decides to train relentlessly to become a superhero and increase his power tenfold. He trains so hard that his acquired powers give him a sure victory against all the opponents he meets, and this with only one punch. The analogy with rap music is obvious, with each rapper trying to "lay down the competition" with a "punchline". The words replace the gesture, the will to be above the fray is idealized, as if by dint of hard work and perseverance, the level becomes so high that it is then unequalled.


D.ace in "mangas 2" 

"I put the bars on the T's and that a dot on the i to end the saitama, I have more time for the competition, at each punch I stop them"  

Junior Bundo in "One punch Man

"I'm in the rally, I'm Saitama facing the enemies"


Written by Tite Kubo, this manga has as plot the story of a young high school student named Ichigo who possesses the power to hear and see the souls of the dead, and this since he was little. His destiny is turned upside down when he meets a god of death, in Japanese "Shinigami", and accompanied by a monster named Hollow. Following this encounter, he decides to become a god of death himself to fight these same evil spirits in order to protect humans. Ichigo uses his famous "Black Katana" (long sword) to cut his opponents. The analogy is obvious, because in rap jargon, "cutting" means rapping quickly and precisely over a production. 


XVBARBAR in "presidential."

"Katana like in Bleach, in front of you everything gets complicated"

Luv Resval in "Y11"

"I make faces like I see shinigami"


This manga tells the story of a charismatic school teacher with unconventional and transgressive methods. Eikichi Onizuka, 22 years old and already a dubious past, gets a job to teach in a difficult school class. With an unusual intelligence, he leads his students with unconventional and unusual practices, even helping them deal with personal problems. This character inspires many rappers, including half of the Parisian duo "PNL": Ademo. 


PNL in "Siberia"

"The city is great I just want to go around, free like Onizuka". 

The rapper Nekfeu had changed the name of his youtube channel to "Eikichi Amaru" before the release of his new album. 

One Piece

This manga follows the adventures of a pirate hero named Luffy. After having eaten a demon fruit without meaning to, he acquires unusual bodily abilities: he becomes elastic like rubber. This new property makes him invincible. He decides to take off with his "Straw Hat" crew to conquer the ultimate treasure: the "One Piece". This conquering pirate side has obviously conquered French rap; references are more than abundant:


Doxx in "One Piece"

"Like Luffy I am a pirate and I travel the seas"

Damso in "M. Noob saibot"

"I have a long arm but for selfie, Pirate Mugiwara Luffy"   


It is undoubtedly one of the most famous manga, adapted into anime and translated into several dozen languages. In a retro-futuristic world where advanced technologies are present, the ninjas with ancestral skills still remain a significant military power. Each village has its own set of ninjas, Naruto being from Konoha village. Inhabited by a nine-tailed demon, the plot follows the development of Naruto Uzumaki with an unusual fate. 


Sexion d'assaut in "wati bon son"

"Paris is Konoha, you fools, here are the ninjas"

Alkpote in "Enfant terrible"

"A super ninja like naruto, go fix your carcass at Norauto"

Maybe you will have a crush on a universe or the characters of one of these series, in this case nothing better than to take drawing classes to learn how to draw and share your interests. Apolline offers courses in Lausanne, Morges, Montreux, Bienne and Delémont. And to deepen your knowledge even more, you can take part in the comic/manga drawing vacation camps that take place all over the French-speaking part of Switzerland during the school vacations!