Montreal’s Rowjay Keeps Making European Inroads on “Avenir”

Montreal rapper Rowjay continues his hot streak of European collabs by linking up with France’s Serane and Belgian beatmaker JeanJass on “Avenir.”

In the video, he and Serane present a “spleen Parisien” from a playfully ignorant point of view. The track was taken from his Carnaval de Finesse 2: Les Chroniques d’un Jeune Entrepreneur album.

It’s not Rowjay’s first European foray. Back in August he starred in a Canada vs. Belgium “Rap Jeu” battle for Montreality and Red Bull.

At the time, he spoke to Complex Canada about being a Canadian rapper making waves an ocean away.

“Quebec’s rap scene is very different from France, France rap is the second biggest rap market in the world. More opportunities, labels are more developed,” he said. “Being close to the United States is a big advantage for us, Montreal rappers are more ‘advanced’ in their sound compared to French rappers, US rap always dictates what’s the trend in the industry and rappers from Montreal are usually quicker to adapt than rappers from France, except for a few underground acts that are really more US inspired.

As for Belgium, he said Quebec is similar in size, “but rappers in Belgium have to go to France if they want to live from their music. For example, all the known rappers in Belgium had to pass by the French rap market to go mainstream in their country. A Lot of the most known rappers in Quebec/Montreal are total unknowns to French rap fans from France. I think you can get a better living by rapping and staying only in Quebec/Montreal than in Belgium, however, the biggest Belgium rappers right now are definitely making more money, via the French rap scene.”

He also said the different French markets for rap aren’t really competing with each other.

“It would be cringe to (compete),” he said. “We are more focused on creating bridges between the scenes and collaborating. I’m always in France, like 4-6 times per year since 2017 so people from there are starting to think that I’m from there too. I just see Quebec, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and every other French speaking country as one big Francophone market.

On the subject of the different French markets, Montreality thinks his city has a lot to offer the European rap hubs.

“The Quebec franco rap scene is diverse. You have the established greats, but there’s also rising talent like: DARY, Josad, Kirai, Malko, CSHMR, g8apo and many more. Trying new things and experimenting. Montreal artists are in a lane of their own, I believe the sound will earn its place in listeners’ hearts and in the marketplace in all French-speaking places. The language is the same, but it’s different, there’s so much flavor in the way we speak. French and Belgian rappers have expressed their love for the Montreal sound, the influence is real.”