Nèg' Marrons are a French reggae-rap group of African heritage who released their debut album in 1997. Hailing from Garges-Sarcelles, Val-d'Oise, the group was originally comprised of Ben-J (born Fabien Loubayi), Jacky Brown (Jacky Teixeira), and Djamatik (Mitry Vigilant). Affiliated with the Secteur Ä collective, Nèg' Marrons made their commercial recording debut in 1995 with the single "La Monnaie" from the soundtrack of the Thomas Gilou film Raï (1995). "La Monnaie" broke into the Top 40 of the French singles chart and led to a major-label recording contract with the Sony Music subsidiary Small. The full-length album debut Rue Case Negres (1997) followed, featuring the follow-up singles "Lève-Toi, Bats-Toi" and "Ménage à 4." In addition, Nèg' Marrons were featured on the Secteur Ä in-concert album Live à l'Olympia (1997). Following this initial wave of success, Ben-J joined the Congolese-heritage French rap collective Bisso Na Bisso for the albums Racines... (1999) and Le 15 Mai 1999 (1999). The second Nèg' Marrons album, Le Bilan (2000), found the group reduced to a duo after the departure of Djamatik. Among the singles released in promotion of Le Bilan, the title track was most successful, reaching the Top 20. Third album Heritage (2003) was the group's most successful to date, reaching the Top 20 of the albums chart and spawning the Top 30 hit "Tout le Monde Debout!," featuring Mr. Vegas, as well as the Top 40 hit "Dis-Moi Si J'te Saoûle." Nèg' Marrons then took some time off, not returning with their fourth album, Les Liens Sacrés (2008), until four years later. Their first album released in association with the Because Music label, Les Liens Sacrés reached the Top 30 and spawned the singles "Petites Îles" (featuring Césaria Évora) and "C'est Pas Normal." ~ Jason Birchmeier
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