After years of underground activity, including several mixtapes and so-called street albums, Sexion d'Assaut finally emerged with their proper album debut, L'École des Points Vitaux. The wait was worthwhile, for it's a finely crafted, highlight-filled album that showcases a range of styles, from full-throttle hardcore rap with old-school hip-hop posturing to melodically sung tracks with socially conscious lyrics. That Sexion d'Assaut can rap as well as sing is due in part to the size of the collective, which hails from Paris and counts over a half-dozen members among its membership. Long and sometimes unwieldy as contemporary rap albums tend to be, L'École des Points Vitaux unfortunately gets off to a slow start with "Intro (En Résumé)," a tiresome introductory track that runs for over seven minutes and serves to introduce all of the group members and get listeners up to date on Sexion d'Assaut. Once the intro concludes, the album kicks into high gear with a run of hardcore rap tracks, most notably the standouts "Casquette à l'Envers" and "L'École des Points Vitaux." The midsection of L'École des Points Vitaux is quite varied in style and explores a number of different lyrical subjects, from drugs ("La drogue Te Donne des Ailes") to fatherhood ("Tel Père Tel Fils"). While there are some good songs interspersed throughout this midsection, the real highlights are saved for last. Just as L'École des Points Vitaux begins on a high note with the aforementioned hardcore rap standouts, it concludes with a pair of feel-good highlights, the party-oriented dance number "Wati by Night" and the socially conscious message track "Désolé." Though they're hardly newcomers on the French rap scene despite only now making their proper album debut, Sexion d'Assaut are a welcome addition. They have a versatile style and demonstrate a lot of talent, and perhaps best of all, they don't peddle materialism or violence in their lyrics and image. They're one of the better French rap acts to emerge in a while.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier