From gangsta rap to French presidential politics: The colourful career of Mr Evil - François Hollande's new speechwriter


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The Independent Online

President François Hollande has a new speech writer - whose pen name is “Mr Evil”.

He is also one of France’s most respected commentators on rap music.

And while most people would agree that Mr Hollande’s speaking style is dull, his choice of new script-writer does appear, however, rather extreme.

Is the French president also going to abandon his dark undertaker's suits and change his name to, say “Fat Frankie Dutch?”

Unfortunately not. Pierre-Yves Bocquet, 40, already works in the Elysée Palace. He is a sober-looking, bespectacled, meticulous man who has attended all the usual finishing schools of the French political elite.  He will become Mr Hollande’s new speechwriter later this month.

Mr Bocquet has, however, a second life, as “Pierre Evil”, a music journalist and expert on rap. He has written a much admired French book on gangsta rap.

Fred Hanak, a French musician and journalist, says that he is “one of the three best French critics of rap”. He describes him as an “undercover character in the manner of Batman or Banksy or Kissinger”.

Many people in the music world do not know that Mr Bocquet is also as senior political operative, who attended the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), the pinnacle of the French educational pyramid. Many people in politics were unaware, until his cover was blown by the French press this week, that he was also an expert on American (but not French) rap music.

Pierre-Yves will now, he has let it be known, give up being Pierre Evil (get the pun?). He has left his musical career behind and will concentrate on his new job of making Mr Hollande interesting and exciting.

There is no question, it seems, of turning the President’s speeches into rap lyrics. Pity. But one can always dream.