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The Strangers Deliver a Bouncy, Bilingual Summer Anthem

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three musicians stand in a darkened room with neon lighting
The Strangers consist of Lateef the Truthspeaker (left), Hervé Salters (center) and Leeroy (right). (Jules & Adele Salters)

If you’re looking for a fun, fizzy summer anthem with electro-pop optimism at its core, the newly formed group The Strangers have you covered with their debut single, “Movin’.”

In their inaugural effort, this eclectic crew — which consists of Oakland rapper Lateef the Truthspeaker, Parisian emcee Leeroy and Berlin-based producer Hervé Salters, also known as General Elektriks — delivers a memorable teaser for their upcoming album, slated for this September.

With an upbeat tempo and boom-bap lyricism, the song unites three artists from around the globe for a feel-good track that essentially promotes being outdoors and literally moving more. It’s perfectly timed for warm-weather outings and is clean enough to play for the entire family, which gives it an endearing touch.

It’s the kind of song that makes you want to get out of bed and move purposefully along with your day: “Handle all my bidness grab my coffee and my breakfast/ and my bag already packed so now I’m heading for the exit,” Lateef spits on the opening verse, like an experienced father on his way out the front door to put in an afternoon of work.

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Lateef, a celebrated Oakland wordsmith and founding Latyrx member, first tapped into the Parisian arts scene when he was touring Europe in the ’90s. That’s when he met Salters, a French native and the keyboardist for Blackalicious, the famed Sacramento hip-hop duo consisting of Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel. At the time, Leeroy was a member of France’s Wu-Tang-esque mega group of the decade, Saian Supa Crew, who toured with Lateef and Salters.

But while they’ve shared stages, the trio never actually made music together until now. The old friends reconnected at last year’s Marseille Jazz Festival in France, then re-configured themselves like updated Transformers to do what they do best: rap over cool beats.

“Movin’” offers a glimpse into their funky fusion of modern sound, punctuated by Lateef’s rapid-fire delivery in English and Leeroy’s curvy flows in French. It’s all held together by the appealing bippity bop bounce of Salters on keyboard production.

For now, I’ll be moving along to their tune and waiting patiently until their extended project drops.

The Strangers’ debut single, ‘Movin,’ is available on all streaming platforms.

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