With its 1999 debut, Princesses Nubiennes (Nubian Princesses), French sisters in song Les Nubians watched their engaging French-language R&B/hip-hop take mainstream root in the U.S.—proving

With its 1999 debut, Princesses Nubiennes (Nubian Princesses), French sisters in song Les Nubians watched their engaging French-language R&B/hip-hop take mainstream root in the U.S.—proving you didn't have to know French to understand their musical message. Singer/songwriters Helene and Celia Faussart have returned with a rhythmic, cultural bridge-building itinerary that encompasses sojourns to Jamaica, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, London, Cameroon, and Paris. Whereas the pair's first album leaned heavily on the slow side, this sophomore set jumps vibrantly from high to low and light to dark. It's packed with introspective French and English lyrics, the sisters' honeyed vocals, and Afro-jazz, reggae, R&B/hip-hop, and pop. Though "Temperature Rising" with rapper Talib Kweli is the radio-targeted single, other tracks like "J'veux d'la Musique" (reminiscent of the O'Jays' "I Love Music"), African dance-vibed "Me & Me," and the pulsating "Insomnie" leave more lasting impressions.—GM

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