Philippe Frangione, better known by his stage name Akhenaton, has become one of the highest-profile artists from Marseilles, France. He is without a doubt one of the most widely heard representatives of French rap music. Known under a pseudonym borrowed from ancient Egypt, the rapper first gained notoriety as a hip-hop theorist, publishing the influential essay "La Deuxième Génération du Hip-Hop" in 1988 in the fanzine Vé. After making his recorded debut that same year with Let's Make Some Noise, he helped form the group that would become the hip-hop coalition IAM, one of the most popular French hip-hop acts of its generation.
Akhenaton enjoyed substantial success with IAM. The group debuted on the Virgin label with 1991's De la Planète Mars (Of the Planet Mars), and 1993's Ombre est Lumière (Shadow is Light) featured hit tracks "Le Mia" and "Le Feu" ("The Fire"), which achieved substantial success in dance halls across France. The band's biggest breakthrough came with 1997's L'École du Micro D'Argent (The School of the Silver Mic), which was certified Gold a mere two days after its release. In the midst of all this success, Akhenaton also launched his solo career with Métèque et Mat (1995). As the members of IAM began to pursue their own solo careers, he began to focus on other projects as well, working as a music and film producer and founding his own publishing firm, La Cosca. He also continued to release solo albums, including Sol Invictus (2001), Black Album (2004), and Soldats de Fortune (Soldiers of Fortune) (2006), and he reunited with IAM for Revoir un Printemps (Revise a Spring) (2003) and Saison 5 (Season 5) (2007).
As a producer, Akhenaton has worked with artists like Passi, Stomy Bugsy, Fonky Family, Freeman, Chiens de Paille, and La Brigade. In addition to his publishing house, he has also created the record label Côté Obscur and the vinyl record label 361. Among his latest efforts are the television feature film Conte de La Frustration (A Tale of Frustration) (2010), which he directed, and We Luv New York (2011), a collaborative effort with fellow French rapper Faf Larage.