One of the more impressive of a new wave of French hip-hop groups expanding throughout the 90s, Iam were formed in Marseilles at the beginning of the decade. After an independent debut that was not released internationally, they signed with Virgin Records for their second album. Oembre Est Lumiére, the title translating as Shadow Is Light, was a sprawling, 40-track package conducted over a double album, featuring a cocktail of American-derived, funk-based hip-hop. Alongside the work of MC Solaar, it became the first French rap album to sell significantly outside of mainland Europe, aided by strong reviews in the USA and UK. These included a five-star rating from H.H.C. magazine. Taken from the album, Je Danse Le Mia won an award for Iam as the best band of the year during the Victoires De La Musique ceremony.