Origins”, a new beginning – RFI Musique

With Neptune Term: OriginsYoussoupha offers ten unreleased tracks including the single appealan incursion into South African house, and invites Georgio, Lino and Benjamin Epps. Passing through Paris, the rapper who has been living in Abidjan for a few years gave us an interview where he talks about his musical passions, his ambitions as an African producer and his vision of today’s rap.

RFI Music: In Zairianyou mention your departure from the Bomayé Music label, which you founded…
We are three partners, me, Lassana and Philo, the boss. Philo has been my big brother since I was 17, when I was still in high school. We are always at the top of the agreement, but since I am in Abidjan, he is in Kinshasa and Paris, we no longer have the same dynamic on ideas. And me, in my head, I detach myself from the Parisian way of doing things that we had. I set up a new structure in Abidjan, WeThe99, which has more of an artist’s DNA. I want to go see African projects that start from Côte d’Ivoire, from the French-speaking sub-region, even from the Congo. Bomayé continues. We have a common history, common artists. But I, Youssoupha, am writing a new story. I restructure the family in a different way. I’m not going to lie, it costs me. We stay connected, but I need something of my own.

For some time, rap has “zumbaïsé”. Does conscious rap still exist?
I feel like in the last few years I’ve been rapping more sentimentally than consciously. I speak to the heart more than to the head. polaroid experience, My kingit’s about my lineage, my son, and I have less titles like Death threat or By dint of saying it. We are in the middle of an election period and my first single is appeal. South African house, when we could have expected a political pamphlet. Despite everything, I subscribe deeply to this lineage and I don’t like it being said badly about it or minimized. In The day I stopped rappingI was saying “It all went down the drain when conscious rap became an insult”. People who do conscious rapping try to raise the bar and it would be unfair and demeaning for them to be the shameful part of rapping. And let’s not forget that those who are said to be conscious rappers are the ones who have lasted the longest. Medina, Kery James, me, Disiz, Soprano. It may not be fashionable, but it makes people last.

And Booba?
Booba also because at one time he brought that color.

What do you mean when you say “Words are not enough” ?
An example that will sound caricatural, but it’s on purpose: Jul, in his economic accomplishment, the way he imposes his culture and his way of doing things, his dress code, his way of speaking, of producing his records, is a form of activism. He sings Stolen Cross because it’s his daily life and if it suits him, very well. But casually, where before, we needed to say in the songs what we were planning to do, when it’s Organized Gang, Classico Organized or his label D’Or Et De Platine, he creates a form of activism. And it inspires young people. I may have made big songs, but I think Bomayé Music brought even more commitment than my texts alone.

What was the reason for your move to Abidjan?
Already I have a facility, I was not born in France, I have a different mentality than the guys in my neighborhood in Cergy. My wife was born in N’Djamena, I in Kinshasa, we also grew up there. Travel is part of our journey. Discovering a new life destination, we have that in our DNA. Around 2015, we felt something was wrong. We didn’t feel well for many reasons. Socially, we wanted something else for our children. We hesitated between Montreal and Abidjan, we wanted to change software. It’s been six years and it feels good. People have told me that the fact that we go there gave them courage. I tell them that there is no need for courage, it’s a move like any other. I could have gone to Montreal, Tokyo or London. I heard Zemmour say “Youssoupha campaigns for remigration”I am not campaigning for the remigration of anyone! Everyone does what they want and if you ever feel good in Nantes, stay in Nantes, or in Barcelona, ​​or go to Kinshasa, to Dakar, do as your life demands. France is not an end in itself, that’s just what I’m saying.

“I run after paradise, love, money” (Heaven). Heaven is money?
An expression that I like is “PADA”, “Poor with money”. The rich know how to manage their money, it’s in their DNA, good for them. While the poor with money, they spend it, they settle frustrations, they need to affirm it. Me or those around me, we still have this complicated and conflicting relationship with money, even when we earn it. We run after money, but we haven’t been taught how to manage it.

Half of the sounds on the album were designed by Sam Heaven. Who is he ?
He is the son of a pastor from the North, Lille-Roubaix, rocked by church music, very pious but who has his share of enjaillement. He has a gospel spirit that I really like, he is touched by grace and light when he composes. He is very young, 21 years old, and he brings me a freshness that I needed. He was the one who had the idea to do an amapiano track, he sent me a prod, I started doing a freestyle, a second verse. Eventually, it became the single.

You oppose being right and being happy…
It’s one of my central lyrics, it’s been the subject of discussions with those close to me. In a time of constant debate where everyone wants to have the last word, I realized that it was a lot of wasted energy, which deconstructs us. When there was controversy over my song for the France team, lots of people told me to go on set to defend myself. At that time, I was in Abidjan in my best life with my children, I was happy. The question arose, did I want to get up to do the morning show of France Inter or BFM and kill myself with Gilbert Collard (far right MEP, editor’s note), really? Was it my priority to be right? Oh no. I made the right choice, I prefer to be happy. Wanting absolutely to be right takes away intelligence, common sense, nuance.

French rappers have often defended the idea that you can no longer rap after a certain age, like athletes…
I thought so in my twenties. Actually not at all. Young rappers save us at this level. As one is the new variety, the palette is wide. You have Bigflo & Oli, Kery James, Damso, Gaël Faye, 47Ter and PNL, I just mentioned six without momentum, and the musical palettes have nothing to do! I feel African, performance rapper, I don’t like to be young so I assume my quarantine, and there is also room for that. So, I have fun.

Voting is important to you?
I voted in the first round, but I didn’t know if I was going to make it. For the second round, no need to ask me who I’m going to vote for, but I’m tired of it being this type of blackmail all the time. That’s part of the reason I was less excited about the vote. The famous vote “against”, it starts to be cliché. I am 42 years old, my first vote was in 2002, and since then I have the impression of voting to dodge the worst social project.

Youssoupha Neptune Term: Origins (Music Bomayé/Believe) 2022
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