Youssoupha did not turn on the radio. On May 21, the 41-year-old rapper does not listen to the morning hours, nor does he follow the debates of French news channels continuously. He was then 4,800 kilometers away and partied at the “Bang” in Abidjan, a nightclub run by one of his Flemish friends. The artist moved to the bustling Ivorian capital 5 years ago, following his wife who works in events with her two children Malick, 11, and Imany, 6. At 6 am - 8 am with us - he falls, in a WhatsApp group, reserved for his group of friends who organize football matches, on a video of a debate that talks about him.
Far from Paris, the musician then discovers a controversy that he did not see happen.
On his iPhone screen, he observes, incredulous, "people he does not know in ties who talk about him without understanding why," says one of his relatives.
In question, his song "Write my name in Blue" which accompanied the announcement of the list of 26 players selected to represent France at Euro 2021, composed last May behind the scenes of the filming of "The Voice Africa" where he is a coach.
Write my name in Blue,
Call out my name in Blue!
🇫🇷 # FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/KErYY40a6j
- French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) May 19, 2021
Among his detractors, the number two of the National Rally.
Jordan Bardella believes that choosing this artist is like “giving in to a scum part of France.
"Youssoupha is someone who, in his songs, has virulent lyrics when he calls for death threats against Eric Zemmour," adds the politician.
"He did not understand what was being reproached to him"
The debate ignites social networks.
What does it matter if Eric Zemmour had lost his trial in June 2012 after having lodged a complaint against the rapper and his words:
put a note on the head of the one who will silence this con Eric Zemmour.
The Paris Court of Appeal then considered that the incriminated passage did not exceed
"The permissible limits in terms of freedom of artistic expression". End of the story ? A priori. Until this song for the Blues which rekindled the fire on the far right side.
"There was no pretension to make it a hymn," Youssoupha insisted on the set of "Quotidien" on June 3. We wanted to take it slow. It was just to illustrate the listing announcement video. It was above all a song of mobilization. Since then, the artist no longer wants to talk about the controversy and will watch France's match against Germany this Tuesday in the garden of a friend's hostel in Paris. As a simple supporter. "He did not understand what he was criticized for," confides one of his relatives. He noticed the immense gap between French and African reality. This episode revealed to him a hysterized political life in which he does not want to take sides. No question for him to be part of this culture of reaction. "
To read also Song of Youssoupha for the Blues: not informed, Noël Le Graët regrets this choice
"I would have understood that such a thing falls on another rapper but on him, it is really the height, adds his friend, the footballer Bafétimbi Gomis.
Youssoupha is an example who has advocated living together for years.
It is the image of this team which represents plural France, of all origins.
The journey of this little blédard turned suburbanite who gives strength with his positive texts speaks to many people, me the first.
France needs an example like him!
Lovers of French literature
Born in Kinshasa to a French mother of Senegalese origin and a Zairian musician father, the young Youssoupha Mabiki Zola arrived in France at 10 years old and truly discovered rap in a home for Africans, his first home, then in the neighborhoods. popular where he grew up in Osny (Val-d'Oise). "He listened to MC Solaar and IAM, who talked about our daily life in the French ghettos, also read the classics of French literature a lot and did not need to work a lot to impress his teachers, remember his two little sisters Bintou and Siby. He took care of us a lot. We didn't have a lot of money. We had to share, for example, a Game Boy with five. So he made us redo the Fort Boyard proofs in our room. »Between two trips to Lake Cergy with the family,Youssoupha shines at school and even obtains 18/20 in the philosophy test of his literary baccalaureate, the best mark in the academy.
Once his diploma in hand, he leaves the family cocoon for a room in a university campus at the Sorbonne.
Before stopping everything to get into rap.
His first albums profit from a success of esteem.
Not enough to attract the majors.
He then decided with two associates to create his own independent label Bomaye Musik to self-produce and launch the careers of KeBlack and Naza and landed two pretty more pop hits, "Dreamin" in duet with Indila in 2012 and "Smile" with Madame Monsieur .
Respected for his chiseled and engaged texts
"Music is his life, he fell into it when he was little," slips one of his relatives, referring to his dad, Tabu Ley Rochereau, the African "James Brown", the first artist from this continent to have filled the Olympia in 1970. This culture left traces in his music, this desire to party. "But for all that, he never loses sight of" his conscious rap ", understand in texts and politics, as in his last album, the excellent" Neptune Terminus "released a few weeks ago.
A career that gives him a special status in French rap: that of a tutelary figure, extremely respected for his chiseled and committed lyrics. "
Who can claim to rap without taking a stand
, it's one of his most famous phrases," recalls Mehdi Maizi, head of hip-hop at Apple Music in France. Youssoupha is part of a generation of rappers who were the loudspeakers of the neighborhoods. "
“For him, commitment is not just about posts on social networks, he has always gone further, confirms Assa Traoré for whom the artist organized a support concert for his brother, Adama, who died during an interpellation. He got involved very quickly, very early on, like Omar Sy, against police violence. Unfortunately all the artists who get involved are attacked. Especially when they are scary and extremely intelligent like him ”