He had arranged his apartment, stopped the concerts, but in his head it was still shaking. Julien Barthélémy, alias Stupeflip, releases “Stup Forever”, an album where humor crosses swords with anxiety. See you.
The intention is to please her by thinking of her again “race”. Failed: he “hate the word”, we hardly stopped the interview started. The term is however very practical to evoke with Julien Barthélémy twenty years of music under the name Stupeflip, four albums of paranoid, terrifying and funny rap, enriched by the fifth, Stup Forever, to discover this September 16, which will make us happy as in the past. But Julien Barthélémy is formal: if he is sure of one thing in his life, it is this “Anything but a careerist…”
How to prove him wrong? Stupeflip is probably one of the biggest musical misunderstandings of the 2000s. The author of a surprise hit in 2003 (I don’t smoke weed, with Jacno), has since alternated between success and purgatory. A UFO of French rap, surrounded by a cult of his followers, but too clownish, too rock, too pop to be taken seriously, despite his unfailing integrity. something antisocial “Who got hit in the stomach”, but makes children laugh with its texts filled with blind poodles and chocolate mysteries. What immediately lowers the credibility of an artist. A project, finally, of collective appearance (he always invited his friends MC Salo and Cadillac), while it is the work of a single person, from the music to the covers, everything is designed by his tormented attitude
The one on his new record shows him as Don Quixote astride his mule on an eerie dark night. His face is half hidden by a dirty plaster mask, which he wears on all occasions of his life as an artist. His costume is the same: T-shirt and slash pants. In the previous ones, he piloted a sunken spacecraft (Stupeflip, 2003), where an army of broken limbs straight out of Hieronymus Bosch’s hell leads the way (narcotic religion, 2005). The iconography of hope has no place in Stupeflip. On the moral side and future prospects, we think that the case is folded as usual, going to meet him in his den in the 13ᵉ arrondissement. Second mistake, Stupeflip is better. “Better and better”assures us Julien Barthélémy.
The proof, he arranged his apartment. Well almost. On the work table in his room-studio, which he leaves only in cases of extreme need, is piled up insignificant evidence of the hours and months spent, alone in front of his computer that contains everything: cigarette butts, tobacco crumbs, empty cans. , tangled cables, written lyrics and coffee-stained mugs. Nothing to fear: “In 2003, when the Paris Première came to film us, it was so dirty that they thought we rented the apartment, for the legend. »
Stup Forever he took five years. Five years of assembling small things: excerpts from films obtained from the Net, samples of symphony orchestras repeated in a loop that he had to replay completely on his computer, due to lack of budget to negotiate rights. Made of sweat, economy and stubbornness, Stup Forever want “a tribute to 90s rap”, his favorite time; that of Wu-Tang Clan, Dr Dre or A Tribe Called Quest. He never gave up on this holy trinity of America, even if he regrets it now “virilism” in the first two. “I’m really angry, like this ultra-capitalism they’re defending, but hey, I want the pulse. » With punk rock, his other teenage love, when he explored the concerts of Rage Against the Machine or Red Hot Chili Peppers, when they are on top.
Stupeflip was then in his twenties and came out of Arts-Deco after a turbulent schooling: an early orientation to boilermaking air conditioning, narrowly avoided in college. “As I have a talent for drawing, I passed a competition for access to the Lycée d’Arts Appliqués Duperré which allowed me to enter the Arts-Deco. Finally, I finished bac + 5 without a baccalaureate, and I have a lot of respect for men with a boilermaking CAP. »
“Continuing concerts will destroy me, physically, mentally.”
The right to failure, to weakness, Stupeflip made it the heart of his one act. Principles that he first applied to himself, holding with extraordinary awareness to each of his successes. Some examples? In 2014, he decided not to give concerts after a triumphant tour that was to open the doors of the Zénith, or even a Bercy. Going from thousands of screaming people to landing alone in a hotel room wore him out. “It’s called an emotional uplift and I never want to experience it again. Continuing would have destroyed me, physically, mentally. » His fans begged him; he has so far proved irreplaceable. “Obviously we are good, on stage, we are praised there, but this is an adulterated link, an artifice, like a drug. Jacques Brel, who vomits before his concerts, also thinks. » In 2017, he broke the record for musical crowdfunding in France: 430,000 euros collected in a few days to finance his fourth album and the clips. “This amount shown saddens me, it is the result of all the suffering of the concerts. I will not start again. I do not want to talk about it. »
If he can access a new wisdom of the fifties, in recent weeks, Julien Barthélémy still spends time watching the reactions of his audience to the first titles revealed on the Internet. And this restless nature is convinced of this, “they can be overwhelming”. Stup Forever, however, remains faithful to the doctrine established since his first album: a surprise cover full of punk-rap and self-deprecation, this time accompanied by a rare cool reggae bonus. title angry people, the song is a nod to the reggae-rap group Neg’Marrons, who rocked France in 1995 (“Money rules the world”), but above all a hymn to an existence which has banished all ill ambition. Like this life “gloomy” which he proudly admits for twenty years, with no going out, no travel, no shopping, no social life to reveal to the networks. “When I was working in graphic design, my bosses kept telling me: ‘But Julien, everyone wants to make money.’ It’s not true, I always make sure it’s not good. »
r Stup Forever (Dragon Accel / Modulor), released on September 16.