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Sopico, rapper jammer – RFI Musique

The French singer Sopico, at the end of April 2022, in the Parisian concert hall of the Olympia.

© Edmond Sadaka / RFI

Armed with a guitar that never leaves him, Sopico cultivates his dashing radicalism and blows a new breeze in the neck of French rap. We recently met the twenty-five-year-old Parisian during his visit to Printemps de Bourges.

At the Palais d’Auron, one of the main stages of the Printemps de Bourges is the great confusion of the senses, the waltz of atmospheres, the vast zouk of impressions. Metallic, urban blues, rock nervousness, carnal sensibility, misty spleen. The same for the texts, there is this back and forth between first degree lightness and convincing metaphorical breakthroughs. On arrival, ears and legs do not always agree, each to their own verdict. And the tenacious impression that the coming extension – certainly for June – of his album clouds will be musically of another tonality.

He is like that, Sopico, both (de)maker of climates and scrambler of tracks. Stuntman too, like his clip Slide where, attached to a cable and guitar in hand, he balances down the facade of the Tour Pleyel, a disused skyscraper in Saint-Denis with a height of 130 m. A boy open to all escapes, capable of covering Otis Redding with Sting on the set of Taratata than of teaming up – when he was approached by Booba’s label – with Yodelice, the ultimate accomplice in Johnny’s artistic journey Hallyday, for the production of his record.

“Before deciding to work together, we made a few sounds and it matched directly. We have the same understanding of music and a certain openness. ‘we both have for the guitar”. There is no escaping it, on the guitar, his most faithful ally, the instrument responsible for his impulses of decompartmentalization.

“I use it as a weapon, but also as an easel. Because it’s always the guitar and my voice. And around that, a lot can happen. I like that there is this intimate connection between the instrument and me”. He says, in song, to be “the fusion of Nirvana and Wu-Tang”. Staggering audacity, without hanging on to the great respect for the guns.

Emulation and creation

Sopico took root within the 75th Session, a collective of Parisian rappers (but also of videographers and photographers) in which the Lomepal, Nekfeu or Georgio also passed. “I found myself in the company of people who had a desire for emulation, for creation. It lights your own flame. The underground and indie journey in rap. That’s what allowed me today to feel free to make music. I look to the past with tenderness and the future with determination”.

The one who is called Sofiane in civilian life oscillates between introspection and fantasy, sharp and sensitive. Always welded, over the titles, to an emotional relationship. Should we see there the symbolism of the tear that escapes from his face on the cover of the disc? “I wanted not to make a facial expression precisely to show that I was almost impassive. In reality, it comes to break this kind of poker face. But if we go a little further in the interpretation, there is only one tear and no one cries with one eye. This may mean that I am someone who is very protective of feelings and who explores emotions a lot. Feelings and emotions are two things that respond to each other and get along very well”.

Movie theater

We must also remember his breakaway two years ago in Eddiethe jazz series by Damien Chazelle (Oscar-winning director for La la Land). In addition to a role, Sopico collaborated on the soundtrack. “They were looking for artists who were both instrumentalists and performers. I didn’t hesitate because whiplash is one of my favorite movies. I was eating sweets in my bed when I received the double good news. Two weeks later, I find myself at the studio de la Seine with Randy Kerber and Glen Ballard who notably worked on the album Bad by Michael Jackson. It was a crazy experience and it definitely made me grow artistically“.

At ease in front of the camera, the rapper from the 18th arrondissement arouses envy. He discusses, does not rush. “If I find myself in the picture again one day, I want it to be where I am not expected. A kind of opposite”. Quite an art with him.

sopico clouds (Universal Music Division Polydor) 2021
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