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HELL SINKY TRACK 3: A Cloud of Smoke

It’s only my second month at GP. Suddenly, a guy I don’t know enters the scene. Shaved head, confident in his way of speaking. Thierry goes all out to please him. Within 30 minutes, he’s offered him three coffees, and even a sandwich… that he clearly didn’t have on him. When JR arrives, the two men greet each other cordially. Knowing JR’s impertinence and irreverent nature, it’s already a great show of respect. They talk, while I continue drinking my coffee and working on yet another article about Kanye West. This time, it’s about his solid gold toilets in his mansion with his wife Kim K.

Beyond the self-centeredness of the character, I wonder why people from our neighborhoods, when they succeed in life (or in crime, for that matter), feel the need to shout it to the world. I promise you, someone from the neighborhood, when they make a million, the bling-bling becomes their profession of faith. No matter how much they say “Hamdoula” all the time, they’re thinking Porsche and shitting Louboutin. And then they’re surprised to be married to a gold digger. Well, Kanye West is the epitome of genius, madness, bling-bling, and perhaps at times, deep stupidity that lurks within us all. I imagine that a kid from the neighborhood always ego-trips… in rap as in life, whether rich or poor.

While the two men discuss “important” matters, I question my role as a “journalist” writing articles about Kanye West’s solid gold toilets. After a few “Hail Marys,” I recall a brilliant statement from the mother (director) of one of my friends. I was invited to dinner at their house, and the TV was showing Burger Quiz. Wanting to be an enlightened intellectual, I said, “Don’t you want to turn it off?” And she replied, “Yes, if you want. You know, if everyone watched Arte, TF1 wouldn’t get its ratings.” Yes, we get the journalists and programs we deserve. And it’s not a 15-year-old “too underground, smoking for six months” who will convince me otherwise, even if he swears by Davodka and freestyles over violin samples, thinking he’s a classical prodigy.

I still ask Thierry who the guy resembling a skinhead is. He tells me he’s “the money.” JR has many contacts in the world of rap. He can do anything, but he didn’t have the fuel at that time. So, his friend Sam invested in the company. On paper, the company belongs to JR, but behind the scenes, Sam is the one footing the bill. JR enters the office: “Well, we have to release this guy.” When I started at GP, I thought I would produce the French Kendrick Lamar, or at worst, Drake, okay, maybe Lil Wayne. And there, to my disappointment, JR himself presents us with Sam’s artist, MC Psychopath. Just the stage name makes me laugh. But no, it’s not a joke! JR, as usual, leaves and leaves us to handle the rest. I have the chance to talk to Sam. You can’t judge a book by its cover. He’s a rather enlightened and friendly man, and as for his “skin” side, well, his children are mixed-race…

MC Psychopath shows up the next day. He’s not very tall. Of course, he does gangsta rap. And he’s not bad. Sam has an ear, they say, especially for technicians and sometimes for generating buzz. As for the technicians, since the end of the boom bap wave in France, “Life is not easy.” Indeed, if you take a look at a Rap Facebook page that spreads punchlines, you’ll quickly realize that the punchlines that work are the ones about “love for mothers,” “your girl is a b*tch,” or “your friend is a traitor,” highlighting the Oedipus complex of French rap. MC Psychopath settles into Thierry’s dusty studio, which he currently uses to listen to Fauve, his melancholic delusion… Fauve knows how to speak to the suicidal and all the depressives that Paris has produced.

JR is absent, and we manage the office ourselves. On the other side, Colin, JR’s associate and manager of Hell.com, indulges in modern communication, which is essentially organized swindling. He also wants to launch a childcare company. For now, the only children he’s taking care of are us. We go into his office every morning for a “briefing.” It’s the kind of thing that serves absolutely no purpose. When he gets to me, I utter this historic phrase: “Well, we’ll continue with the articles.” And he replies, “That’s good.”

But there was an incident. Hell.com is not specialized in rap. One day, a client enters, passes by Colin with a surprised look on his face, and enters the open space. He shakes my hand and says, “Hello, Mr. Colin.” I tell him he’s mistaken and that Colin’s office is at the entrance. He responds that he thought I was the security guard. Well, rap is definitely not “Center Parcs,” but at least in our circles, a slightly dark-skinned person at the entrance isn’t necessarily a security guard. I faced extreme left-wing comments all day.

The studio resembles the smoky cash register of a character from “Scary Movie.” MC Psychopath and Thierry compete in smoking weed, apparently. When he comes out of the studio with his hair tousled, eyes red from cannabis, he looks like a psychopath from a distance, followed as he should be by MC Psychopath, less affected by the weed and all that follows. Colin asks us to find a new secretary while his salesperson slams the door, threatening to call the “fraud enforcement.” He leaves, Scarlet O’Hara-style, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” We don’t worry too much anyway; it’s not us, poorly paid or unpaid employees, who will be “enforced” upon. I post an ad on a website…

Then Sam returns to the studio, looking satisfied. We have a drink on GP’s terrace, covered with remnants of our visit to KFC earlier in the day. MC Psychopath has just finished his album. JR succeeded. Releasing Sam’s artist’s album allows him to sleep peacefully for a while before the label starts making real money.

But the next day, we get a call. It’s Sam asking if Thierry sent the album for pressing. After gathering information, I respond affirmatively, and he hangs up. JR arrives at the office 20 minutes later and asks to see Thierry. He looks so furious that I don’t even dare to look him in the eye. Thierry sent the “wrong version” (worse than an unmastered track) everywhere, from the pressing to the platforms.

It’s over; we don’t have a penny left!

ZEZ
ZEZ
C.E.O HELL SINKY, author, journalist, documentary

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