• Jul realizes the dream of many Marseillais: to fill the Vélodrome stadium for a concert.

  • 20 Minutes

    found some of his childhood friends, neighbors and acquaintances from his neighborhood of Saint-Jean-du-Désert.

  • Generosity, shyness, tireless worker, anecdotes and absences, they deliver their memories of Julien Marie, the French rapper who sells the most records.

“I can still see him leaving in his twingo to be a security guard.

Sometimes he worked at the Stade Vélodrome and patted people at the entrance.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of people will be patted down to go see his concert, ”puts Michel into perspective.

At 55, Michel knew Jul.

It was his building neighbor.

Same boulder, the 21st, him on the 3rd, Jul, his brother Mat' and their mother Nat' on the first.

“Well, I know Julien, not Jul…” Understand the child, the teenager and the man he has become;

not the artist.

Strolling through the small streets of his HLM Louis Loucheur complex, in the Saint-Jean-du-désert district, twenty small, well-kept four-storey blocks with a pretty alternation of white and ocher facades, Michel rewinds his memories.

"He drove me crazy", "the truth is missing"

It's been five years now that Julien Mari, the biggest French record-selling rapper, left his neighborhood for a villa that we imagine cozy on the heights of La Ciotat.

“The truth is lacking in the city;

he was bringing.

Not only him, his family too, his brother, his mother…”, regrets Michel who used to hear the apprentice artist from his window.

“He drove me crazy, but I always told his mother, who feared for his future, that he had a gift.

Everyone here describes him as a huge hard worker, polite and friendly, discreet, reserved and almost unhealthily shy.

"Frankly, a good guy", summarizes Marie-Claude, 75, former president of the association of tenants of this city in the southern districts of Marseille where life is still good.

In his phone,

the lady searches and posts some photos of the neighborhood genius.

She understands that he has gone elsewhere.

“It was getting unmanageable.

Girls came to sleep in front of the door of his block, ”says Marie-Claude.

“Others came in and rang the bell on all floors,” adds Michel.

“Besides, it's like when you win the lottery.

The first thing they tell you is to leave.

But I'm sure he suffers from it.

At first, he sometimes came back to sleep alone in the apartment which was still rented, but which the family no longer occupied.

He needed this.

»

The first thing they tell you is to leave.

But I'm sure he suffers from it.

At first, he sometimes came back to sleep alone in the apartment which was still rented, but which the family no longer occupied.

He needed this.

»

The first thing they tell you is to leave.

But I'm sure he suffers from it.

At first, he sometimes came back to sleep alone in the apartment which was still rented, but which the family no longer occupied.

He needed this.

»

Further in the district which has kept its soul of an old village stuck to Marseille for a time popular with the bourgeois and industrialists, the residents of the church square remember Jul and his team making "the òaï" (the bazaar in Provençal).

"I'm a big mouth and I didn't mind going to tell him," says Michèle, an 85-year-old resident whose apartment is on the corner of the square.

“Even one day I said to him: 'stop with your firecrackers – he was making one – you are poisoning yourself there'”, laughs the Marseillaise.

“Well, he always remained polite, he gently honked at me when he saw me during the day.

»

The kids in the neighborhood also have their share of memories.

Marlon, 15, takes the little ones on a scooter on this Wednesday afternoon while waiting to go to football.

“He came each time with big cars, like Lamborghini.

Once, he came back loaded with boxes full of clothes from his label, gold and platinum.

He unpacked everything on the square and called everyone to help themselves.

This generosity, this attention, also marked Michel.

“With each new record, he slipped one into the neighborhood boxes.

When he was shooting his clips here, at the end of the day, he would treat everyone to pizza, ”he cites as an example.

"There's no more Jul here"

Testimonies to the past that show that the rapper has definitely turned the page on his neighborhood.

A fact that leaves a bittersweet taste to his old childhood friends.

"There's no more Jul here", short cut "Microb".

Seated at the end of the day at the local bar with their lemonade-grenadines, “Microb”, “Karim de Saint-Jean”, “KTS” and “Azdin” were part of the first circle of Jul’s debut.

“We were there to give him strength at the start, now Julien is gone, he is living his life, good for him”, they comment soberly.

However, the team remained united.

In 2018, the year following Jul's departure, the troupe set up its own label:

La Puenta records .

(taken from the neighborhood nickname: Saint-Jean-la-Puenta).

Spearheaded by Mehdi YZ, rapper of the generation just below Jul, who is also relatively successful with two albums and ten million streams on

Spotify

.

"It's the Mehdi team now", we smile.

Necessarily, we understand implicitly that in the neighborhood Jul has not always had only friends.

"Jul la p*te", can we still read in a discreet marker tag made a long time ago, it seems, on the sign indicating the neighborhood grocery store.

With the last word crossed out by the same marker that wrote those letters, though still guessable.

But no one here speaks ill of him.

“In truth, he remains a local guy who has succeeded and who is a model.

Even if he no longer comes, ”we conclude.

Love, glory and memories, this is what remains in Saint-Jean-du-Désert by Julien Mari.

Jul writes his story.

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  • Jul

  • Marseilles

  • Paca

  • Culture

  • Rapper

  • Velodrome stadium

  • Piece

  • Concert

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