Reviews | Album
Josman is a very talented rapper. After a few EPs and a first album “J.O.$” in 2018, the artist released a new opus in March 2020 called “SPLIT”. He worked on it with the same team as usual, including Eazy Dew (his beatmaker). A lot of French youth people had really high expectations about it. For me, it’s a very successful album. It has a lot of different tracks but, at the same time, the album is coherent and consistent. Let’s have a look on this 23 tracks album: “SPLIT” by Josman.
• An amazing rapper in a cold world
Josman is a really technical MC. Nobody can argue against that. His rhymes and his flow are great. You can look it up on Genius, the rhyming patterns that he creates are breathtaking. Josman can do magic on every kind of instrumental. Even some 90’s style beats. He also uses a lot of voice effects with talent, like in the track “Seul” [Alone]. This great rapper is also very talented to create some melodies also.
Josman is aware of his talent. He likes to speak about it during his ego-trip. These lines in “B!TCH” (Feat. Hamza) is a good example of it: “True nigga, real motherfucking black man, I have Ramos’ hit / She want to fuck with J.O.S., there is me phone number in her iOS / She wants sex in the Mercedes, I am the best, I am the Best”.
However, what pops in my mind when I listen to his Album is the gap between Josman and the worlds that surround him. In most of the tracks of the album, the rapper describes a dark world. In “Factice” [Artificial], Josman describe a world where “nothing is true, everything is fake / Nothing scares me, but everything sadden me / This world I despise, this fucking world which annoys me”. Most of the time Josman’s world is full of people who betray, who are fake (“There are a lot of bitch’s sons in this world who act like traitors” – Bon.Char).
In fact, this is a real obsession for Josman. In his text, he is the trillest and most people act fake. It isn’t about the gangster side of it but it’s more about honesty, authenticity and truth. He isn’t playing a role. He is just being himself. Like he says in “Bon.Char” : “I have my values and my principles”, “True nigga I will keep it real”.
This gap between himself, who tries to be honest, and the worlds that surround him, full of traitors, fake peoples and injustice, need to be filled. His solution? Weed, sex and money. Maybe not the best solution possible…
• Weed, sex and money
Besides this dark world, “SPLIT” is really about lifestyle. Precisely, it’s about Josman’s lifestyle, which is mainly compound of music, sex, weed and acquiring money. It could be summed up through this line in “Petite Bulle” [Little Bubble]: “Cute boy, big stoner, big hustler”.
Weed is maybe the first strong habit he has. According to himself, smoking blunts is a medicine to escape this dark area. If he smoke a lot it’s mainly because of “this fucking life” (Petite Bulle). It’s a well-known fact that weed is good against anxiety. Josman’s environment is so dark that he needs weed to release the pressure. It’s also because of himself that he smokes so much: “I smoke a lot because I am paranoiac” (Argent, Drogue & Sexe (Feat. Seth Gueko)). Whatever the initial reason, smoking weed is a strong habit for him. A habit that he describes as “a disintegrative attitude of a little autistic man” (Petite Bulle). Finally, he just smokes to pass the time far away from problems.
Another favorite medicine that Josman use to escape this world is sex. Women play a big part of this album. “Fleur d’Amour” [Flower of love], a short track, is a tribute, a love declaration to pussy. In fact, of the 23 tracks, 5 directly concerns Josman’s relation with women: “Lifestyle”, “Fleur d’Amour”, “B!tch (Feat Hamza)”, “Argent, Drogue & Sexe” (Feat. Seth Gueko) and “BabyGirl”. Most of the time, Josman describes short relationships. In “Lifestyle”, he explain it without detour: “Baby you know well that I don’t have time, you know my lifestyle / While we still young, come to do it for fun” (sex for those who didn’t understand). But, sometimes, it seems that the rapper doesn’t want deep relations because he doesn’t want to be hurt. In the same track, Josman says “But you, you would like us to love each other / But me, I don’t want us to bleed”. Only “BabyGirl” (the last track of SPLIT) seems to be addressed to a loved girl.
However, smoking weed and seeing women are good medicines for Josman but these aren’t his goal. He seems to have only one: work his music to make money. He describes it as his only quest (“Bon.Char”). He talks about it in each of his tracks. It’s clearly his main goal. And it seems that he has begun to acquire some money. At least, he “left misery”.
• A very good album
Josman, “inspired by [his] uneasiness or by blunts that [he] smokes”, delivers us a very complete album. The variety of instrumentals, the quality of featurings and the global atmosphere make this album very good.
In an interview with CliqueTV, the rapper explained that we wanted to create a “lifestyle” album with a huge variety of songs. He succeeded in his bet! Most of the tracks are inspired by trap music. However, the musical atmosphere of each individual track can be very unique. It can be some really dark and sad beats like in “Larmes de Sels” [Salty Tears] or some cloudy and chill beats like “Feu.Bi” [verlan of “biff”, meaning money] or “Lifestyle”. The album also contains some instrumentals which sound more 90’s, more boombap, like “Argent, Drogue & Sexe”. There is a really good dancehall track called “Je sais” [I know] with some guitar melody. On every track, Josman (and his guests) killed the instrumentals!
Talking about featurings, Josman invited a lot of great artists. Here again the variety is huge; from the old generation, like Seth Gueko, and the new one, like Chily. For an album of 23 tracks, Josman decided to do the most just by himself. There are “only” five collaborations (which is still way more than PNL). All of them are quality ones! The feature with Leto, the “Trap Star” as he calls himself, for “Mauvaise Humeur” [Bad Mood] is a really good hard trap banger. It’s the same for “Bruce Wayne” with Zed, from Sevran, and a member of 13 Block (the hottest trap team in France right now). The one with Seth Gueko, “Argent, Drogue & Sexe” was more unpredictable. The beat is changing from trap to boombap. It’s a very good track! The song with Hamza is maybe the less novel. Both of the rappers are in their comfort zone but the track is a success. Finally, the song with Chily is great and surprising. Josman and his very melodic guest deliver us an original and uncommon trap song: “Dégaine”.
Finally this album is for me a great one thanks to his global coherence. Through his text, but also through the musical atmosphere of it, Josman delivers us a very good project! I would describe it like a dark and sad atmosphere full of hope. As he says: “I’ thinking about tomorrow, I have regrets about yesterday / Real nigga looking for the light / My sacrifices fill my fridge / Thank you, sorry in my prayers / Because I did good things but also bad ones / Too many times I acted like an animal / But I stay authentic besides my original sins / I don’t act like a puppet / I am always working / I have few bitches under my spell / But I keep my values and my principles” (in “Bon.Char”, which is clearly my favorite rack of this album) .
To conclude, SPLIT by Josman is a great album that I would definitely recommend to every rap listener. In this turbulent time, it’s always good to stay focused, to keep your values and principles and to act on the good side; like Josman. Just, don’t use too much medicine to escape this world… Whatever is yours.