|Author: Paul Park, Ottawa, ON|
How do you mix hip-hop with hákarl? Groups of Icelandic musicians are showing the world just how easy it is.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper recently ran an article on “the world’s most barmy and brilliant rap scene.” Reporter Ben Murphy was surprised that the performers rap in their native language and appear in their videos in front of glaciers.
“It’s unavoidable,” MC Blær of the all-female group Reykjavíkurdætur told Murphy. “We are influenced by it since we live on an island surrounded by ocean. We are trapped in beautiful landscapes.”
Reykjavíkurdætur is a 22-member collective who love to shake things up. The group has only been together for a few months and made a splash when appearing at last year’s edition of Iceland Airwaves. Its tunes, with titles like Sjálfstæðisfyllerí, may confuse non-Icelanders. But Blær pays that no mind.
“It’s difficult for rappers to get world recognition if they are going to stick to their language, since the lyrics have such importance in hip-hop,” she told the Guardian. “But people don’t understand Sigur Rós or Björk most of the time and still they are praised all over the world.”
Other artists featured by Murphy were Geimfarar, Gísli Pálmi and Lord Pusswhip. Lord Pusswhip, a 20-year-old producer, has a new album that is about to be released in North America on Toronto’s Bad Actors label.