The ILB World Cup Wallchart of Rap: Part One
It’s time to stock up on those spicy Phileas Fogg nachos, softly cradle your office sweepstake drawing of “New Zealand”, and bullshit everyone you know that “Dominic Adiyah will go far, I’ve been following his career for ages, he’ll surprise a lot of people” just because you saw 20 seconds of him bundling a ball over the line on YouTube. It is World Cup season, and up and down the country freelance chancers are currently churning out shitty “Here are some World Cup songs around at the moment” articles complete with the same five jokes about John Barnes rapping, Jurgen Klinsmann hanging out with the Village People etc etc. We’re a little more studied here at ILB, so instead allow us to present a brief look at the rappers from every qualifying WC nation.
South Africa: Pro Kid
Being as how Mexico’s musical landscape is notoriously dominated by the “narcocorrido”, or “drug ballad” paying homage to the nation’s leading cocaine smugglers, you’d assume that Mexican rap was full of that yay slanging, rock pushing, dopeboy rhyming. So instead here’s a rapper that, in his spare time, likes to edit his Wikipedia entry. A lot. This sounds like the kind of rap music that I used to hear on German satellite TV feeds back in 1998, and I’m pretty sure the lyrics translate as “If I collect 15 more Innocent Smoothie bottletops I get to record a track with Immortal Technique.”
Uruguay: Royal El Latino
I spent a load of time trying to find any real information on Royal El Latino other than he’s out of Brisbane but represents for the land of Diego Forlan and, y’know, all those other famous Uruguayans. In doing so, I listened to quite a lot of his back catalogue, and my summation review of it is best summed up by Homer J: “You… are… gay. Hahahahaha.”
France probably has the best documented hip-hop scene outside of the US, what with L’Haine, Saian Super Crew and TTC both having brief periods of popularity amongst freshers in the UK, and that one Missy Elliot song where yr man turns up and raps about playing hide and seek. And yet people still go “So Solaar and Solar are the same guy, right?” Fefe was formally in the aforementioned Saian Super Crew and is performing the Francophone language of the official World Cup anthem, “Wavin’ Flag”, with the ever-earnest and worthy K’Naan. Not really feeling the bit in this video where he raps at another guy’s crotch, tbh.
Argentina: Clave De Barrio
Are you really surprised that Argentine hip-hop sounds like someone flipping a Gotan Project sample for something that’d feature on track 11 of a DJ-led Ninja Tunes release circa 2002? Amazingly mellow for what is a, at least to my “A in GCSE Spanish” ears, an ign’ant track about fucking and bouncing, but then Argentines have more pressing concerns on their mind at the moment.
Nigeria: Da Grin
See, Nigerians can do something other than clog up Twitter with shit “unoufromlagos”-type hashtags. Da Grin understands what makes the rapper, and accordingly died last month. He opted for a drink-driving accent instead of anything more traditional, but one of the great things about global hip-hop is people putting their own individual spin on things. This is pretty much what all bitchless rap videos should be as well: a bunch of guys shot in black and white pulling meanfaces at the camera while wearing Sean John with occasional “poignant” shots of some poor people. Approved.
South Korea: Epik High
Someone tell Kim Jong-Il to get a move on and launch that fucking nuclear missile. Cheers.
Greece: Zontanoi Nekroi
Was hoping to write about Sniper from So Solid Crew here, who took all of his “21 Seconds” earnings and put it into buying Europe’s largest water park. However, dude is Cypriot not Greek, and despite Italy’s best capitulating efforts, the Cypriots will not be at this year’s World Cup. So instead here’s “Greek battle rap rew” Zonatanoi Nekroi to alternately bore you to tears and remind you strongly of the artistes from beloved gay porn studio Triga.