Foreign Rappers You Should Check Out Immediately
Hip hop may have started off in the US but in the last few years rest of the world has been proving it’s more than able to keep up. Grime has brought British rap to the mainstream, other places around the globe may be next. Here is our list of the best foreign rappers and hip hop acts. That is, one’s that have come up outside of North America and Britain.
‘Daughters of Reykjavik’, for those who don’t speak Icelandic, are a collective of female hip hop artists. They released their first album RVK DTR this year after a successful kickstarter campaign. Iceland has a history of musical acts that don’t take notes from the industry and Reykjavíkurdætur are no different. The music is hip hop at its core but is something unique. The production is spacey in places and can feel more like a Bjork song than hip hop but even where it deviates furthest from hip hop, it’s grounded by the quality of the rap. Icelandic is already a difficult language to speak but Reykjavíkurdætur use it to capture the sound of their homeland and mainstream hip hop.
IAM are the granddaddies of french hip hop. Formed in 1989, the group have a long history with big acts like Wu Tang Clan and are a mainstay in french music. Their 1997 album L’ecole Du Micro Argent is commonly regarded as the defining album of the sound of french hip hop. Rather than copying the sound of american hip hop, theirs emerged at the same time. It’s clear they were influenced by american hip hop as much as american hip hop was influenced by them. Some of the earliest examples of hip hop songs with the kind of brass sections artists like Kendrick Lamar are so fond of are found in IAM’s work.
Swedish hip hop group Supersci are a household name to Scandinavian hip hop heads. They caused ripples in the underground with their 1998 EP Soundvalley. Clearly influenced by american hip hop their work sounds like hip hop fan fiction but with the production skills to back it up. Supersci do more than ape U.S. hip hop though; their music combines it with Euro-pop and jazz elements. Supersci can do what a lot of other groups do but not many can do what they do.
You can talk about trapping in your songs or claim to have a body count as high as your album sales but no mainstream rappers can claim to come from a place where hip hop is actually illegal. Salome MC is an Iranian rapper who uses her music to speak out against the government in Iran. Her music stands out for combining hard hip hop with a persian sound. On top of this, her passionate lyricism makes her worth paying attention to. As a graffiti artist and rapper in Iran, she’s the epitome of underground. She releases her work online rather than through a label and says she would still be doing so if rap wasn’t illegal in Iran. Even without the impressive backstory, her music earns her credit on its own.
Hailed as the most famous Korean rapper in the world, Tiger JK was an important figure in bringing Korean hip hop to the mainstream. A founding member of the group Drunken Tiger and currently heading up MFBTY, Tiger JK has stayed on top of the changes in Korean and global hip hop. His early work is influenced by west coast hip hop and has clear reggae inspirations. More recently his focus has turned to EDM production but Tiger has carried his signature rap style over with solid success.
Emicida’s story sounds like something out of a film. He gained attention for his ability to freestyle after videos of him in rap battles blew up online. The Brazilian rapper shot up off the back of this and has capitalised on the opportunity. He’s become a big name at home in Brazil and even if Brazilian rap isn’t your thing, you’ve probably heard his tracks in the game Max Payne 3 or elsewhere.
These are some of the best international rappers and hip hop groups around at the moment. Who would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.