[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxF6NsutI44]

Nordic collaboration has never looked like this before. In terms of Hip Hop this is not the first time the northern European region comes together, not even the first (or second) time Finland and Sweden collaborate, but this one goes a bit deeper as the artists that have teamed up not only represent Stockholm and Helsinki, but also the lands they fleetingly mention in their bios: Congo and Gambia. Finnish-Congolese Gracias released an EP last year and was subsequently voted as the top Finnish future musician of any genre by professionals from various music industries. The new song ’40k Volts’ (which comes with the above video shot in Stockholm), is from his forthcoming album (which he recorded together with the producer JTT), and it features Swedish-Gambian Eboi who to some is known as a close collaborator of Swedish-Finnish-Gambian artist Adam Tensta (his Nollywood inspired video is recommended viewing). Gracias has been making music together with Finnish-Nigerian Noah Kin and Finnish-Liberian Ekow amongst others (more about Hip-Hop artists of African origin in Finland: here).

It’s all very international and drawing lines here might be both unhelpful and unnecessary. National identities are complex and it would be rather arrogant to start allocating them to artists who probably already feel frustrated over various genre and sub-genre allocations. Never mind the national identity: the artists’ shared identity here is a global cultural one – the one of Hip Hop; the one adopted around the world by legions of youths of past and present who can relate, but perhaps don’t fully belong, and not just in a sense that their origins lie elsewhere, but in a sense that they haven’t felt embraced by the mainstream of the society they live in – regardless of their hue.

Further Reading

Mobilizing in disorder

Post the looting and failed insurrection, what would it mean for the South African left to undertake a populist political strategy? And should it look to South America for inspiration? A long read.