Europe and Hip Hop
Anthony Lane’s “Only Mr. God Knows Why” in June 28’s The New Yorker is a hilarious, albeit slightly mean, article about the Eurovision Song Contest, with everything from the rigged voting system to the nonsensical lyrics of “Eurovision English: an exquisite tongue, spoken nowhere else, which raises the poetry of heartfelt but absolute nonsense to a level of which Lewis Carroll could only have dreamed” (p. 41). Anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to decipher meaning from Abba’s “Waterloo” can take solace in that fact that the song was the group’s winning entry to the contest in 1974.
Americans get glimpses of Europop when groups like Aqua and Toy Box make it to our shores. On the other hand, other genres seem to have had slightly more difficult time making the journey. Still, there have been a few. Rammstein’s “Du Hast” offered a glimpse into the world German industrial rock, and while I’m still not quite sure how to classify Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping”, Europop it is not.
Back in 2004, DJ Nu Mark of Jurassic 5 released Hands On, a mixtape containing some original work along with hip hop he had collected during a world tour. Among these songs, “Samurai” and “Crewsong”, performed by Shurik’n and Schlechta Umgang, respectively, stand out. After watching the music video for “Samurai”, I can picture Shurik’n’s IAM as the French equivalent to the Wu Tang Clan. As for “Crewsong”, I couldn’t help but notice that one of the members of Schlechta Umgang kind of looks like Andre the Giant: OBEY. In both cases, I wish I knew what the lyrics meant.