In my high school years I would stumble across the occasional amateur rap battle or two during lunch or between classes. I attribute the excitement of those fleeting moments of grass roots rap to the birth of my love of rap (and previously mentioned amateur beatboxing dreams).
The songs listed are much better than anything I ever heard in high school and way beyond my own ability (oh to be able to lay down such cutting and clever rhymes!). While I still can’t rap (well) I can at least listen to these songs, nod along, and practice a line or two.
Ok or maybe not.
Salome MC – Price of Freedom. Both an artist and a musician this Iranian lady writes some rebellious rhymes covering everything from society, artistry, and ever present existential ambiguity. Like this? Try Gonahe Vojod.
Swings – Fallin (feat Jay Park). The self titled “Punchline King” of South Korea lives up to his name with some hard hitting lines. Feeling this? Try 이겨낼거야 2 (Victorious 2) and 달리자 (which also features many other famous Korean rappers).
Ana Tijoux – Somos Sur (feat Shadia Mansour). This French-Chilean rapper has been all over NPR lately and rightly so! I love her tracks 1977 and Shock as well.
Supersci – All Year Next Year. The 60’s almost Beatles-like electric tune to this Swedish rap group’s song immediately caught my attention. Want more? Listen to On The Grind.
Cut Killer– Nique la Police. This track mixed with Edith Piaf’s classic “Je ne regrette rien” speaks volumes about the tension surrounding modern French identity. Duly famous for the gorgeous shot it was used in the film La Haine (which go see now if you haven’t).
Shing02 with Nujabes – Luv (sic) Part 2. For all you smooth, chill beats lovers out there Shing02 is for you. Anime watchers out there may recognize him from Battlecry the theme of Samurai Champloo. There are six parts to the Luv(sic) set. Check out the full set here.
Whew! I may have bit off more than I can chew. There is a ton of excellent international rap and hip hop to choose from so stay tuned for updates. In the mean time leave your reactions or suggestions below!