Cast aside all those preconceptions about elves and ethereal folk music, because it turns out hip-hop is big in Iceland. Sure, Sigur Ros are still helping us sleep every night and yes, Bjork remains their musical mother, but the nation's children have grown up to explore new musical worlds. First heard through a Nordic filter back in the late '80s, rap in Reykjavik and further afield has really taken off in the last few years. Naturally much of said music is in Icelandic and we don't know what they're saying, but this just makes it sound cooler. At this year's Iceland Airwaves festival, we were lucky enough to host four of the below on the i-D Mix stage and they were brilliant. Get to know our favourite key players from the scene…
Úlfur Úlfur won our approval and appreciation with their video for Brennum Allt, which seems to roughly translate as Let's Burn It All. Featuring their mate Kött Grá Pje riding around in a car full of dogs, the visuals follow Arnar and his pony through the city as Helgi gets back to nature. Get their guided tour to Reykjavik here.
Having experienced their live performance for which they wore nude bodysuits, it is clear that the daughters of Reykjavik don't give a fuck - about conforming, what you think of their bodies, or whether you're offended by their lyrics on the joys of anal sex. The 15-strong all-female hip-hop crew penned the Icelandic Slut Walk anthem and are pleased to disrupt what they still find to be a very male-dominated world. READ our interview with them here.
Gisli Palmi (+ Glacier Mafia)
Gisli Palmi is Reykjavik's little trap prince and the Glacier Mafia are his loyal royal court. A crew of rappers, producers, tattoo artists and graphic designers, they took i-D on a night out at Prikið, Reykjavik's oldest coffee house turned tiny debauched nightclub. It ruled. Does anyone remember hearing that Bam Margera got beaten up by an Icelandic rapper back in June? Yeah, that was Gisli. But according to reports, Bam was hassling female production staff backstage, so we forgive him.
Apparently a friend started calling him this once and it stuck. Describing his music as hypnagogic rap/electronica,LP is the handsome longhaired producer responsible for the ambient acid trip sound, at times glitchy and bass-laden, favoured by the likes of Antwon.
All white everything save for his icy blue eyes, Emmsjé Gauti called on the rest of the scene to join him in his recent video for Strákarnir, or 'the boys' in English. Starring Sturla Atlas and Gisli Palmi, Emmsjé gets a backie from Úlfur Úlfur's Arnar and the duo cruise the streets together before heading out for a skate.
Catchy, chilled and beautiful. This Aaron Carter-alike raps about cereal and loves a bit of colour. If Ryan Hemsworth was an Icelandic rapper, he might sound a little something like this.
Sturla Atlas (+ 101 Boys)
Those fuckboys want attention but I'm cold like it's snowing. Made by young but go-to creative brothers, Les Freres Stefson, we can't get enough of the video for Sturla Atlas' Snowin'. After his morning smoothie, follow SA as he takes his hoverboard for a ride in his Motorhead hoodie. Colour schemes always on point, he falls for Emmsje Gauti's little sister Young Karin and gets emotional… but he could totally get her with that yellow car. That shot where he makes it rain is killer too. His crew, 101 boys, (named after Reykjavik's central postcode) have wicked merch and even their own zine.
Topics:music, iceland, hip hop, reykjavik, icelandic hip hop, Úlfur Úlfur, reykjavíkurdætur, gisli palmi, glacier mafia, lord pusswhip, emmsjé gauti, gkr, sturla atlas, 101 boys, iceland airwaves, young karin