Tuesday, 10 July 2012 08:17

Wired In Live from Roskilde Festival: Danish hip hop pt. I

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They seem to fit the stereotype perfectly. Loose-fitting t-shirts, lots of tattoos and the attitude to go with it. Mund de Carlo, also known as Carlos Demsitz, is a hip hopper, alright. But he's more than that - he's a business man with a love for his music that has driven him to explore new ways of using his potential and skills.

Freestyling: Something about your mum, and something about your genitals

Juliane (E&M) interviewing Mund de Carlo

I meet Mund de Carlo right after his performance at the Skate Scene at Roskilde Festival, where he participated in the Rap Battles - something between a poetry slam, a freestyle rap battle and a more regular performance. The rappers have prepared verses meant to diss their competition, but they rap without a beat and rely on the audience's good will to keep them in the tournament. It's a rough environment where you can't take offense when the weight of your mother or the size of your private parts are being used as lyrical weapon. I asked Mund de Carlo why the style of the freestyle battles is always like this, and he explained: "You have to think on your feet and while you are rapping one line, you need to come up with the next. At the same time, you want to please the audience, so the language gets rough sometimes because that's what comes to mind when you have to think that fast."

But there's more to rap battles than just insults, as Mund de Carlo goes on to explain: "The music that I make and put on my albums are quite well thought through. It's about what I feel about different things and not at all aggressive. A rap battle is a way to live out the aggression - like when boys used to fight in the school yard to blow off steam. It wasn't because they were mad at each other, they just fed off the aggressive energy that a fight could yield."

Making a living from your dream

It's incredibly tough to make a breakthrough in the music industry, and in Scandinavia, even well known and much loved artists need to keep a "regular" job on the side in order to make a living. This, however, is not the case for Mund de Carlo. He wanted to be able to live off his music. In an extremely competitive environment and with a somewhat limited audience because he raps in Danish, this was easier said than done. As a solution, Mund de Carlo and his friends founded the company Struglaz which records and publishes music, produces videos and hosts workshops all over Denmark. Especially youth clubs and high schools, but also various companies and organisations, have been taught the techniques of rap by Mund de Carlo and the rest of Struglaz, and by doing so, they have ensured that Mund de Carlo does not need to keep a regular job on the side. "We meet at 9 in the morning and treat this as a regular job, even though it might not be," he says.

You can check out Mund de Carlo's music here (in Danish). And check back soon for pt. II of Wired In Live about Danish hip hop!

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:14

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