Swedish Language Blog

“På svenska fin, if you know what I mean” (The evolution of Swedish Hip Hop) Posted by on Jan 10, 2011 in Culture

1989 Neneh Cherry aka Neneh Marianne Karlsson – Buffalo Stance. Hip Hop was already popular in the early 1980s in underground clubs in Sweden, but the critics and the media didn´t really appriciate the genre until the breakthrough of Neneh Cherry. Neneh´s brother Eagle Eye Cherry is also a famous musician. Maybe you guys remember one of his bigger hits Save tonight. Neneh has a stepsister as well named Titiyo who is also a successful Swedish performer. You might remember tracks like Come Along with me or Longing for Lullabies with Kleerup. Neneh works on several music projects and  as a popular DJ as well. She has done several cooperations with other Swedish and international artists like Gorillaz, Youssou Ndour, Teddybears Sthlm, Petter, Kleerup and many more.

1989 Leila K (Laila El Khalifi) – Got to get. A hip hop/dance artist from Bergsjön, Gothenburg. Her father used to be against her anti-muslim lifestyle and tried to send her to a school in Morocco to improve Leila´s manners. But she didn´t fit into the system. After only a year she came back to Sweden and moved to Stockholm. After winning a RAP-contest she launched her career with the help of the DJ duo Rob´n´Raz. And the whole continent was shaking the foundation to Got to get. Unfourtunately, she managed to go bankrupt although she was the best selling female artist in Europe in the beginning of the 90s. The problem-ridden star has had alcohol and drug problems ever since and ended up as homeless on the streets of Stockholm. In 2003 the Swedish TV-reported that she was not only living on the streets but stealing her food as well. A very tragic story. I hope she will be able to clean her head out and make a comeback one day.

1993 Just det! – Vart tog den söta, lilla flickan vägen? (Where did the sweet, little girl go?). The song was inspired by the Jamaican song “The naughty, little flea.”  This year there was a book released with the same title by the Gothenburgian author Åsa Lantz. Her crime story is about a Chinese girl Yi Young who is now 30 years old and wants to tell her true story to the Swedish media. She was 15 years old when she arrived to Sweden but it wasn´t work that was waiting for her but abuse, prostitution and violence.

2000 Thomas Rusiak – Hiphopper. It is a sarcastic hip hop song with rocky beats about the genre hiphop. The song was co-produced with Teddybears Sthlm.

2000 Petter – Så klart! (Of course!) Petter is considered as the master of authentic Swedish hip hop in Swedish language.

2000 The Latin Kings – Det är knas. (Problematic) I think a lot of young people used that year this expression. The Latin Kings did not only make an impact on music both in Swedish and Spanish, but on the Swedish hip hop language as well.

2000 Melinda Wrede – Relationsteori (Relationship theory). She is one of the few female artists in Sweden that could make a hit song in this genre. In this song she tells us how a man should treat her. The list is long and she is very demanding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYpEVPKYX2E 2002 Fattaru? – Festen är här. (The party is here.) Fattaru means in spoken language `Got it?`like in Understand it?. In quick speech you have many assimilations between different sounds in Swedish like; Fattar du? – Fattaru? Hej då! – Hejrå!, Vad heter det/heter du? – Va hettere/hetteru? 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLvQbkj-exE 2003 Timbuktu – The botten is nådd (The bottom is reached). He is a hip hop artist with original texts and lovely Lund/Skånska-dialect in Swedish. He is a true author. A song about hangover and regret.

2006 Snook – Kommer ifrån (Coming from) In 2006 they were awarded by MTV as the best Swedish Hip Hop act. It is an old hip hop group and they always come up with something year after year. They are well-known of their funny texts.

2007 Maskinen – Alla som inte dansar. (Everyone who doesn´t dance) Everyone who doesn´t dance is a rapist….So you know next time you go to a Swedish disco. This is a  very grotesque and sarcastic track with Swedish black humor.

2009 Adam Tensta – My cool.  He is a new and internationally well-known Swedish artist from the suburb of Tensta in Stockholm. It is maybe an interesting thing to mention for all you language learners that in this area there is a big amount of Swedes with immigrant background. Many of the citizens speak a so called Rinkebysvenska. That has a big potential to develop into a dialect in Swedish in the future. There are similar variants of Swedish in other suburbs like Rosengård in Malmö or Angered in Gothenburg. It is originally influenced by foreign vocabulary, immigrant accents and local dialects of course. But for a really long time it was considered as an accent. It is a very interesting language phenomenon.

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  1. Judy:

    So interesting that many of these artists are people of color and from minority groups in Sweden. Hip Hop in America emerged from the African-American urban sub-culture and it seems to have transferred in the same way to Swedish culture, too.

  2. Tibor:

    Well, the list could be longer. Feven, Fattaru, The Latin Kings etc. I think around this time you had SNAP, Soul II Soul and KLF. I think they were also excellent artists of the late 80s/early 90s

  3. Carl-Johan Sveningsson:

    How awesome that someone would make this summary, in English, and what a lovely blog! I discovered you today via twitter…

    Anyway, as a Swedish expat (in Estonia) I’ve for a long time been very proud of the variety of Swedish hip hop / rap, let me come up with some suggestions to complete your list… 🙂

  4. Joon:

    How can you not have The Latin Kings on this list?!
    A LOT more influential than Wrede for example.

  5. Tibor:

    Dear Joon,

    It is true I had already too many videos, but since you guys liked this post so much and we and we are doing it for you, I promise that I will update it soon.

  6. Tibor:

    Hej Carl-Johan och välkommen!

    Sure, let me know if you have any suggestions, but the video has to be of good quality. Some of them are hard to be found. For example Sony Music is very restrictive with its music so I couldn´t add Feven for example, but I will add Latin Kings and Fattaru.

  7. Anna:

    I’m more into Swedish (underground) metal but I kinda liked Alla Som Inte Dansar.

    btw, my teacher gave me that “Sweden wants you to Dance” CD and I gotta admit you swedes are really good in any genre of music.

  8. brandon wilkes: