Italian hip hop

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Italian hip hop started in the early 1990s. One of the first hip hop crews to catch the attention of the Italian mainstream was Milan's Articolo 31, then and still today produced by Franco Godi, who had written the soundtrack to the animated TV series Signor Rossi in the 1970s. The European Music Office's report on Music in Europe claimed that, in general, hip hop from the south of Italy tends to be harder than that from the north [1].

Contents

Overview

In the early '80s, hip hop spread to Italy from Jamaican raggamuffin, especially in centri sociali, alternative centers where several left-wing young people regularly meet. The first star, however, was Jovanotti, who used rapping in otherwise traditional Italian pop. Some of his tracks were however pure hip hop, e.g. "Il rap" which sampled Public Enemy's Chuck D. Hip hop is especially characteristic of southern Italy, a fact which some observers have contributed to the southern concept of rispetto (respect, honor), a form of verbal jousting; both facts have helped identify southern Italian music with the African American hip hop style.[1]

Articolo 31 started out as a mainly East Coast rap-inspired hip hop duo, but changed to a more commercial style during their career and eventually evolved into a punk/pop/crossover group. Articolo 31 splitted and J-Ax, the singer, has taken his solo career. Other important crews and rappers include Bologna's Camelz in Effect with their unforgettable early hit "Slega la Lega", Sangue Misto with their 1994 album SMX, the political crew 99 Posse whose music have influences from world music to trip hop. Gangsta rap crews include Sa Razza, La Fossa from Sardinia and Flaminio Maphia from Rome. Probably the most famous Italian rappers apart from Articolo 31 are Sottotono from Varese, Neffa from Napoli and Piotta who represents Rome and became famous through an ironic interpretation of the coatto (The stereotypical Italian boy with an attitude). Caparezza is often referred to as the Italian Eminem because his records sold many copies from 2000 on. Frankie Hi-NRG MC is often referred to as the Italian NAS, since his rhymes are very complex and intellectual. Turi from Calabria and Colle der Fomento from Rome are considered hardcore rappers by many. Italian hip hop also has a tradition of political-minded lyrics, e.g. 99 Posse and Assalti Frontali. Fabri Fibra has also become a very popular rap artist and has collaborated with Italian super stars Gianna Nannini and Pino Daniele as well as others.

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