Music & Art Aug 07, 2015

Icelandic Music: Rap and Hip-Hop Right Out of Reykjavik

Here's a secret: Iceland's music scene has hip-hop, and it's pretty wild.

Iceland has always been a place of immense creativity, and Icelandic music (think Of Monsters & Men, Sigur Rós, Kaleo and Junius Meyvant, for starters) is growing increasingly popular, so it only makes sense that this uniqueness is now trickling into the country’s growing hip-hop and rap industry. If you’ve ever been one to claim all rap and hip-hop sounds the same, you must not have heard any from Iceland. Not only are most songs spoken in Icelandic, but the beats are eccentric and surprising, and the people behind the tracks are wacky, too. But that’s what makes the growing hip-hop culture in Iceland so wonderful – it’s never going to be predictable.

Here are some current hip-hop and rap artists straight out of Reykjavik:

Reykjavíkurdætur: This rap group, comprised of 22 women, is truly unlike anything you’ve ever heard or seen. Imagine 22 Icelandic (and edgy) Spice Girls rapping, and that’s what you’ll see in a Reykjavíkurdætur video. Though their lyrics may be indecipherable to non-Icelandic speakers, their songs hold deeply feminist themes and meaning. In their videos, it’s astonishing to see a group of quite so many people rapping and dancing together to perform a single song. It’s like a cool girl’s club from another planet. Click here to listen to more of Reykjavíkurdætur’s rad tunes.

Lord Pusswhip: If you didn’t crack a little smile reading his name, carry on. Lord Pusswhip is not for the faint of heart and he’s looking to seriously stir things up in Iceland. As he put in an interview with the Reykjavik Grapevine: “We Icelanders are so open-minded and of course everyone agrees that our music scene is perfect and that everything is just fine. But for me, something was missing.” Lord Pusswhip’s trap beats aren’t afraid to explore down spiraling, psychedelic paths, and the results are songs you’d feel cool putting on when friends are over. He’s unique, and definitely someone to check out.

Geimfarar: This rap group was recently seen at the Secret Solstice Music Festival, and they’re memorable for the old school sampling and sounds in their songs. “Geimfarar” is Icelandic for “astronauts,” and their music is certainly explorative. Check out one of their newest tracks below!

Cell7: Ragna Kjartansdottir, also known as Cell7, is a classic hip-hop artist in Iceland. She was in the hip-hop group Subterranean, which was one of the first rap acts in Iceland in the late ‘90s, and in 2013, she released her debut solo album titled CELLF. Unlike the other artists mentioned above, Cell7’s music is in English, so if you don’t speak Icelandic, she may be the girl for you.