Words by: Alina Amin
Rap is so much more than just America and the UK and Europe as a whole has a lot of talent to offer, here are just 4 names to get you started.
Hip-Hop is one of the most diverse genres out there – still, most of the songs we usually have on our favourite playlists are in English. Unless you live in a non-English speaking country of course. But even then, language diversity has its limits. Now, you might be asking: Do I really need to listen to Rap from a different country? I would say it’s a definite yes. After all, Hip-hop is more than just a music genre. As one of the mainstream’s biggest cultural movements, every country has to offer its own individual sound, style and message. So, if you’re looking to expand your musical knowledge, I got you: Here are four European rappers, you need to have on your radar.
Gateway track: ‘Mios mit Bars’
German rapper Luciano is one of the countries’ finest. With a huge list of hit songs, he has established himself as an important influence in the industry. It’s not just because of his distinct voice, love for fashion or top-notch aesthetics, it’s also because he took German Rap to the next level. One of his specialities is the fact that he takes inspiration from various countries and sub-genres. That makes his music pretty versatile, easy to get into and most importantly forward-thinking. He was among the first to introduce Drill to the local scene and is friends with about every famous French rapper you could think of. On his latest album, he even got a feature from none other than YG.
Gateway track: ‘Baby’ which also feature J Balvin
Sfera Ebbasta has every right to be considered the “King of Trap“ in his home country Italy. Since the beginning of his career, the artist has been a chart-topper, with countless gold and platinum singles. Considering he has over 3.5 million followers on Instagram, it’s safe to say that his fan community goes beyond Italy. He’s also notorious for having all kinds of international stars on his albums. Whether it’s Diplo, J Balvin or Future, they’re all making music with him.
Gateway track (apart from the viral freestyle): ‘Kokaina’
Don Xhoni’s music is pretty representative of Albanian Hip-Hop: It’s flashy, fun and delivers the perfect mood for your next party. Even though his biggest songs don’t have the darkness and seriousness of other Hip-Hop-genres, Xhoni does make music that’s on the grittier side of things. His (internationally) most known song is definitely “Make a Pose (Freestyle)“, a Drill tune that went viral on TikTok a couple of months ago and propelled his status to the high ranks of his countries’ industry. Not only because the hook is so damn catchy but also because it’s really melodic and accessible.
Gateway track : ‘Tout l’monde s’en fout’
When it comes to French Hip-Hop, it’s hard to pick just one rapper. As one of Europe’s most progressive Hip-Hop movements, French Rap has been an influence for more than just its neighbouring countries. One artist every curious music fan needs to listen to at least once however is Sofiane. What makes his career so special is his legacy in Street Rap. Along with a few others, he revived the otherwise dead sub-genre and inspired many others to do the same. His career started with self-made music videos that tell the story of the streets. A couple of years later, he’s one of the country’s biggest and most established rappers, with his very niche music hitting the big stage.