Rapper Gipsy introduces traditional music on new album|
Romano Hiphop is the title of the latest CD by the Czech Romany rap artist
Gipsy. The album is actually released under the name Gipsy.cz, because
this time he has collaborated in a group project with other Romany
musicians. When I met Gipsy in a Prague café, he told me why - unlike on
his previous release Ya Favourite CD Rom - he had incorporated traditional
Gypsy music this time round.
"After some time and the live shows the group and I just recognised
that it's a great idea, why shouldn't we just make it more...concrete, to
put much more traditional music in hip hop. That should sound amazing.
"We were searching for the sound we want to have and after two years
of showcases we found this sound, and it sounds great! There was no 'why'
- it was just a very good idea. And perhaps nobody else did it before.
"The live show is simply...amazing. When you see these hip hop beats
with the traditional music - it works."
What are the lyrical themes on your new album?
"They're just more directed to the troubles and problems of the Roma
community in the Czech Republic. I was trying to be much more political
and much more directed to my community."
You use Romani, Czech and English - why all three languages?
"When you want to sell in your country you must have Czech tracks.
When you want to be successful in other countries, like England, you must
have some English. If you want to use a very beautiful language, which is
Romani...because when I'm rapping in Romani that sounds great - so hard,
What has been the reaction of your own community to your music?
"Very good, very good reaction. And I feel very good about that,
because all Gypsies respect me because I'm using very old language that
many young guys have forgotten. It is a forgotten language and I am using
words that people have not heard for 40, 50 years.
"They respect me because I use this language. They respect me because
I'm connecting back...not only Czech Romani language but Russian, Magyar,
One song Gipsy's album Romano Hip Hop, Jednou, reflects on the obstacles
which can arise when a Romany boy goes out with a white girl. It includes
the line "vsechno bude proti nam" - everything will be against
us. Does this reflect the rapper's own experiences?
"My personal experience with this is I had a lot of white girls, and
sometimes we had to explain to her parents...what kind of kids are we
going to have, what are we going to do, if I don't feel weird that I'm a
Gypsy - bad questions. So that's personal experience, of course."
In the same song you have a line 'jednou kazdy bude chtit byt cigan' - one
day everybody will want to be a Gypsy. What are you trying to say with that
"I believe with my group we have started something very new. And I
believe there will be a lot of others trying to go in our steps. I believe
one day this is going to change. Today a typical Czech man thinks 'Gypsies
are a problem'.
"I believe after ten years they will much more understand our
culture, music, and there will be a lot more Gypsies doing this. And they
are going to feel, like, respect.
"And I believe one day people will be trying to speak like us, to
behave like us. Because it will be famous, it will be 'in'."
You think it'll be cool to be a Gypsy?
"It'll be cool be a Gypsy. I believe that."
The album Romano Hip Hop is currently available only in the Czech
Republic, though there are plans to release it in Britain, the United
States and Germany. There is also a chance it will come out in France and
Meanwhile, Gipsy is hoping to perform in the United States for the first
time this summer.