Gypsy hip-hoppers keep it real
It has that gothic font beloved of gangster MCs on the cover. It has the breathless aggressive rapper voice and more than a passing homage to Eminems rhythm style and vocal timbre, but Gipsy.cz has something very fresh besides the usual adoption of hip-hop by non-US culture. This 15-track record isn't simply an aping of LA or NYC, but possesses some fine pop-song hooks that lodge in your brain. And there is, as you might expect from the title, a Gypsy influence in the off-beat syncopated rhythms provided by the un-hip-hop ensemble of guitar, accordions, hammered dulcimer and fiddle that backs the rap. Thaťs not to say that a strident attitude isn't apparent. Také the lyrics of 'Multin': 'There in history was no Rom whove made the atomic bomb/so how is it possible that Róma are so wrong?' Or the sentiment in 'Welcome To Prague (Gipsy Kids Can Get You Down)': 'Pure street lije, thaťs my community/Look as Gypsies retake the culture'. Gipsy.cz made an appearance at the South Bank festival and Glastonbury this year and are on the bill for Bestival. Theirs is a novel mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary. Gypsy music purists might scoff at the mongrel mix, but you can hear a clear authentic voice at the centre of it - even if you can't understand the language.