Underground hip-hop from the land of cheese and chocolate

Published on January 6 2009

You'll find anything on jamendo. Even anarchistic underground hip-hop from Switzerland. And guess what? It's really good too.

Direct Raption

Mesphisto, Oli Second and DJ Django are from different cities in the German speaking part of Switzerland. In 2005, they got together to form Direct Raption, “the first rap project in Switzerland with an explicit anarchist background, explains Mephisto. For me it was really interesting to make songs where the message is the main element, not the music, and definitely not the attitude.”

Coming from the punk/hardcore scene (you'll find one of Mephisto's other bands, Zerfall, also on jamendo) and the underground squatter movement that is very strong throughout Switzerland, they draw their influences from sources as diverse as the Zapatista movement in Mexico, Public Enemy, Rage Against The Machine and Manu Chao's music and books by Hermann Hesse.

As you may or may not know, the hip-hop scene in Switzerland is quite important. Rappers choose to rhyme in their local language, be it French, Italian or, like Direct Raption, Swiss German, and, as Oli explains, they tend not to be all about girls, cars and the gangsta life like many of the biggest rappers in neighboring Germany and France.

Anti-commercial in acts as well as words, Direct Raption didn't think twice before giving out their album for free. “We don't want to sell our music, we want everybody to be able to hear us. And anyway music is always made of ideas that are influenced by the work of others, so you can't even say that they're really yours.”

Since the release of their album, Direct Raption have played over 50 shows in Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany, and, indeed, sold in a couple of months all of the 500 CDs they had made. Oli Second is currently finishing a solo album that will be on jamendo shortly, and the band runs Conchez Connection, a project that “supports underground and conscious rap” by organizing shows, distributing records and hosting their own radio show on a local station. In 2009, it should even become a label. All for the cause, of course. “The market is small for radical rap, so there's no commercial devil attracting us.”

Written by blog

Published on #Features, #Stories