Albanian hip hop
Albanian Hip Hop refers to artists from Albania, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro as the Albanian language is spoken in the whole of Albania and Kosovo and some parts of Macedonia, Greece and Montenegro. The term Albanian Hip Hop also refers to rappers from other Albanian-inhabited places such as the United States, Switzerland, Germany and United Kingdom. Since 2012, a team of French people tried to help improve Hip-Hop culture in Albania. They created the first Albanian hip hop festival, which took place in Tirane, Elbasan, Shkodër and Korçë. WNC (White Niggas Clan) another group from Pejë are one of the first rap group on Kosovo.
The second biggest rap group made in Albania is Banda Butuesi formed by 99ci, DMC aka Babloki and other guys from Bajram Curri, a town in the northern Albania. But the group who brought Modern Rap in Albania was the legendary 2Die4, formed by 4 guys from Fier, Albania. Other old school famous Albanian rappers are Mr Elvis, Akrepi, Rudi, West Side Family, Vagabondi, etc. Rap found itself in Kosovo during the early 90's, where the most prominent rappers were Getoar Selimi, Unikkatil, Presioni, Ritmi Rruges, Duda, Etno Engjujt, WNC etc.
Often inspired from the war against Serbia, but also helped by their melodious Nordic Albanian accent (Gege), HipHop artists from Kosovo gained higher reputation and market sale in the Albanian-spoken territory (i.e. Albania included). Kosovo's HipHop has evolved very quickly in production and lyrics, to that point where we can say that it influences people and their way of living.
Unikkatil AKA Rrebeli is one of the first Albanian rap artists, who started rapping in the early 90s, mainly against the Serbian government, who was causing a kind of genocide in the Albanian population that time.
The album called "E-Gjeli" released in 2003 by a group called NR (urbaNRoots) was the album who made a revolution in the Albanian Rap Culture.
Modern Hip Hop Labels and Artists
Some notable Albanian hip hop labels and artists include:
BAV_Records, member of this label are: +355, KurOrat Fiks , Da new Chain , G Bani etc.
TBA (The Bloody Alboz), is the most well known and famous Albanian rap label, with their leader Unikkatil. Some of the other members : Kobra, DMC, DMK, Presioni, Tee etc.
PINT (Për Inati Njoni Tjetrit). Lyrical Son, Mc Kresha, Nuke, and many other rappers and producers are a part of that group.
OTR (On Top of the Rest) is the first most famous Albanian rap group, which the leader is Noizy the most known rapper in ALBANIA, he was the first ALBANIAN to achieve 1,000,000 views on YouTube. The group started as a band of young gangsters in London, who moved to Albania afterwards.Other OTR members are : Varrrosi, LIL Koli, Mali-g, etc.
BS (BABA STARS) is a famous Kosovo rap label. BS members are : Ghetto Geasy, Agon Amiga, Skivi, Cozman, Dr.Mic, Onat, Stresi etc.
Authentic Entertainment is another famous and successful group which includes big names like Capital T or 2po2 etc.
Brief description of the Post 2010's Albanian Hip Hop music industry
Centered in Kosovo
TBA (The Bloody Alboz) is one of the largest labels based in Kosovo. Some of TBA members are UnikKatil, Presioni, Jeton, Cyanide, N.A.G Tee, Buja etc. Their leader, UnikKatil, is the most famous of all them put together, although he has been living in New York City, USA since the early 2000s. His albums and songs are quite famous, especially in the Internet through the social networks. Although the label has a wide support in the public, especially in Kosovo, their market share is low, real marketing and due to the lack of albums by other crew members.
The BABASTARS group has a huge advantage in the latter aspect. As of 2015, the group is composed of Ghetto Geasy, Agon Amiga, Skivi, Onat, Dr.Mic and Cozman. Through the years, the group started and was founded by the two members of Tingulli 3nt: Getoar Selimi(Ghetto Geasy) and Agon Amiga, as a "fusion" with Skillz - the HipHop group composed by Ledri Vula and Visar (Skivi). Quickly the group expanded and was quite successful, also due to the previous success of the groups involved. However, the cooperation didn't always go well, as crew members come and go, like the case of Ledri Vula, who in 2013 left the label. In the meantime, Babastars have featured various and famous Pop and HipHop artists in Albanian-speaking territories, like Stresi from Banda Butuesi, Mimoza Ahmeti, Tuna, Flori Mumajesi, etc. Thus, they possess a much bigger market share than the other groups, and as often happens, often accompanied with video and lyrical controversy. Nonetheless, BabaStars have a bigger audience there where other Kosovo's labels often can't: in Albania.
Another group is P.I.N.T. - Per Inat t'Njoni Tjetrit - which is known in English as 'For Each Other's Ire'. Composed of Albanian HipHop veterans Lyrical Son, Mc Kresha and BimBimma, the group differs in their approach as they tend to compile albums more often than singles, and they have a high market share and audience as well. Albums like BimBimma's "Rraj't" (2011), Lyrical Son & McKresha's "P.I.N.T" (2013) and McKresha's album "Emceeclopedy" in 2014 have all achieved high sales and popularity among the Albanian audience, although higher in Kosovo. They also often released features and singles with other famous Albanian Pop artists like Flori Mumajesi, Elvana Gjata, Dafina, DJ Blunt, Aurela Gace, Blero, etc., or HipHop groups and artists like KAOS, Noizy, Varrosi or Real 1. They are often considered as the rappers who make every song a hit. Mc Kresha's 2014 album "Emceeclopedy" is known as an album who made a rap revolution in the 10s of Albanian rap.
GG Army is a label founded by Duda, another Albanian HipHop 'old blood' coming from the 90's. One of the oldest groups, it has passed through a series of changes and ups and downs. Their peak was in the early 2000s, with hit singles which gained reputation in Albanian-speaking audience for their rhythm and unique style: strong, greedy lyrics accompanied by equally strong videos, or funny and comical videos. However, with the imprisonment of their leader Duda, the label laid low until the comeback earlier this year, in 2015. Other rappers include B Genius and Overlord.
KAOS is a musical group centered in Pristina, Kosovo, composed of Lumi B and Vig Poppa.
Centered in Albania
In the Albanian territory, the two largest labels are OTR and Banda Butuesi. The first one, an abbreviation for 'On Top of the Rest', was founded by the likes of Noizy, JR, Varrosi, Lil Koli, etc. The leader is Noizy, quite famous with his single career in both countries, having quite a fair share in the market and a good marketing strategy. Most of the early members have lived in London, UK for a time of their lives, or in a few cases, they still lived there. The group expanded through the late 2000s, mainly in Albania. In the overall market, including both countries, the only singer who had a wide market share was only Noizy, mostly with singles or sometimes Albanian Pop features like Ciljeta, Enca Haxhia, Eni Koci, etc.
Gold AG is well known in all Albanian-speaking lands. He often uses nationalisic and religious themes in his songs, especially Muslim ones. He connects his religion with politics, corruption, and everyday life in the new independent Kosovo, even going a little 'against the flow' from his colleagues, with famously denying any type of drugs or alcohol. His favourite theme is nationalism as he represents the idea of Greater Albania.
Banda Butuesi was founded by Stresi, another Albanian rapper. He was born in the city of Kukes, in Northern Albania. Although Stresi has featured a variety of well-known Albanian Pop artists, his label aims towards Gangsta' HipHop. The two labels have been the source of problems in Albania and its capital Tirana, for their feud, which has quite sometimes resulted in violence between the corresponding followers and fans.
Ledri Vula, previously a member of the Skillz musical group, is a popular solo artist. He is constantly present in celebrity magazines for his personal relationships.
As of concert and shows, almost all of the HipHop artists in Albanian-speaking territories prefer live shows and performances in pubs and clubs throughout Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, USA, UK, Denmark, Austria and Germany - basically wherever you can find some Albanian population.
The biggest solo concert ever held in Kosovo and Albania was UnikKatil's. It took place on July 15, 2012 at Pristina Stadium. Around 27,000 people were present for his first and only wide-open concert.
- Kosovo - Gail Warrander, Verena Knaus - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- * (2005-03-03). "Kosovo's Burning: Punk rock and Albanian rap—in a war zone". Anthem Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Mark Mardell. "BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Mardell". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-28.