|Birth name||Michele Salvemini|
|Also known as||Mikimix|
|Born||October 9, 1973|
|Genres||Alternative hip hop, conscious rap, pop rap, rap rock|
Caparezza [kapaˈrɛttsa], meaning "Curly Head" in Molfetta's dialect), is the pseudonym of Michele Salvemini (born 9 October 1973), an Italian rapper. Born in Molfetta, in the southern region of Apulia, Caparezza debuted in 1997 at the Sanremo Festival under the name MikiMix.
Caparezza was born in Molfetta on October 9, 1973. Caparezza’s mother was a teacher and his father was a worker who used to play in a band, so Michele started playing music as a child. He studied accountancy, although he dreamed of writing comics. After completing High School, Michele began to work in advertising, and won a scholarship for the Academy of Media and Journalism in Milan. However, he soon decided to leave the advertising world to fully devote himself to music.
Salvemini began his career as MikiMix, a b boy pop singer, releasing the album La mia buona stella. This early release was not well received; Allmusic gave the album 2.5 stars out of 5. He also anchored the broadcast Segnali di Fumo (Smoke Signals) together with Paola Maugeri on the Video Music Italian channel. After performing in Milan’s pubs, MikiMix made his debut at the Castrocaro Music Festival and subsequently participated in two Sanremo Festivals in the New Generation section, in 1995 and in 1997.
From Mikimix to Caparezza
Michele went back to Molfetta thinking of quitting music, but shortly after he decided to make a fresh start, and started composing music in his garage, while he stopped cutting his hair and beard. Salvemini changed his pseudonym from MikiMix to Caparezza ("Curly Head" in the Apulian dialect) and in 2000 published his first album under his new stage name and third overall, ?!, in which he disowns and nearly rejects his MikiMix past, because he considered himself at the time inconsistent and poor compared to his present self. Reviewing the album for Allmusic, Jason Birchmeier wrote "The Italian rapper drops his rhymes with just as much fluency and dexterity as his American peers throughout the album. [...] Caparezza's mastery of the Italian dialect [makes] this album so stunning."
His second album under the name Caparezza and fourth overall, Verità Supposte, Supposed Truths (note that in Italian supposte is used both for supposed and suppositories), led him to success in 2003–2004. His fifth album, Habemus Capa (a pun on the habemus papam statement which is used to announce to the people that a new pope has been elected), is a criticism of society's contradictions. Salvemini imagines his death and his descent to Hell, which is actually our world, describing a dreadful aspect of modern society in every song. It was released in 2006.
In 2008 he released his sixth album, Le dimensioni del mio caos (The Dimensions Of My Chaos), a concept album involving a time-warped hippie and social commentary regarding modern society. In a mixed review, Allmusic writer Mariano Prunes called it "ambitious but definitely overreaching", saying that "its length and unyielding energy can get grating as it goes along".
After the release of Habemus Capa and before releasing Le dimensioni del mio Caos, Caparezza also published a book in 2008, Saghe Mentali, a funny description of his discography, including the soon to be released Le dimensioni del mio Caos, using a different literary style for each album.
On 28 January 2011, he published the first single from the seventh album Il sogno eretico, entitled "Goodbye Malinconia", featuring Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet. Il sogno eretico (The heretic dream) is a concept album, and the core message is urging people to reject tenets and dogmas, and to use critical thinking while looking at the world around us. The songs include historical heretic characters like Galileo Galilei, Joan of Arc, Giordano Bruno and Girolamo Savonarola whose stories are linked to topical interests, for the purpose of explaining widely known facts from a different angle. In the song La fine di Gaia Caparezza talks about end of the world prophecies (saying it won't happen) and various conspiracy theories, while in other songs he talks about religion, politics, people's misbehaviour and attitude towards power and money.
Michele sings together with Diego Perrone, who replaced Stefano Ciannamea which is the creator, and now administrator of Caparezza’s official web site. Diego Perrone is also the lead singer in the band Medusa. Caparezza was also a member of Sunny Cola Connection, a group who sings in the Apulian dialect. He also worked with many other musicians, like the Italian rappers Puni, Piotta, 99 Posse (Tarantelle pé campà) and Mondo Marcio and with pop musician Roy Paci & Aretuska, and with Medusa.
Caparezza’s band includes Rino Corrieri (drums), Gaetano Camporeale (keyboards), Giovanni Astorino (bass) and Alfredo Ferrero (guitar).
Caparezza had a summer hit with "Fuori dal tunnel"; however, the singer has always protested against the use of the song in discos and on television, because it is meant to be a denunciation of the de–individualization of entertainment, but the agreement with his music company didn't allow him to prevent the song being put in commercials or being used in the very same TV broadcastings which the song actually criticized. Another song on Verità Supposte is "Vengo dalla Luna", which tells about an alien (Caparezza) knocked down to Earth who is astonished by the intolerance of humanity for a different race and culture. It is a song opposing prejudices toward immigrants. In Habemus Capa songs include "La mia parte intollerante" which again expresses the marginalization of Caparezza (that song talks about a marginalized 16-year-old boy). In the fourth album, "Eroe" (also known as "Luigi delle Bicocche") is a story of a mason who is regarded as a hero because he manages to support a family without surrendering to the temptations of loan sharks and draw poker. "Vieni a ballare in Puglia" talks about the situation in Puglia today; the "Caduti del lavoro", the forest fires in Gargano and the air pollution in Taranto. This song, like "Fuori dal tunnel", was misunderstood by the public who considered it a simple praise towards Apulia.
Style and influences
The music of Caparezza is predominately described as hip hop, but is diverse in sound, with Allmusic writer Mariano Prunes writing that Caparezza "[defies] classification with his fascinating cross-contamination of styles" and describing the music of Le Dimensioni del Mio Caos as rap and heavy metal. Caparezza's lyrics focus on subjects such as personal honesty and the hypocrisy of the music industry.
Caparezza is highly influenced by Frank Zappa, whom Caparezza considers his "teacher". Caparezza criticizes society and politics with sharp irony in contexts which are often fantastic and unreal. Caparezza's lyrics include unusual metaphors, and references to movies, comics, commercials, TV broadcasting, classic writers, other musicians and many more, many of which are very difficult to spot, or to link to the fact they refer to.
- Tengo duro (1997; as Mikimix)
- La mia buona stella (1997; as Mikimix)
- ?! (2000)
- Verità supposte (2003)
- Habemus Capa (2006)
- Le dimensioni del mio caos (2008)
- Il sogno eretico (2011)
- Museica (2014)
- Caparezza – Music Biography, Credits and Discography. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2012-05-30.
- La Mia Buona Stella – Mikimix : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards. AllMusic (1999-01-12). Retrieved on 2012-05-30.
- Birchmeier, Jason. (2001-02-13) Caparezza ?! – Caparezza : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2012-05-30.
- Le Dimensioni del Mio Caos – Caparezza : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2012-05-30.
- Prunes, Mariano. (2011-03-11) Il Sogno Eretico – Caparezza : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2012-05-30.
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