European Hip Hop Tour #12: Poland

blazo-polish-hip-hop

We’re in Poland for our latest stop on our European Hip Hop Tour.

Country: Poland

Population: (as of 2011 census) 38,501,000

Capital: Warsaw

Currency: Zloty (PLN)

Old places of interest

Polish hip hop took shape in the early 90s through Liroy (then PM Cool Lee) when he released his debut album East On Da Mic. He is seen as one of the pioneers of hip hop culture in Poland. Through the radio and the now-defunct Beat Records, groups like Trzyha, Molesta and Ein Killa Hertz came through in Warsaw, while in Poznan, hardcore rap group Nagły Atak Spawacza were formed in 1995. Listening through these groups, you should be able to hear the American influences of gangsta rap, made famous by acts like Onyx and Ice T (Ice T is said to have shown a liking towards Liroy during a press conference). Also worth checking out a MC named Grammatik.

Current places of interest

Sokół, Peja, Tede and Paktofonika (along with their respective groups) have diversified hip hop culture in Poland, allowing it to grow and change since the early days, however some of the relics have remained, notably, the “East Coast vs. West Coast” rivalry, echoing that of a similar beef in the US two decades ago. The rivalry was extremely visible in 2010, when there was beef between Peja, Liroy and some lesser known rappers from Poznan and Kielce as well as Tede, Włodi and Pelson. Away from the beef, subgenres like  horrorcore, G-funk, grime, jazz rap, ragga (AbraDab), crunk and much more.