Since the early nineties youth in urban Roma communities around Europe have been building a new, non-conformist identity by adapting the subculture of hip hop to local environment. In the largest Roma community in the Balkans, the Macedonian capital of Skopje Roma municipality of Shuto orizari – Shutka, hip hop has grown to a wide-spread movement. Local youth meet at Roma “rap” studios, at local hip hop/r’n’b parties and invade YouTube with their homemade video spots.
The compilation CD I Shutka tani mo than (Shutka My Hometown, FOSM-2010) was the first ambitious presentation of the output of the finest Skopje Roma rappers. It managed to reach no. 15 at the prestigious World Music Charts Europe – as a local Macedonian release – and received positive response from the world music circuit. Including the concert offers. The project quickly developed into a live act consisting of top rappers and local Roma musicians. Successful concert work inspired its members to prepare songs for a new album which would present their new ideas on Balkan Roma hip hop and their live energy. The Shutka Roma Rap act has evolved into a band working/practising together, bringing together the experience of the younger generation of Roma wedding musicians and local Roma hip hop underground. The new album production team decided to catch the authentic heartbeat of the band on stage by making them play »live« in the studio. The demanding studio work was done by the experienced Skopje sound-engineer and producer Mite Dimovski. The song Me sijum underground – I am Underground written by the sixteen-year-old Kej1 and a year older Nu100 has given it its title. Roma rap is musical underground inside the local Roma community and so far also inside the wider world music spheres. Urban Roma youth is worlds apart from Mr. Funny Gipsy golden teeth & barefoot kid cliches Its central means of communication is internet, especially Facebook and YouTube.
The new Shutka Roma Rap edition found itself among 9 acts out of 300 applications to perform at Thessaloniki Womex 2012 Globalkan Stage. Its April 2013 video spot Reprezent feat. Macedonian rap veterans Puka kozmetika has turned into a local YouTube blockbuster (have you not seen it yet?). After a long voyage through the storms and past the cliffs of finding a proper record label for the new album, Shutka Roma Rap finally dropped its anchor in Budapest, in the port of the Fonó label. Here it is! Me sijum Underground.