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Night of the Neanderthal
Danish Hip Hop Awards 2002, Vega, Copenhagen - April, 2002
as seen by: Mat, Pictures: Klaus Heinecke & Tomace

On the chill evening of Friday April 5th , the Danish HipHop scene saw a new kind of institutionalisation - a sold-out Store Vega as the venue for Danish HipHop Awards 2002. I am, however, sad to say that only rarely in Danish HipHop history has so many people assembled for so little. The show, which had been projected as the statement on Danish HipHop this year - more than anything else demonstrated the embarrassing lack of ambition and general ineptitude of same. Why the event was not called "De Danske HipHop Priser" or - keeping in spirit with the proceedings - "Dansk HipHop Grand Prix", is beyond me. Apparently the only sensible thing to do is follow in the footsteps of the Danish music industry, which recently changed the name of its yearly display of collective back-patting, Dansk Grammy, to Danish Music Awards. An English title for a show dealing with Danish music - elementary, my dear Watson. An even better idea would be coming up with a special name for the awards, as is customary for award-shows worldwide. Since Danish HipHop Awards promises to be a yearly event, I hereby humbly submit my proposal: "The N.W.A.s", short for "Neanderthals With Attitude". In the following, I will try to explain the rationale behind this proposal.

Seeking refuge in my record collection after an agonizing evening of Danish rap music, I found myself listening to the classic tune Troglodyte by Jimmy Castor for the umpteenth time. Remember his description of "the average caveman, at home, listening to his stereo"? This line immediately provoked a flood of images of Shirley decked up in a bearskin bikini doling out small, gilded statues of cavemen - jitterbugging with CD-playing boomboxes on their shoulders - to the faceless, Fubu™-clad stars of Danish rap, with the walking anachronism of Danish HipHop, Chief One, on the mic lecturing the masses on troglodyte history.

At the roots of this sudden, disturbing stream of consciousness is a deep disillusionment with Danish HipHop music on my part. While I recognize the amazing array of talent among Danish breakers and graffiti-writers, the music scene has, with the exception of several gifted DJs and a few producers, always lacked the necessary talent and ambition to rise above the mediocre. If anything, Saturday evening accentuated this painful fact.

In a flush of elated, breathless hype of the kind that always leaves one somewhat suspicious, the audience was presented with program of bland, routine performances from what could be described as Denmark's foremost rap-musicians. The perennially derivative MCs of Funk Flush displayed their well-known taste for flavor-of-the-month type flows as they came off as a heavily diluted hybrid version of Jay-Z, Nas, Mobb Deep and other hot'n hardcore names on the New York scene (the track, delivered by a live orchestra with Farfar on drums, was pretty slammin' though…). Clemens who - assisted by his mentor Jokeren and six ludicrously dressed dancers - went through the usual "I scream-you scream" routine, further consolidated his position as a pathetic has-been, who has long since used up the credit afforded by the intensity with which he entered the scene a few years back. As usual, DGP delivered a competent but unremarkable show, once again exhibiting how little they have achieved with their considerable talent. The masterful DJs of Copenhagen Scratch Masters delivered a technically accomplished, but ultimately pretty boring collage of noise and Denmark's perhaps most talented MC, Per Vers, went through two of the most tiresome tracks off the new Sund Fornuft-album, demonstrating for the Nth time the acute need for a freestyle-based solo effort by him. When you have his kind of skill, what is the big idea of ripping off Atmosphere on Syndebuk? (To paraphrase Dice Raw: "Be a rap savior - never clone!") Last, but not least, Rockers By Choice entered the stage in full gear and delivered an admittedly energetic performance that, in the end, proved nothing more than the fact that they are still wack after all these years. Some things just never change…

Which brings us to the awards themselves. Except for the B-Boy-, Graffiti- and Hall-of-Fame awards, which all went to deserving people (Daniel "Sonic" Rojas & David Boyd, Fys Crew and Kenneth Fogel, respectively), the awards were the results of an internet-referendum and as such reflect the popular appeal of the nominated artists - with reservations taken for the inevitable irregularities of internet-based voting.

As could be expected, Århus gangsta-wannabee L.O.C. ran with most of the important awards (Best Newcomer, Best Album and Best Rapper), while his producers Rune Rask and Troo LS took the Award for Best Producers. L.O.C.s lyrics are uninspired at best, his flow is close to non-existent and Rune Rask's and Troo LS' pedestrian beats with their stereotypical synthesizer licks sound like 8th generation carbon copies of Dre on a very hung-over day. It would be safe to say that the efforts of these people in every case marked the low point of the nominations in the respective categories. Nevertheless, people applaud their effort - in the current Danish HipHop milieu staggering ignorance and regressive conservatism seem to be the keys to success, and as L.O.C. delivers both in spades, he can now enter the Danish rap-pantheon of more or less moronic progenies of the long-outdated genre of American gangsta rap and its modern mutation, playerism. It is conspicuous how the the majority of the most popular Danish Rap acts fall into this category - from the professionally produced and occasionally witty, but deeply conventional winners of the Best Album award DGP, over the idiotically rambling Clemens, to the in-bred white trash Sønderborg-dimwit L-Ron Harald.

The popularity of the preposterous monstrosity that is Danish gangsta rap would not be so sad if it brought with it some kind of innovation. However, when even comparatively talented people, such as DGP and L.O.C.s partner-in-line U$O, seem comfortable reiterating the same trite player/gangsta-clichés, and staying within the uninspiring, narrow musical confines staked out by their American idols, it would probably be unwise to hold one's breath waiting. The whole idea of a gangsta whose worst criminal offenses are drunk driving, unprovoked violent buffoonery in the street, B&E of the local 7-11 and gorging oneself on coke in an attempt to be 'down' while collecting social security 24-7 is simply ludicrous. These people should heed Isbjerg's words: "Du er ikke en gangster, for Danmark er hvor du kommer fra", get out of the line to easy hand-outs and actually do something courageous and worthwhile, or be ready to tumble like dominoes at the merciless hands of time. It is simple Dominology, baby.

Luckily, a group of truly innovative people - among them Malk de Koijn, The Prunes - do work the Danish scene, although none of them were present at the proceedings. And we can furthermore be proud that the winner of the Best DJ award, DJ Noize, is still a world-class turntablist, even though nominee DJ Static, who has been much more active during the last year, among other things producing several dope tracks and one of the illest Danish mixtapes in a long time, deserved the award.

Concerning the actual event and the organizers' publicized, and very praiseworthy, ambition of making it a universal representation of Danish HipHop, one wonders why Graffiti and Breaking were only afforded a single award each, while HipHop music was awarded in 11 categories, and further why people were not allowed to vote in every category and why the jury behind the nominations has not been made public. That being said, the actual event was very well-organized and most people seemed to enjoy it. For better or for worse, it was a statement on, if not Danish HipHop as such, then at least Danish HipHop music today.

In the future, we can only hope that the current generation of unoriginal, no-talent Neanderthals With Attitudes will go the way of their namesakes and leave the field open to true originality. Then maybe we will have an award show where the artists really deserve to be awarded.

See more pics click here

Click text for further info on
Danish Hiphop Awards , Vega , Malk De Koijn , Clemens , Den Gale Pose , U$0
, L.O.C. , Rune Rask & TrooLS , Rockers By Choice , Funk Flush
, Sund Fornuft , Shirley , Tungtvann , Colossos , Majid , Rent Mel I Posen

why not share your opinion with the rest of us at the
Night of the Neanderthal at Danish Hip Hop Awards 2002, Vega, Copenhagen - April, 2002
Even those with a modicum of talent delivered uninspiring shows.
the OnPoint factor:
It can only go up from here… we hope.
entertaintment value:
It would be funny, if it were not so sad…
It was not Store Vega's fault.
Big turnout and most people enjoyed the show.
street cred.:
The DJ, break-, graf- and Hall of Fame awards guaranteed a certain level of street-level quality control.
as seen by:
how to read the score board:
7 x = On Point!
3 x = Nice Shot

6 x = Almost Bulls Eye
2 x = Target Practice

5 x = Heavy Hitter
1 x = Not Even Close

4 x = Hit Potential
1 x = Greatest Miss