For the average Brit, the word ‘Dutch’ brings up imagery of tulips, spliffs and flatulent sex moves. In fact, I was once asked the immortally stupid question “Dutch….where is that?” by a young lady I used to flyer clubs with. When it comes to Dutch music, many non-Dutchophiles are probably equally perplexed. If you’re under 40, you may be worriedly contemplating gabber, while the older ones among us are likely looking at the charming chops on that Andre Rieu CD they got free with the Daily Mail.
But guess what? There’s more to Dutch music than Maastricht, mullets and mice in windmills! I will never forget the time that I stumbled across the bizarre sight of Ali B, long-time coach on The Voice of Holland, hugging kids on a stage in a provincial shopping centre as he told them about his crazy Mocro flavour. And check this recent hit from Lil Kleine and Ronnie Flex about the pleasures of drink, drugs and sex. Or how about Gers Pardoel‘s slightly more romantic ode to his girlfriend. Fuck giving you the low-down on chart music though – here’s a quick tour through Dutch rap, hip-hop and grime.
De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig
Okay, maybe I lied to you. De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig hit up number 1 with their 2005 street-slang satire riddim Watskeburt?!, so I guess they are kind of commercial. On the other hand, they do say the Dutch equivalent of the word ‘cunt‘ no more than 11 times in the song, so maybe they’re not so chart friendly? Anyhow, they’re pretty jokes. 2010’s Sterrenstof (see above video) is a nice feel good tune about getting successful and snorting loads of coke. And their wonderfully named rapper Willie Wartaal featured on a beat with one of the catchiest hooks ever: “I am dumb, rude and famous, bitches are touching my penis“.
Dret en Krulle
Dret en Krulle are by no means the most talented, famous or iconic Dutch hip-hop stars. Take Zwart Licht, who haven’t done much for a while, but released an absolute banger with 2009 album Bliksemschicht. Or Ome Omar, who, when he’s not rapping about being cooler than a penguin in a freezer bag, professes untold love for his toastie maker. And at the more hype end of the spectrum, how about Keizer, a rapper from Paramaribo, capital of the old Dutch colony of Suriname, who has imperial ambitions on the mic.
So why Dret en Krulle? Well, Dret drips a fuckload of swag. The duo hail from the Bijlmer district of Amsterdam, which is known for Ajax’s football stadium and (as you’ll see in the video above) chronic social segretation. So these two are pretty raw and it comes across in their music. Every time they just go so hard…
If Dret and Krulle’s last tune sounded a bit grimey, wait until you hear Rotterdam’s NoizBoiz. But before you do, an honorable mention for Skinto, who has released some commercial rubbish at times, but killed it back in 2011. Back to NoizBoiz. These guys wear their love for sublow proudly on their snapbacks. Check this freestyle on 101Barz (shouts to Rotjoch). No Dutch beats in there, just straight up Wiley, Silencer, Maniac. Actually, just check all the 101Barz freestyles. Even on the homegrown production in the WOW! video above, it’s straight fire and neat references to Wot U Call It? And again in Wie, Wat, Waar, XL is spitting about So Solid, Dizzee & Slimzee and More Fire Crew! Keihard!!
Big up Zanger Rinus…
For those of you who don’t like rap music, I apologise! But fear not, there’s always Zanger Rinus…