I must admit to not knowing a whole lot about Italian hip hop in general. But CapaRezza (which, in Italian means "Curly Head") stands out as being particularly good, not just for his region, but in terms of rappers in general. The level of lyricism here is quite strong, in CapaRezza's ability with his own language. The quality of the lyricism here becomes even clearer when you translate the lyrics. CapaRezza has a wide range of creative references at hand, which, along with a lot of intelligence and a desire to expand the musical boundaries of his own genre with live instrumentation, and metal guitar riffs as part of a revolving door of unique sounds, makes for a good combination.
The lyricism and the musical experimentation is a springboard here for the concept album approach in Le dimensioni del mio caos
, where the rap and rock songs form a science fiction storyline which involves a time-traveling hippie in love with Jimi Hendrix who is transported to modern times via a guitar's feedback during a tribute concert, and finds herself corrupted by modern culture, much to CapaRezza's dismay. The space time continuum warps the current timeframe into a totalitarian society where pockets are prohibited and CapaRezza is sentenced to pick up dung at a circus for possessing pockets. Later, society is changed into an advanced society of monkeys who resolve problems via sex. It's like a mix of 2001: A Space Odyssey
, Lenny Bruce, guitars and rap.
The expansive storyline is a result of CapaRezza's lyrical talent and prowess, not the reverse. In one line from the opening track, CapaRezza calls Jimi Hendrix a genius and remarks that "God's name is Zappa, Frank Vincent". The same song contains clever associations between censorship and Blockbuster, and the quip, "Is it Black Panther or Ghostbusters
?" The title also plays on the number 68 in reflection of modern sexual phobia: "Sex-in-everything".
In "Pimpami la storia", CapaRezza simultaneously refers to rapper Eminem
's real name, Marshall Mathers, the World War II economic Marshall Plan, and Marshall amplifiers: "The grandfather of Eminem threatens all Europe has to play the Marshall Plan" (“Il nonno di Eminem minaccia tutta l’Europa deve suonare il piano Marshall”).
This lyrical creativity is no more apparent than in this album's single, "Vieni a ballare in Puglia", which takes Puglian folk music, mixes in some electric guitar riffs, and is appropriated with lyrics which play on the similarities between the Italian words for "die" and "dance", criticizing the Puglia government, but this intelligence was lost upon some listeners who thought it was a love letter to the region rather than a political commentary.
Few other rock or rap artists possess the level of originality and talent that is present in this album alone; the ability to create rocking tunes with great intelligence and original lyrics, and a musical style that is difficult to pinpoint, like CapaRezza's idol, Frank Zappa
, or a more diverse-sounding Italian answer to American rappers like Del tha Funkee Homosapien
, with Kool Keith
's affinity for absurd lyrics and concept albums. Few other minds would spawn ideas like singing in a child's voice on "Io diventerò qualcuno" ("I'll Be Famous"), or using spaghetti western music in the beat for " Eroe (Storia di Luigi delle Bicocche)". This is a great album.