Indies Scope MAM430-2
Full Price (43 mins)
Reprezent is the second album from the man who is fast becoming the greatest Czech musical export since Dvořák and Janáček, and even for newcomers, the instant appeal of Radoslav ‘Gipsy’ Banga is not hard to fathom: driving upbeat Roma instrumentation, incisive lyrics and fluid vocal delivery, all combined with plenty of tongue in cheek hip-hop swagger. Where much European hip-hop fails due to its aspiration to be nothing more than a pale imitation of its American heroes, Gipsy.cz defiantly bucks the trend: yes, he can’t resist occasional gangsta clichés of posturing, money and bitches, but when a musician can combine the sun-drenched good vibes of rumba diva Věra Bílá (“Benga Beating”) with devastating one-liners about overcoming racism in Czech society (“Barvolepej Svet”, Colour-Blind World), you just have to sit up and take notice. Alongside the sharp lyrical delivery, bouncing guitar and accordion rhythm sections, are plenty of catchy vocal hooks, and Banga is no slouch at singing either. The whole package is so good that even the rapping in dodgy English is somehow convincing. Overall, a record that is both great world music and first rate pop in the best sense of the word.