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AGI – The Neapolitan rapper returns to the market with “Black Pulcinella”, an album in which he skillfully mixes his comedy rap with purely street narration, hosting some of the most interesting guys from the very strong Neapolitan urban scene. “For me it is unacceptable that the best singer is the one that works best on TikTok – he tells AGI – which is bullshit; the best singer is the one who never loses his voice for twenty concerts. What do you do with TikTok or guns? I’m afraid if I see a gun, but if I rap I’ll kill you “.
“Black Pulcinella” is perhaps Clementino’s best record, certainly the most mature, the most authentic, in which his comedy rap mixes with street narration, all put together thanks to a sense of the construction of the bars, a technique in practice , which few in Italy handle with such ease.
Clementino, who is in fact a “black” Pulcinella, and that “black” we can understand it as humor, but also as a reference to 90s hip hop, which “black” certainly was, brings with it some of the most interesting guys from the Neapolitan urban scene and, without ever taking himself too seriously, he throws up even his own nostalgia, without having to use his songs to tell the world that he made it, because he is Clementino and we all know that he does. did it.
You stated that on this new album you felt particularly free, in what?
I’ve always been a B-boy, I’ve always enjoyed being a part of hip hop culture, I’ve turned 40 and I was missing it so believably. I was the one who left by plane to go to Prague at Hip Hop Camp, I have always collected vinyls of all American rappers, I am an encyclopedia. When I thought about doing a new album I said “That country all the rules, I want to do it how I like it, like God commands” and I put all the heavy hip hop stuff in it. Because nowadays, if there’s one thing hard to find, it’s a truly rap record; I’ve listened to a lot of shit that’s very cool, but it goes a long way from rap as I mean it.
Listening to the record you realize that it has very dark features, surprising given the vital and nice image we have of you and your “comedy rap” …
I think that a record must be made with the heart, it must give you something, if it does not stimulate feelings, it is useless. I decided to put the tragicomic in the middle, Joker, in this case Pulcinella, because the tragicomic is the art of Neapolitan comedy and the same thing I wanted to do, the tragedy of serious pieces, which talk about drugs, alcohol, discomfort , and the comedian of the comedy as in “ATM”, “Sound Of Napoli” or “MKCNF8”; I enjoyed putting these two things together.
I very much appreciated the fact that in the record he deals with the issues of current rap, therefore the revenge, having made it etc … etc …, but without giving up the technical apparatus in the construction of the bars, this too we can consider a tribute to rap 90’s?
Look, I’m really MC, the MC in flesh and blood. MC means master of ceremony, my name is Maccaro Clemente, I have the MC right in the initials. For me the rap song as God commands must be done with the content, with the message and with the flow, because in any case the flow is important and you don’t learn it overnight. The phrases that strike, especially in the last period, take them on Instagram, go to motivation.it, read a sentence, copy it and put it in a text; and maybe you even pass yourself off as a great poet. For me 50% of a song is the flow, because it’s always how you say things that makes the difference, the flow makes you original and originality is important, because they are all the same now. Having originality is important, my flow makes me something unique, but I try to evolve, I don’t want to become the copy of the copy. But then you have to be good at using this flow, the puns, swapping the metrics, changing the register, changing the voice, for me it is important, I got there after 12 albums perfectly and still maybe they are not there, because no one is perfect , as Pino Daniele said.
In “Revenge”, in featuring with Enzo Dong, you focus a little on the epic of the street, but how essential do you think street credibility is in raping today?
It is very important. Becoming a legend over the years is important to everyone. I have seen people become famous from one month to the next, but then in the rap circuits no one calculated them; I, on the other hand, do not sell millions of records as some can sell, but once I went to Rome, to San Lorenzo, to the “360 °”, which was a place where I used to do freestyle competitions as a kid, I went in there there were fifty people and they applauded me. I remember that they were all with the backpack and the hat backwards, I saw myself as a child and when they gave me the applause I felt the respect, this is street credibility, for me it is important, because it happens to many to sell for one year, getting big and then dying the next year, but it is difficult to stay for twenty years.
In “Emirates” instead you face with Rocco Hunt the drama of having to leave the south to make it … there is a particular relationship between you, right?
With Rocchino everything was born naturally, we have been doing things together for a lifetime. Last time I went into the studio and I said to him: “We have to do something like Top Scorers, like O ‘mar’ eo ‘sole, that stuff we did before”. Because the last collaboration that Rocco and I did dates back to his album “Libertà”, the song was titled “Cursed south” and had an acoustic base, certainly not much rap. At this time we decided to go back to a more rap sound, to respect the sound of my record, and I must say that he wrote this fantastic chorus. But the good part comes in the third verse, because we do a back and forth that I can’t wait to do on stage, we basically split the bars. Rocco and I are a rap couple like Marra and Gue, Gemitaiz and MadMan, Salmo and Nitro… they have always supported us and it’s a very nice thing. I remember when Rocco did this freestyle competition and I was on the jury and I let him win because he was very strong; and when the people saw us together they went mad, because they saw a little boy with glasses, from Salerno, short, and a tall man, with a reversed hat, from Naples; together this couple has always worked, we did so much that it went great.
How does your relationship with rap change in a long career?
Rap is in my blood, I have it inside, I think I’m the only rapper who, while on TV and doing The Voice with Orietta Berti and Loredana Bertè, takes the microphone and starts freestyle in dialect; pure madness and people go crazy and this is hip hop. Rap is certainly a large part of my life, if I’m on TV now, if I’m at the cinema now, it’s thanks to rap, made with rhymes in dialect. I am devoted to the noble art of rap.
Among other things, the Neapolitan dialect is a language particularly suited to rap, much more than Italian …
In Neapolitan the rhymes are all with truncated words, nothing ends in a vowel, which is why our slang is like that of Brooklyn. New York and Naples are on the 41st parallel, even if I belong more to the California side, my way of doing rap is more West Coast, it’s more Snoop Dogg, more Kendrick, Dr. Dre … also as regards the basics, those of West Coast are upbeat and I wallow in that stuff. I like rap in the sea, after all Naples is the Italian West Coast.
How do you find this new generation of rappers, many of whom you got involved in the record?
I am no longer Clementino, I am uncle Clemente, because all the features of the album are all younger than me, I am the oldest among all the collaborations and I am happy, because there is a new scene that rocks. None of them, and I’m talking to you not only about the Neapolitans, did a verse like homework, they all worked hard and they all did mega verses, that’s why the record works, the guest verses, my verses and the productions. Everything went fine. The only thing missing in this album is an American featuring, it would have been the icing, but unfortunately we didn’t get where we wanted so there was no opportunity, but that’s okay, it will mean that things had to go like this and I’m happy.
You have gone through almost all the phases of Italian rap, from when it was a niche genre to today which is pure pop, how did you experience this change? And in your opinion what has brought good but also bad?
The good thing has resulted in that however it is a culture that is now expanding, until recently the audience did not even know where they were at home, but now it has depopulated and this is a good thing. The second good thing is the technology, which has led to Spotify, to the platforms where you can make your music fly, once we had to make the cassette and send it to Milan hoping it would arrive. The bad thing is that it allowed everyone to rap and that’s not a very good thing, because out of ten rappers, three get saved and move on, the other seven stay where they are. Over the years I have seen the rap / pop scene pass, the normal rap scene, the rap / reggaeton scene, the dubstep scene, the rap / trap scene, now we are in the period of the rap / drill scene … in the end who is strong remains , who is not strong it is useless to hide behind the big car and the gold bracelet. Do you know why they show the big car and brag about likes? Because they can’t rap. If I can’t rap, I’ll show you this stuff here, I’ll try to throw smoke in your eyes, if I can rap, I don’t need to show anything. In my opinion the key must be the music, for me it is inadmissible that the best singer is the one that works best on TikTok, which is bullshit; the best singer is the one who never loses his voice for twenty concerts. What do you do with Tik Tok or guns? I’m scared if I see a gun, but if I rap I’ll kill you.
Have you noticed that this change has also led to a crisis of the issues?
Of course, this is why the pioneers, the veterans are again strong, because a lot of albums have always been released with the same theme, always with the same things, always with the same terms. Noys Narcos, Clementino, Salmo, Marracash, Fabri Fibra, Guè, for this reason they are returning to have a mega explosion, because people see and hear it and those who are veterans will never repeat the same rhyme.
In these two years during which music, more than all other sectors of our society, has been hit by the restrictions due to the pandemic, have you asked yourself any questions about the consideration that institutions have of you as a show worker?
There was a lack of respect for both the artists and the workers, I understand that the artist can stay a year without playing, because the artist is the one who sells, keeps the money and can stay. But who is an electrician, a make-up artist, a hairdresser, a sound engineer, a set designer … the workers are important, there are people who have had to close the business and this is inadmissible. For me the biggest had to intervene, in Italy it was useless to have Clementino intervene, in Italy Vasco Rossi must intervene, Jovanotti must intervene, Laura Pausini, Ramazzotti, Bocelli, Zucchero must intervene, the top, top, top players, who have just the numbers phone of these people in the government to call and say, “Oh, what are you doing?”. The concert all sitting with the mask … but what kind of rap concert is it? Then everyone in the stadiums standing shouting and cheering, it’s not fair.