Herra Hnetusmjör – It‘s day three at Secret Solstice and we started out at the Gimli stage, expecting to see Novelist take the stage, but getting Herra Hnetusmjör instead. Herra Hnetusmjör (e. mr. Peanutbutter) is one in a wave of young Icelandic hip hop artists making music in Iceland. The music is fun but not exactly the stuff of music history, although his song Hvítur bolur, gullkeðja (white t-shirt, gold chain) is a very guilty pleasure of mine.
XXX Rottweiler – Next up were the godfathers of Icelandic hip hop, XXX Rottweiler. They rose to fame in the late nineties, doing songs about how everyone is drinking, not inviting people to parties and telling the truth about what they think of your mother, or as I like to call it, lyrical gold. Their show was great and the (mostly Icelandic) crowd was singing along and dancing like there was no tomorrow!
M.O.P. – According to my fellow festival-goers, M.O.P. are legends. I’ll admit to my shameful ignorance on that subject, but I did enjoy myself immensely at their show, despite the rain, which was becoming a serious threat to good moods everywhere at that point. In the end, we admitted our defeat and fled inside Hel.
By that point, we had learned to treat the festival schedule more as an educated guess than an actual time plan so I can’t really tell you who was playing inside, just that the heavy techno beats were exactly what we needed at that point. No disrespect to the Rottweilers or M.O.P, but mindlessly dancing to endless music was actually my favourite part of the night.
Þér er ekki boðið. If you’re reading this as a foreigner, odds are you didn’t understand a word. These are lyrics from one of the more well-known songs by Icelandic’s rap group XXX Rottweiler Hundar’s, and roughly translates into ‘you are not invited (to the party)’. I must say, it does sound a lot nicer in Icelandic than it does in English, doesn’t it? Apparently, the rap group is known for their cruel yet witty lyrics. So not being invited to a party might actually be one of the more polite things they’ve said during their performance.
The hiphop group is considered the ‘father’ of Icelandic hiphop, as they were founded in the late 90’s and started the Icelandic hip hop scene to grow more and more popular over time. As shown by the huge crowd gathering in front of the stage several minutes before the gig, they really made an impact. Beats were played, hands were raised, and the community feel of the crowd shouting “ISLAND” several times in a row was quite fun to attend as a foreigner.
Before going out to see XXX Rottweiler Hundar, I spent some time at Valhalla, the largest outdoor area of the festival. Here Högni, an Icelandic composer and artist gave a performance. Dressed in all-white and with long blonde hair, he had quite the angelic-look going on. I must say I greatly enjoyed his music as it had more of an indie-vibe to it. I love stripped down performances involving nothing more than a piano and a voice, which Högni executed very well, several times.
Despite the harsh wind blowing the pouring rain straight into your face (it’s Iceland, we kinda signed up for this), I had a great third day enjoying, mostly, Icelandic hiphop and seeing the enthusiasm for certain artists among the crowd. On to day four it is!