Music

SXSW Showcase Preview: Adam Tensta

by Winston "Stone" Ford

Adam Tensta is one of the best hip-hop MC of the past 5 years.

There, I said it. Hip-hop it seems has been in a creative void lately. MC’s are either trying to bring back the boom bap of the 90s or trying to go ultra Southern with repetitive synths and dumbed down lyrics. Even the very few artists who are pushing the creative void are being copied on the daily by guys with skinny jeans and a MySpace account. A once creative genre has lost its voice.

To truly find some of the best talent in hip-hop, you must travel abroad. Enter Adam Tensta. The Swedish MC is slowly making a household name for himself in The States, but the lack of a Brooklyn or ATL residence unfortunately is keeping him off of the XXL Freshman 10 list this year. For shame. Coming from the land of IKEA and Volvos might make true hip-hop “purists” give him the side-eye, but Tensta is a dominant MC, that can outrap some of the best rising stars in the game.

With a swagger that rivals any ATLien, and a sped up cadence that would put any rapper to shame, Adam represents the future of hip-hop. Tensta, who’s name derives from his hometown outside of Stockholm, Sweden has been making some of the most progressive and insightful hip-hop in the past few years. Forget the bling and club talk, Adam’s rhymes talk about racism (Bangin’ On The System), and racial profiling (Dopeboy), harken back to the day when the genre was the CNN for the ghetto. However, don’t get it twisted, Tensta makes Euro club jams such as “Back Before You Know It,” and “My Cool,” balancing consciousness with party-ready anthems.

His album, “It’s A Tensta Thing,” won a Swedish Grammy, and he has rocked shows in Europe, Africa, and the US, opening for such acts as The Cool Kids, U-N-I here and getting respect from pioneers such as Mos Def and even Perez Hilton. And before you give Swedish hip-hop another skeptical glance, his crew, consisting of such cats as Eboi and Pato Pooh are very capable MCs’s in their own right dropping straight amazing freestyles

What does an Adam Tensta show look like? Well, check out this video from his sold-out DC show for a primer:

Deriving largely from the Euro club scene, expect an energetic set next Wednesday at Speakeasy’s. This is not a “head nodder” affair, expect a lot of jumping and dancing–not your typical hip-hop at all.

The clash of hip-hop and electro has already begun, and European club has entered the mainstream, thanks to artists like The Crookers and David Guetta pairing with the Black Eyed Peas, Kid Cudio, and Akon. These DJs have opened up the door the next wave of Euro artists into the American mainstream. It’s time for Adam to walk through that door.

Adam will be performing at the Senari x Couch Sessions SXSW showcase next Wednesday, March 17th at 10:00 PM. RSVP Here.

BONUS: Pato Pooh feat. Adam Tensta – Follow Me