Unrapped: Norwegian Hip-Hop Duo Madcon
Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Yosef and Tshawe, rappers who make up the hip-hop outfit Madcon, are infiltrating American radio stations and iTunes playlists with the urban, reggae-tinged remake of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons’ hit, “Beggin’.”
The European artists chose to remake the classic overseas hit after Tshawe heard the record in a club while pondering a recent break-up with an ex-girlfriend. “I was feeling very emotional [and] the DJ played the [original ‘Beggin”],” Tshawe reveals. “I was very fascinated how [Frankie Valli] could be so frank, especially begging for something he thought was worthwhile. [It] is very seldom to hear a man expressing himself in that way.” According to Yosef, the soulful single, complete with hip-hop and Motown influences, will be “the first and only time” Madcon does a cover of a record.
Fans of West Coast hip-hop, Raphael Saadiq, and A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, Madcon sites the famous “Yo! MTV Raps” show as their medium into the world of hip-hop. However, their genre of choice isn’t the only activity that keeps them busy. Tshawe is a licensed deep sea diver and the champion of 2007’s “Skal Vi Danse,” the Norwegian rendition of “Dancing with the Stars,” while Yosef admits to being a fan of Miley Cyrus and the Hannah Montana franchise. Madcon is eccentric, a quality that Yosef explains new listeners and devoted fans will appreciate in their music: “You can expect the unexpected. In hip-hop, there is a box you need to be in. Be like this, talk like this, rap like this… We don’t follow that format.”
The duo, recently signed to Next Plateau/Universal Republic, will debut their U.S. album, So Dark the Con of Man, on September 15. Listen to their explosive single, “Beggin’,” below.