In the latest music documentary by New Era, the second in a docu-series exploring creative communities worldwide, we dive deep into the Icelandic rap scene, which made international waves in 2015 thanks to artists like Gísli Pálmi and Úlfur Úlfur. However, that was just the beginning. “I feel rap music has become its own language. We have so many different acts speaking that language now here in Iceland,” says one of the artists in the documentary. “It all boils down to being a voice inside a smaller community. And I think we have more artists per capita than any nation in the world,” says proudly another one.
In recent years, a café/bar/nightclub called Prikið has become the centre of attention for up-and-coming artists that want to cement their positions in the music industry. “Prikid is like the Mecca of the Icelandic rap scene” says one of them in the New Era documentary. Certainly, Prikid is the meeting point where all rap artists gravitate towards. Managed by Geoffrey Þór Huntingdon-Williams, who also founded Sticky Records, the multi-functional space is the place where everything happens. “It’s our church,” says Joey Christ, one of the city’s most acclaimed rappers, who’s opened shows for everyone from Young Thug to Migos. “It’s where artists get their first chance and where legacies are cemented.”
Geoffrey encourages young people to express themselves through music, offering them the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of dozens of music lovers. Some of the most exciting are Elvar and his collective Fly South, which gathers musicians, producers, visual artists, filmmakers, and even fashion designers. Another one is Filipino-Icelandic artist Countess Malaise, who also defies the male-dominated scene. “I’d describe my music as emotional, fierce and sexy,” she says. And it’s true. With an explosive hit like Tired of This Shit, an infectious ode to losing your temper, the singer performs sold-out shows at Prikid and aims to become a global phenomenon.
With such a bubbling scene, New Era steps in to support the rising talent hailing from Reykjavik. Back in May, the brand collaborated in a sell-out show at Prikid headlined by Elvar and Countess Malaise. “The party was crazy,” admits Geoffrey, the club’s manager. But that’s not all: in addition, New Era will also provide funding for the venue and the surrounding scene so that this promising new generation can grow into internationally acclaimed artists. “New Era are a staple of the hip-hop community,” says Joey Christ, “so I think it’s really cool that they are putting some funding into the scene through Geoff and Prikið. When you perform there, you’re playing for people who love music.”