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Underground on the way up – NRK Culture and entertainment

If you have not heard of the group “UNDERGROUND”, it is probably because you have become a little older than you once were.

In 2018, the boys were 15 years old and posted “Isbil” on the music platform Soundcloud. Since then, they have released dozens of songs.

The group of friends from Oslo use the artist names Marstein, Loverboy, Rikpappa, Fretex, Puz and Plaza.

From left Patrick Bakkeng (Fretex), Gabriel Doria (Plaza), Marcos Haugestad (Rikpappa), Sverre Skogheim Gudmestad (Puz), Jo Almaas Marstein (Marstein) and Jon Ranes (Loverboy). Together they are UNDERGROUND.

Photo: Christian Ziegler Remme / NRK

Now finished high school and earlier this spring came their second album, with the same name as the group, «UNDERGRUNN».

Although the guys rap about drugs, money and wine, they also like coffee and cake.

Photo: Christian Ziegler Remme / NRK

They have several million plays on Spotify and when the new album came, it was four weeks at the top of Spotify in Norway.

UNDERGRUNN was recently on the radio program Musikkrommet on NRK. Listen to the episode here.

Cool over money

Most rappers are happy to rap about, and make, money.

Still, it seems that the boy band, as they like to be called, is more concerned with cultural than economic capital.

– It was not just “we want to be artists” and “we look forward to a record company giving us the opportunity”. They would do it on their own terms.

Suzie Moslet is a journalist for 730.no.

Suzie Moslet (19) writes about pop culture for 730.no.

Photo: Private

That’s what Suzie Moslet (19) says. She is a journalist for the website 730.no and has been a bird on “UNDERGRUNN” for several years.

She says they are called “children of the cultural elite”, partly because many have parents many know from the TV screen, but also because of the reference in the songs.

– They have a much wider range of references than what is expected of hip hop artists. They refer to old Norwegian authors as well, says Moslet.

What Moslet points out here also appears on their latest album cover which shows the architectural gem «Villa Stenersen». A reference that goes right over the head of most people.

Villa Stenersen

ARCHITECTURE: The texts are about wine, design and culture. Not all Norwegian rappers use references such as the special house Villa Stenersen.

Photo: Annar Bjørgli / The National Museum

Loverboy, or Jon Ranes as he is actually called, is also an actor known from, among others, “Pørni”.

In addition, he was nominated for an Amanda Award for his role in the film “Out to Steal Horses”.

– Dagens Næringsliv has already managed to stick the label «high culture rap» on them, really just because some of them have grown up with the cultural elite in Lille Tøyen Hageby.

It was written by music critic in NRK Espen Borge after their concert at Sentrum Scene in May.

Elleville fans

After the concert, he rolled a six on the dice and called them “superstars”. Borge was also surprised by how extreme the crowd was.

– It was a kind of «Beatlemania» feeling over it. They jump high, are intense and know all the lyrics on rams, says the reviewer.

Espen Borge is a music and humor reviewer for NRK.

Espen Borge is a music and humor reviewer for NRK.

He thinks the way they write rap lyrics in Norwegian differs from the other we have seen in the last decade.

When do the adults come and destroy?

When young people invent new and cool things, it often does not take long before commercial forces come in and take the sting out of what is exciting.

Borge believes UNDERGRUNN will retain its artistic uniqueness even though its popularity increases.

UNDERGRUNN started in the boys' room, until the summer they will, among other things, play at the Øya Festival.

UNDERGRUNN started in the boys’ room, until the summer they will, among other things, play at the Øya Festival.

Photo: Christian Ziegler Remme / NRK

“Even the rich, stubborn old people who are going to make money from this, see that UNDERGRUNN is doing so well,” says Borge.

He compares it to how “Carp” operates.

– It is full creative freedom, but also profitable.

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