Sat 18 Mar

Clemens – Back from the dead

Experience the rap legend live at STAGEBOX

In the early 90s, when Danish rap went through its darkest period since its birth in the 80s, a few hundred hip hop artists took the personal initiative to keep the culture alive.

They met at various underground parties, with dubious sound systems and even worse finances. Here, the few rhymers of the time sharpened their tongues when they fought with pills and punchlines in merciless knockout rounds, which went from being a showdown between individuals to entire regions. It was show u aden business: the only thing the duelists could garner was respect. It gave status and kudos from the environment and the hinterland, but for the participants themselves it was a struggle for spiritual survival.

In this atmosphere, rumors suddenly spread about a small, broad and angry Copenhagen-speaking gangster rapper from Sønderbronx, who took the text content to unprecedented extremes and even backed it up with an attitude of bloody seriousness. A battle rapper who seems to live what he spoke and – unlike most others – didn’t feel like a better-knowing excuse for himself when he practiced so-called black music and even blacker microphone magic.

MC Clemens was the ominous, obscure and occult name. A fusion between absolute slum and elitist creative class. A remarkable and remarkable dirty street boy who tore down the shelves of culture with natural ease and eloquent impertinence. Clemens put the other and much older competitors to the wall through various preliminary rounds, so that it was only the finalists in Copenhagen who, in terms of age and experience, could for a time keep the young, bestial rhyming psychopath in check.

When Clemens first participated, as a 13-year-old, in the then Danish championship, Rapper of the Year 1992, he ended up in 5th place. In 1993, after several rematches, he finished in 2nd place. Rapper of the Year then ceased to exist and Clemens went to training camp. In 1996 he returned, more fiercely ‘rhyme intelligent’ and intense than ever. In an amphetamine intoxication, he necked the then Danish-language freestyle champions PerVers, C-Style and Isbjerg at the same time in a surprise attack at an underground jam in Aarhus.

Under more orderly conditions, Clemens rematched Denmark’s champion PerVers again a short month later and thus gave him a chance for revenge in a fair fight. But Clemens was not to be put in. PerVers had to give up his title.

At the same time, Danish rap was on its way out of its black hole, the East Coast Hustlers and the Humleriddner got record contracts and achieved impressive sales. So Clemens moved as a 16-year-old to Nørrebro’s ghetto in Heimdalsgade to make a name for himself on the established scene. Just two days after his arrival, Clemens bombshelled the Wu Tang Clan’s Old Dirty Bastard when he appeared in Den Grå Hall and dissed his great role model, while nodding and gesturing in appreciation to the great amusement of the crowd.

Shortly after, Clemens won the official DM I RAP 1996. And in continuation of a trip on the cover of Ekstra Bladet, the 16-year-old street rapper was headhunted by various record companies. This led to a deal with then EMI Records. So on Clemens’s 18th birthday in 1997, he published his epoch-making debut Regnskabets Time.

The Hour of Accounts is still recognized as being revolutionary. The lyricism, the technique, the metric and the music suddenly matched the American and international level. It was real and honest content about psychological challenges, the dark sides of the mind and life on the streets of Copenhagen. At the same time full of youthful energy and immortality. Produced by the best from Madness 4 Real to Phase 5. And with authentic guest rappers like the Joker and Ataf Khawaja, who was the first to let so-called ‘perker rap’ see the light of day. Clemens became a catalyst for the young people who lived on the edge, with far-reaching currents of thought and the heart in the right place.

Already in 1999, Clemens was ready with Den Anden Verden, which showed an insane development for the then 19-year-old style creator. Clemens took the magazine out of his mouth and rapped about social structures and opposed world politics. The album thus cemented Clemens as a serious artist. A culture bearer that was here to stay.

Now the original gangster invites you to a 2-hour tour de force, with a real cavalcade of classics from Clemens’ 30-year career on the rap scene. Including tracks that in the community have decidedly cult status and which Clemens has not played live for over 20 years. When Clemens is in top form, he makes the audience transcend with explosive power ominously close to an inner flame that can burn even the most well-equipped venues to the ground.

It is a good thing that we at STAGEBOX have the insurance papers in order.

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