The 87-degree heat didn’t stop Oslo-based rappers King Shway and Young Cisto from showing off their energetic dance moves at Musikkfest on Saturday, June 2. The two rappers drew a crowd on Torggata, a stone block street in front of Cafe Sør.
When talking to King Shway and Young Cisto after the show, we not only discussed their music but also how being an artist in Norway differs from the United States.
King Shway grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Norway to attend university. He said the move was quite difficult for him, both mentally and financially. Luckily, within a year he said he got a job and started his Norwegian music career.
King Shway says the hip hop scene is very different in Norway.
“There are more pop clubs and rock clubs here,” King Shway said. “The new wave, the trapping, and the smoking weed, Norway doesn’t want that. They want to be low key in their circle.” They listen to edgy rap lyrics, but “here it’s a lot of pretending like they’re doing it, and in America they’re actually doing it. Because in Norway you don’t have AK-47s, lean, you don’t have Xanax, you don’t have anything, you can barely get weed. That’s the big difference here.”
Although Oslo is a struggle, King Shway said LA was more difficult for him. He compared it to wolves vs. ants. He said many people want to be successful rappers in LA, but don’t make it out of the hood. He said if you struggle here, you’ll make money regardless.
“Jail here is better than living in the hood in LA,” King Shway said, “and that’s honest facts.”
His future in Norway includes a King Shway and Young Cisto album coming out this weekend. Follow the release on King Shway’s Facebook page.
(This blog was reported by Jenna Herrick and Billy Ray Malone. It was produced by Jenna Herrick.)