The Slovenia Times

N'Toko and others mind their business in Kino Šiška


The marathon, which started yesterday in Ljubljana's Kino Šiška had barely nothing to do with running and a classic marathon. The NuYuGo! Marathon is a music marathon stopping at 3 stations in former Yugoslavia: Ljubljana, Belgrade and Skopje. The first stop kicked off in Ljubljana yesterday, and one could say that it was truly a blast.

From surf-punk to electronic hip-hop and back again, Kino Šiška hosted three bands this saturday night: the Macedonian trio Molokai, Serbian garage-rockers Repetitor and Slovenian rapper N'Toko, who was for me the highlight on this evening. What a coincidence, that his new album Mind Business was also released yesterday, means that he had a bag full of new songs to play for the curious audience.

The rapper is for sure one of the most fascinating figures in Slovenian music right now: Starting off his career ten years ago with rap battles and becoming two times Slovenian freestyle champion, he is now a well-known artist, who is, besides his music, especially respected for his criticism towards a capitalistic society and his a work as an activist. And yeah, he also writes columns for the magazine Mladina. It is pretty hard to clearly define his work, because he is involved in quite a big number of projects, including his role as lead vocalist in the band Moveknowledgement

Miha Blažič, N'Toko's real name, released various solo records in the last few years: his critically acclaimed Parada Ljubezni album from 2011, the EP Fight Like A Girl in summer 2012 and now Mind Business on the Japanese label Call and Response Records. As you may have already realized, his lyrics are both English and Slovene, and in both languages, he is ripping it. Also at yesterday's performance he mixed tracks from his new LP with some older ones in Slovene. The way how he changes effortlessly from one language to the other during the set is amazing.

It is not easy to find a right expression for his style of music, I would maybe call it alternative, avant-gardish electro hip-hop. N'Toko squeezes heavy basslines out of his synthesizers and lights a firework of different sounds above it. Sometimes, it gets weird when this labyrinth of sound is getting too confusing for listeners, but somehow he always finds a way out. 

To conclude: this guy is definitely among the most interesting artists in Slovenia today, exploring what is possible with a laptop, some synthesizers, a mic and some great lyrics on stage.


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