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Read passionate stories about music and joyful memories, written by us or our friends!


The Wacky World of the Earliest Rap in Dutch and its Surprising Relevance Today 


by Romain Crutzen, January 16, 2023




Part 1 - Rubberen Robbie
The first rap track in Dutch is connected to J Dilla and Kendrick Lamar - but not in the way you might expect.

Nowadays, the Dutch hit-charts are filled with hip hop using Dutch lyrics by the likes of Boef, Ronnie Flex and Snelle. Hip hop in Dutch gained traction in the early 90s, through artists such as Osdorp Posse and Extince - who started rapping Dutch after about a decade of experience in rapping in English. Extince and Osdorp Posse’s music has many thematic similarities to the current day chart-toppers.The earliest rapping records in Dutch were very different, however, from the hip hop it later became.


The first rap record in Dutch, Rubberen Robbie & Ko - “Hallo, Hallo, Hallo”, was released in 1979. The traits that define most hip hop such as lyrical depth, technical prowess and a rough street atmosphere were more than absent in the first Dutch rap records - the earliest examples of Dutch rap were simply ridiculous.

This piece will discuss the first rap record in Dutch, Hallo, Hallo, Hallo by Rubberen Robbie - a piece of novelty rap by a group that has had quite a significant influence on music history.

Hallo, Hallo, Hallo
This earliest example of rap using the Dutch language, Rubberen Robbie’s “Hallo, Hallo, Hallo” (1979), uses the beat from Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang. The lyrics have very little substance; It’s written from the perspective of a radio DJ that talks about eating biscuits, which he likes to eat with coffee. Unfortunately, all broadcasting companies always have bad coffee. The lyrics consist mostly of complaints about being a radio DJ - annoying callers, messy studio, and some random stuff in between. The lyrics seem very quickly written and generally come off as a low-effort parody of Rapper’s Delight, which was in the charts at the time. The track can be classified as parody; the lyrics are rapped in a silly voice and ridicule deejays. Despite the subject matter the track comes across as more of a silly joke than as a critique or satire.


On Robbie
Rubberen Robbie is one of the many aliases of a group of five producers/musicians that started as a glam rock band in the 70s. This collective has a baffling output (both in size and shape), most notably under the names “Adams & Fleisner” and “Cat Music”. During the 80s they also made break music, Italo disco, electro and house while still making rock, pop and parody music, as well as scoring a large international hit as ‘Video Kids” with Peter Slaghuis - perhaps the subject for another article.

The size of their discography is staggering and too much to go into detail for this article, apart from some highlights. An item in their discography that still gets some attention in the Italo-lovers’ sphere is their work as ‘Digital Emotion”.


(Another writer’s favourite from their discography is a parody of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” called “O Supermarkt”, which features a robot singing (synthesizing?) about having to buy chicken soup. It should be noted that their output is not only revered in music nerd circles - Rubberen Robbie has achieved cult status in their home city of Leiden and their song ‘3 Oktober’ about the holiday unique to the city is a staple in the yearly festivities.)

J Dilla Sirens
Surprisingly, a sample made by Adams & Fleisner for a 1984 sound effects compilation, “Pulsar City Alarm” has become a staple sample and appears for example on Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and “Sweet / I Thought You Wanted to Dance” by Tyler, The Creator, as well as songs by The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, DJ Khaled and many more. The sample is often referred to as ‘J Dilla Sirens”, as legendary beatmaker J Dilla frequently used this specific siren.


List of tracks using the siren


Overview
The connection between the Rubberen Robbie members and rap music started as a joke. Ironically, their sample “Pulsar City Alarm”, which was made in a completely different context without any connection to rap (a “Space Sound” compilation), found its way into the most influential hip hop music of today - songs by artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator. The sample has also been used frequently in the past by legendary beatsmith J Dilla. Additionally, their later work is still being enjoyed by selectors and dancers worldwide.

Any tips on good music made by Adams & Fleisner (or other comments) are more than welcome at romain@radio-tnp.com




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