Quarashi

Hip-Hop from the mean urban ghetto streets of Iceland
*special introductory paragraph!
*Quarashi
*Xeneizes
*Kristnihald Undir Jokli
*Jinx
*Guerilla Disco

Because I am on the cutting edge of today's thriving musical scene, I am often the first to enjoy a band that others have only dreamt of in youthful consternations, such as Dread Zeppelin and Bruce Fairbarn's Aquarium Rescue Unit. One day in 2002, I received via courier a compact record called Jinx by a band from Iceland called Quarashi. I wasn't exactly sure how the name was pronounced, so I began calling them "The Steaming Dicks" to all the radio DJs I promoted them to. The CD was hop- hip, a form of music usually associated with the urban ghetto streets of America's heartland (Compton, South Central, Boise). From Iceland? You're probably thinking the same thing I was - don't they get frostbite when they're onstage waving their dicks around?


Quarashi - Lax 1997
Rating = 2

Extra! Extra! Read some about it! Three Icelandic men named Solvi, Steini and Hossi have formed a combo that can only be called "The Icelandic Rip-Off Of The Beastie Boys."

Indeed, though they would soon branch out into ripping off Rage Against The Machine and other top bands, Quarashi was at the outset a complete Beastie Boys rip-off. This record finds them mimicking that band's distorted vocal effects, scratchy funk loops, groovy bass lines and bratty rapping style, while completely failing to replicate the humor and hooks so crucial to their success. Only 6,000 copies of Quarashi were pressed, and that's plenty thanks.

Typical raps include:

"I rock the microphone! Until dawn!"

"So what's up? All night! / Get drunk - big fight!"

"Tick tock ya'll! / I don't stop ya'll! / I'm like a bomb that's about to go off ya'll!"

To their credit, they do try to keep the background music diverse, filling the bass/drum mixes with samples ranging from piano riffs, antique organs, soul horns, suave guitars and gospel vocals to reversed keyboard lines, buzzy synths, squiggly weirdness, turntable scratches and sci-fi electronics. Unfortunately, nobody in the band seems to understand the mechanics of 'melody' or 'anything interesting at all,' so this variety of instrumental tones are wasted on cliche'd sub-Beastie funk, bland keyboard soul and embarrassing Macho rock. A few bright passages escape this den of stupidity (horn-laden instrumental "Herra Jinx," impressive speed-rap "Mr. Amber Shades" and odd guitar/violin piece "Beam Me Up" are probably the least shitty tracks), but the majority of the 16-song work is simply a Beastie Boys tribute album gone terribly wrong.

One of the songs does feature real-live ICELANDIC rapping though! It's called "Framogtilbaka," which translates to "I am a frog chewing tobacco."

Poor Rick Wright. He was a member of Pink Floyd.

But here's what really gets me: Sarah Palin using Heart's "Barracuda" as her theme song when not two months ago I proposed that Obama do the same thing (particularly the middle section...."Oooooh bara bara bara Barack Obama!"). Shouldn't I get royalties even though I didn't tell anybody about my idea? I think so, sure.

And another thing. Why isn't Obama putting lots of ads out about how Al-Qaeda want McCain to be elected? They do! Because another Republican election (particularly that of a man who wants us to stay in Iraq for another 100 years) will make it even easier for them to recruit new members; they can just tell them, "See? The U.S. population clearly wants to eradicate Islam!" (but in their funny foreigner language). Obama should totally have ads running that say "McCain - Osama Bin Laden's Choice!" and then draw a little turban on McCain's head. That's what I'd do, if I were running for President.

You know what else I'd do? Lose.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
John McCain!
John McCain who?
I don't know. I'm 5 million years old and suffering from dementia.

Here's a list of movies:
On Golden Pond
Escape From Witch Mountain
Absence of Malice

Add your thoughts?


Xeneizes - Japis 1999
Rating = 5

Through their willingness to break the all-Beastie-Boys mold and incorporate such influences as heavy metal, bachelor pad jazz, '70s schmaltz, Rage Against The Machine anger-funk and even indie rock balladry, Quarashi have crafted a second record that, while still terribly inconsistent, is gallonbuckets more original and enjoyable than their worthless piece of shit debut. Even more interestingly, a few of these songs merge rap verses with melodramatic sung choruses in a manner nearly identical to that of Linkin Park, yet Linkin Park didn't even have an album out yet. Could it be that Linkin Park weren't actually the brilliant musical innovators that we all thought!?

Sample lyrics include:

"Take me along, once again on that trip/Bring it on and when I'm gone, bite your lip"

"She kept me warm and cozy/But I had to kick her out when she got too nosy"

"Wake up with your nuts bound to my bedpost/KY jelly I'll be your perverted host"

"I got to rip things up like my name was Jack the Ripper/There's a party at your house cause your mama is a stripper"

"Skilur ad, skilurdu tad, tad skilur ad/Allt annar madur, betri en I gaer, eg vildi helst geta daelt ut ur mer"

Regardless of their improved songcrafting skillz, Quarashi still rely a bit too heavily on dull Beastie Boy-inspired funk-rap. If you have a Downloading Machine, might I recommend snagging the sweet lounge instrumental "Brasilian Mongo," catchy acoustic/keyboard rap "Tambourine Cut," dark swooping string-heavy "Mayday," sick and astonishingly heavy riffer "Fuck You Puto," and actual song "Dive In." A few others have their moments too, but not enough to justify wading through warm sewage like the lousy rap-metal "Punk" (which isn't) and nauseating Boy Bander "Jivin' About" (which is). People in Iceland might feel differently, but we here in the British Colonies prefer our hip-hop to be sassy, silent and absent.

Now here's a little song I wrote called "Who Gives A Shit?":

WHO GIVES A SHIT?
Lyrics by Mark Prindle
Music by Mark Prindle
Copyright Mark Prindle 2008
Trademark Mark Prindle
From The Album Mark Prindle
Mark Prindle Records

Who gives a shit
About the second Quarashi CD?
Why did I waste time reviewing it?
I could've been out contracting VD

Who gives a shit?
I could've reviewed Nick Cave
But think of all those Icelanders
And the Icelandic money they'll save

CHORUS:
Who gives a shit?
Who gives a shit?
Who gives a shit?
Yeah!

Who gives a shit?
I mean, I don't want to spoil it
But they only pressed 6,000 copies
And those probably wound up in the toilet

Who gives a shit?
No wonder I got thrown off Wikipedia
And now all my former readers
are heading over to Pitchfork Media

(CHORUS)

(*guitar solo*)

(*drum solo*)

(*bass solo*)

(*organ solo*)

(*banjo solo*)

(*spoken word solo*)

(*didjideroo solo*)

(*tambourine solo*)

(*full orchestra solo*)

Who gives a shit?
About Icelandic hip-hop?
I could've devoted this space
to praising Paul McCartney & Wings' "Bip Bop"

Who gives a shit?
About Quarashi's Xeneizes?
I could've been with Sarah Palin's daughter
Contracting venereal diseases

(CHORUS)

(CHORUS)

(CHORUS)

(*rainstorm sound effect*)

(*rhythm guitar solo*)

(*fade out*)

(*fade in*)

(*three cymbal smashes*)

I'VE GOT SISTERS ON MY DINGERS!

(FACT: I have seventeen peni.)

Add your thoughts?

Kristnihald Undir Jokli - Sproti 2001
Rating = 4

Last night as I watched Tupac Shakur and his legendary Digital Underground hip-hop their way into the history books as undeclared stars of Dan Aykroyd's Nothing But Trouble, I couldn't help but think, "What if ALL our favorite hip-hop artists performed soundtracks for shitty movies?" Here's a little list I came up with, to help generate discussion and anger:

Home Alone III: We Hate Our Child OST by Iceberg T
Home Alone IV: Fuck You, McCauley Culkin OST by Dee Dee King

And that's all I came up with. Luckily, Quarashi did me one-upperton by recording the soundtrack to what is surely a stupid play about a glacier, entitled Kristnihald Undir Jokli. IMPORTANT NOTE: Neither Omar nor Steini perform on this record. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS RECORD IN HOPES OF HEARING OMAR OR STEINI. This was a vanity project by Hossi and Solvi, who were out to prove that they were more than your average gang banging rap tappers. And success was theirs!

Okay, 40% success. But that's better than no success at all! (ex. Michale Graves) The disc is mostly instrumental, and finds Tha Hossmaster and Solv-Dog experimenting with avant-garde electronics, classical music, jazz, heavy metal, funk rock and bird noises. A few of the experiments are great fun; I'm especially fond of "Beitahusamen," a silly Beastie Boys-style 70's organ pastiche with'Bop Bop Bop Mmm Bop!' vocals; "Smioavel," which loops industrial pounding and drilling noises into danceable rhythms before adding an old jazz recording on top; and "Hulduhrutur," a playful cacophony of feedback, electronics and whirligigs so bizarre that it could pass for a Klaus Flouride recording!

Unfortunately, what kills the record is its excruciating repetitiveness. For example, the first track, "Ua," is built around a morose Beethoveny piano motif that I don't particularly care for. And it's unfortunate that I feel this way because it shows up again in track seven ("ursululokkar"), yet again in track eight ("Ursulugja") and once agoddamnedgain in track thirteen ("Ursulugja - Instrumental"). Similarly, the foreboding piano riff of "Primus," not bad on its own, grows ridiculously tiresome as it shows up again in both "Primus - 80's" and "Primus - Vox." Worst of all, it doesn't even sound like Primus! Come on you assholes.

And don't get me started about "Umbi" and "Umbi II"!

So essentially, although you think you're getting 13 giant monster tracks, you're actually being ripped off to the tune of about seven songs. I guess that's the nature of the soundtrack biz (repeated motifs and all), but the lack of melodic or even stylistic diversity drags the second half down to a standstill of bland redundancy.

Oh wait! I came up with one more:

Home Alone V: I Guess It's Okay This Time Because He's Like Thirty Years Old OST by KRS-DMC RUN-ONE

Add your thoughts?

Jinx - Columbia 2001
Rating = 5

Another passable release. The music is more varied, ranging from stupid generic crap-rap-metal ("Stick `Em Up," "Weirdo") to Beastie Boys-style rap-mic-passing with neato horn, guitar, xylophone samples gwine down ("Mr. Jinx," "Baseline") to (astonishing eyebrow lift) ACTUAL MUSIC!!!! ("Dive In" actually features singing!!! Just like that one song on the last Beastie Boys album!!!! The one that featured singing!!!!) !!!!!

The sampler dude is great and two of the three MCs sound excitable and original enough to slap a high five to, but they rely too much on generic funk rap-metal to make me personally a Hungarian electricial fun man. Plus one of the MCs now sounds so much like Zach DeLaRocha that he'd might as well move to Rage Against The Machineville, TX and open himself up a nice little diner. Note to Iceland: If you have the talent and brains to make cool, creative music, don't take the low road and record Limp Bizkit/Linkin Park soundalike bullshit.

Unless you want to make any money at all, in which case stick with the crap metal that idiots like because they're all a bunch of stupid assholes.

Reader Comments

katnip69420@hotmail.com
they suck... that's all I have to say.

Humu12@aol.com
quarashi is awesome, its great that finally something that is rock and rap related can be called music! Ive listened to these guys since thier first cd came out, and since then ive loved them. Even though I come from iceland i live in america and im tired of all this poser crap band and sissy no talent sing along groups. Quarashi should be recommended to the entire public!

Quarashi ere bestur!

KLASSGLAS@aol.com
I actually had the pleasure of meeting these guys on tour,very cool people and I think they do their style of music very well,at times they do seem to be fighting for the sound and talking over eachother,but the blend and the funk they produce is really cool and something you can vibe too,not everyone will like this band,but they are worth checking out

darotracyniko@attbi.com (Masha B.)
That song, "Stick em' up" is really cool. I could tell from the first sight that they were not Americans. Their name and spirit... Guys are full of energy, they even look like "Blur" little bit. Iceland gave them new thoughts and new background for the music, that's why they are different from American bands. Like you listen to the British band "Muse" and you kind of feel all that depression caused by rain and fog, or you listen to "Quarashi" and you are ready to jump the whole time to keep yourself warm, maybe that's where all the energy comes from.

Surfboy13365@cs.com
quarashi rules! they are gonna be big! they are aweasome!

ernomusic@earthlink.net (Thomas F. Eno)
I've only heard "Stick 'Em Up", and i find them very derivitive of Rage and especially, the Beasties. But that's only from one tune. I love the video though. VERY COOL!!!

quirky93@hotmail.com (Jane Minifie)
That "Mark Prindle" has no sense of music at all-he's not funny at all, so don't try, Mark. Quarashi is such a great band, they are not rip-offs, and the video for "Stick 'Em Up" rocks!

DinoSergakis@aol.com
This band sucks balls. They rap, with rock. And every critic calls them rap-rock, and they bitch and say they're not.

bigtennis@hotmail.com (Ka-Cee Vaughan)
Quarashi rocks! (pronouced "kwa-ra-shi", btw) they have the most surreal combo of rap and rock and even some older sounding tunes with a new ring. Iceland has made it's point, and this band is going to come out big. It can easily be compared to "the apex theory" another band quite like quarashi, with the immediate exception of TATs' lyrics making no sense at all. Overall, this band is gonna make it

suebee@accesstoledo.com
quarashi is my favorite band i got their cd the Jinx the first day it came out in the states and i have their pictures all over my bedroom wall. I think their style is totally different and thats why some people dont like them ( moslty preppy whores) but its cool cuz me and my skater crew are totally stoked to see whats in store for our #1 favorite band ROCK HARD QUARASHI

sickness_23@hotmail.com
Quarashi eru bestir

smokeblender@hotmail.com (ghd)
Quarashi are good, fuck the rest....

amyliz312@prodigy.net (Amy)
I love Quarashi!!! They have a awsome style of music! They are really hott to. I like there kind of culture.(that sounds really gay, but...)! anyway, Rock on Quarashi.

VoLcOm_cHiC132@msn.com (Hannah Sparks)
Quarashi is the best band ever!! I'm listening to them right now! they have great voices and I love the fact that they are from Iceland! True they have some interesting songs and lyrics but they are still good. I love their music and they should be played more on MTV so they will be noticed.

eliza_sick@hotmail.com (Elˇza Oskarsd˘ttir)
hey there! I'm from Iceland and I just have to say to those of you who think that Quarashi are not good enough for you; just look at your own bands, there are so many bands in America who are made just to make money, here in Iceland we make music for other people, or just for ourselves. Quarashi are just another fantastic Icelandic band (okay, they are maybe a little bit better...) I guess we are kind of lucky for that our little island is so little that we don't have space for bad bands... ; ) Let the bad bands try and let them fail! And for the others, I am very glad to see that people are liking them, me myself love them, there are no words to describe how good they are... anyway that is just how I feel...

Str kar, _id erud t‘r snilld, takk fyrir mig... vona bara ad _id haldid svona  fram! Keep on the good work!

gunnar_magnus@hotmail.com (Gunnar Halld˘rsson)
On Icelandic _ad er ekki spurning..Quarashi er besta hlj˘msveitin ˇ ”llum heiminum

On English Quarashi is the best music in the world

hallur@vista.is (Hallur Birgisson)
Quarashi IS THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD and that asshole who is writing this article does ofiecly not know what he is talking aboat!!!

hampsterpocket@prodigy.net (Lindsay Schick)
Ok, about quarashi, I totally disagree. First, Hossi, if you really would listen to him, does not sound a thing like Zach de la Rocha . You're comparing them way too much to all these really stupid "rock" bands that are just getting big in the U.S. (with the exception of the beastie boys, cause they're cool). I mean really, you can't classify quarashi under just one genre. You also didn't mention anything about their lyrics, which (with maybe the exception a couple songs) are really good. About the "soundalike bizkit/linkin park bullshit", they don't sound the same, besides, I doubt that bizkit could come up with meaningful songs like "Malone Lives" or "Dive In". You're all lucky I didn't have too much halloween candy tonight or this message might have had some 'interesting' connotation. All you quarashi haters will pay for this, bwahahahah!!! *if you actually like quarashi*, SPREAD THE QUARASHI WORD!!! : )

FlowbisCuit11@aol.com
quarashi is helluva awesome. And if they sound like rage against the machine, or the beasties or limp bizkit, more power to them, i like all those bands (even limp, sadly). But, i can firmly say that they dont, so it doesnt matter...so there....BUY THEIR ALBUM

apfed@sbcglobal.net (Beth Mays)
My brother introduced me to Quarashi over 18 months ago.... they fucking ROCK! I am a purist and want them to succeed, but that would be at the price of being a bitch snob about "my band" that too many people haven't heard and I can go "you dumbass- Quarashi, if you don't know, look em up" (I love being the first in my circle to hear a really kicking band) Those that do come back to me with the "OMG, they fucking ROCK!" That they do, that they do.......

When are they back to the US? Particularly, Houston, TX???? I haven't seen them live before, and I want to BEFORE they get too big.

Laura_rivadocasas@hotmail.com
I quite agree with some of the things some of you say, but my main reason to be writing is that in my town, in Spain noone knows about them. I hardly can convince myself this band really exists because all the specialised dealers do not have a clue of Quarashi. I just heard them twice in the radio and I can not find I copy of their cd¨'s?.- If someone could help about this it would be great.

tonyt173@hotmail.com (Takk Fyrir)
I just finished reading your review for the Quarashi album "Jinx". And I can say that Quarashi is the best band around these days. How you can say that Quarashi is bad is lunacy. You even say that Hossi sounds wayy to much like Zack de la rocha from R.A.M. You must've been stoned when u wrote this review. Quarashi is releasing a new album in Sept, perhaps you would enjoy reviewing it with some common sense this time around.

mtmjolnir@hotmail.com (Magnus)
Mark Prindle,

Now that you've heard of Quarashi, and not all that fast but your also not from Iceland, you should have reviews of other great and definetly famous artists from Iceland. Bj”rk and Sigur R˘s. and if your any bit of a movie buff I'm sure you'll appreciate some great Icelandic films, N˘i Albin˘i, 101 Reykjavˇk, The Sea, and Devils Island, but you also won't have the Icelandic perspective one has being from Iceland and knowing the cultural inside jokes. nonetheless I hope you enjoy.....

shameless self-promotion: www.burningmonk.com

arnadg@simnet.is (Arna Dilj  Gudmundsd˘ttir)
I think Quarashi rocks.... Maybe cuse they r from iceland but anyway the rock :P

bsj86@msn.com (Baldur Snaer Jonsson)
For all of you Quarashi-fans out there, who are having difficulty with finding Quarashi's music to purchase:

All of their albums are mostly reliable to be found over here (depending on availability each time):

http://www.skifan.is/skifan/eng_default.asp?Lang=en

(Prices available in US-Dollars, British Pounds, Danish Kroner, Japanese Yens and Euros.

More info on how to order:

http://www.skifan.is/skifan/eng_about.asp?Skjal=00%2C01%2C01&Lang=en

Sign-in/account required.)

berjaklopp@nett.is
Ég skil nú suma bara ekki Quarashi Rockar feitt and if you cant understend that than just lissen to beastie boys but i am not gonna hehe:P say any thing more but Quarashi ROKKKAAAAAAA p.s ég er frá íslandi:P

SusanTMorgan@aol.com
hey yall rock like awesome sweet dudes

dkinnin@shaw.ca
Quarashi is way better den ur Effin music like Pokemon and green day

lyricallemons@yahoo.com
Quarashi is an awesome band! Their stuff is so much different from anything else that is out there. I will admit that Hossi (it sucks that he had to leave the band) sounds a bit like Zack de la Rocha, but he has a cool voice. Quarashi's lyrics a sweet and their beats are nice and catchy. I can't wait to get their new CD. Quarashi rules!

charlesinchar11@hotmail.com
Your taste in music must not be good at all...this band is great (to bad hossi had to leave though) but there new front man tiny is just as good and guerilla disco is even better than jinx...i just imported there album not to long ago and it cost me nearly 50 bucks to get my hand on this...you may say damn that to much for my broke ass but it was every dollar well spent...review this album if you got the taste for it...which i doubt you do... douche bag...

jun_soo@msn.com
youre just plain stupid arnt you? god i hate having to lower myself to your level but i feel that its my duty to educate ignorant fools like you about music.

1) a "barometer" first of all is a device that measures pressure you dumb shit.

2)its very very very impolite to regard musicians with zealous passion for their music as.."dicks" when was the last time you composed something?

3) just because they are of iceland doesnt mean that they should not be accepted into the hiphop genre...very much the contrary...globalization today extended music styles throughout the world..cant your anachronistic little brain realize that the world isnt restrained to regionalized "traditional" stlyles?

4)hiphop originated from the hearts and souls of people who attempted to express social inequties especially in "urban ghetto streets of America's heartland (Compton, South Central, Boise)"..is your frame of vision so miniscule that you can't realize that these same social inequties exist in iceland? and that in iceland there are people just like tupac who denounced racial prejudice and moral disintegration and through the medium of hiphop express their struggle? wow man. youre dumb and...are you sure youre "on the cutting edge of today's thriving musical scene?" youre musical perseptions seem a little too crude...you shud really stick your head out of youre ass and get informed.

Add your thoughts?


Guerilla Disco - Sony Japan 2005
Rating = 7

H At some point within the past half-decade, the guy who sounded too much like Zach de la Rocha (not that anybody remembers who the hell Zach de la Rocha is. Was he that kid on Mr. Merlin?) left the band to be replaced by a man named Tiny. This man named Tiny has a nice sort of 'higher' rap voice (not as high as Eminem, but not low either) that contrasts well with the other guys' deeper registers. And wiggle my sniggle if this isn't a damn fine hop hip record! Even my wife thinks so, and she LIKES hop hip!

See, what's neat about it, see, is the diversity of the music -- you're sitting there expecting a normal everyday Icelandic rap experience when you suddenly find yourself being jettied from funky guitar tunes to piano/synth intrigue to sad organs and alt-rock to a pretty Spanish guitar instrumental to macho horn samples to horror movie violins to dark funk rock with big orchestrated choruses to little kids singing a traditional Icelandic song (presumably) to grungey stoner metal to a (sung!) mainstream guitar ballad to a happy '70s groove to a lil' Japanese song. Then you go home and take a (trash bag to the) dump in your mother's (subdivision at the) mouth (of the Ohio River).

The thing is -- these songs sound like HITS, and I didn't simply misplace the S. I mean, not only do I enjoy them, but they're the kind of songs that OTHER people would enjoy too! Normal radio rap people! "One time for my posse/Two times for my Holmes/We been chillin' in the backseat/Where we bury the bone" <-- radio rap people love sexual innuendo. Therefore, this song is already a megahit on my imaginary radio station. Other notable lyrics include "Booyah!," "A knife bigger than Jason's," "I didn't even know there were so many rappers in Iceland" and "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto" (seriously!).

Good rappers, diverse background music that only maybe once devolves into embarrassing rap-metal, good pop, tough rock, catchiness, fun, energy, guitars, volume, humor, smarts, intelligence, dope and Icelanders = the new improved Quarashi. If you like rap geared towards the White Man and can find Gorilla Wharf Air at a decent price (good effuckin' luck), definitely buy it! The only reason I didn't give it higher than a 7 is that it's kinda short and some of the songs totally suck. But otherwise, mic my shit and Mike my Schmidt because songs like "Payback," "Stars," "Stun Gun," "Audio Amigos," "Pro," "Make A Move," "Stars (Remix)" and "Kintarou" both rule and reek stinkingly of deserved pop-rap radio success. Way to go, gang! You really put the "RA!" back in "QuaRAshi!" Unfortunately, you broke up in August 2005.

Way to put the "RASH" back in "QuaRASHi," you a-holes!

In fact, way to put the "U. AR. A. SHI(t)" back in "QU.AR.A.SHI"(t), you shits!

Hey, I'm not done! Way to put the "AAI!" back in "QuArAshI," you screaming cavemen!

And don't forget the "URSH!" in "QUaRaSHi"!!!!

Or was that "George GURSHwin"?

Darn it, now I can't remember who put the "URSH!" back in their own name.

Reader Comments

billy.barron@tx.rr.com
I can't believe I didn't comment on them previously. They are a band that definitely got much better over their time. The first album is best never heard. By the final album, they were quite good. My favorite track by them is the Icelandic langauge song "Tarfur". My album rating are almost identical to yours - I might bump Jinx to a 6 though.

Add your thoughts?


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