Arts, Culture & Media

Jovanotti Brings Italian-Style Hip-Hop to US

In Italy, Jovanotti has been pumping out the records and the hits since the late 1980s. He was an early convert to the sound pioneered by the Sugarhill Gang.

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In fact, Jovanotti says one of his earliest inspirations was their 1979 hit "Rapper's Delight". You can hear the influence in the track "Scappa con Me."

Italians love the stuff.

But despite his wild success in Europe, Jovanotti has never had an album released in the US until now.

His new CD "Italia 1988 to 2012"³ is a collection of songs spanning his career.

Jovanotti, whose real name is Lorenzo Cherubini, has never been purely a rapper in the American sense of the term. He is more like a hip urban poet with a beat, more like Lou Reed than Lil' Wayne. And his beat an be pretty relentless.

"Sulla Frontiera", which is one of the newer songs on the CD, is about how modern technology intrudes on our privacy, but at the same time gives us freedom.

But never mind the lyrics. It is the kind of Jovanotti song you can groove to even if you don't understand Italian.

In recent years, Jovanotti has been coming to the US more and more, especially to New York, a city he says fascinates and inspires him.

For the new CD, the Italian rapper recorded a brand new song in English, a mellower track professing his affection for the Big Apple titled "New York for Life."

He is not kidding about waking up in New York. Jovanotti says he is moving there this fall and will be touring the US again in October.

So if you don't know Jovanotti yet, get ready to hear a lot about him.