Arts, Culture & Media

Italian-style hip-hop artist Jovanotti making in-roads in the U.S.

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Italian rapper Jovanotti plans to tour the United States this fall. (Photo: last.fm)

In Italy, Jovanotti has been pumping out records and hits since the late 1980s.

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But he was an early convert to the sound pioneered by the American Sugarhill Gang.

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 United States until now.

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

Jovanotti, whose real name is Lorenzo Cherubini, has never been a pure rapper — at least 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 can 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 U.S. more often, especially to New York, a city he says fascinates and inspires him.

For his 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 U.S. in October.

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