Tuesdays - Klan Istok (Balkan Express 065)
This may come as a shock to some of you, but Macedonian hip hop is a thing. To be more precise, and in line with recent diplomatic achievements of the region, North Macedonian hip hop is a thing. And it is only fair and just that it be given a place on Balkan Express. Which is why among many North Macedonian hip hop collectives and artists we’re focusing on one of the greats, the Klan Istok, or Clan East.
Klan Istok formed in the year 2000, just around the time when Macedonia was hitting a particularly rough patch. The initial lineup consisted of Slavčo Koviloski a.k.a. Profo, Stojan Kaevski a.k.a. Man X, Aleksandar Koviloski a.k.a. Brother Alek, Dejan “Deco” Metodijeski and – Mariachi. Whoever that was.
Klan Istok released their first album in 2005. Titled Prviot Udar or First Strike, it featured eighteen tracks which was more than decent for an era when bands were notorious for leaving CDs half empty. Prviot Udar was in many ways indeed a first strike on the Macedonian hip hop scene. At least, the media at the time described it as such. The group’s fans seemed to like it as well, and in general the album received rave reviews.
After releasing their initial album, Klan Istok went on an extended hiatus, releasing a followup album only in 2013. Titled Open Season, it was a collaborative fruit by mostly the same crew, with the aid of a regionally influential producer Mac AD. They also managed to appear as an opening act to RZA of Wu Tang Clan fame, in a 2011 edition of a Balkan Hip Hop festival.
Klan Istok are a hardcore rap act. The main theme of their songs si social activism, although other themes are not ignored. The group often called for a change in the Macedonian political system, describing it as fragile, fragile, false and corrupt. Which, you know, might not be all that incorrect.
Obivously, Klan Istok are not the sole representatives of Macedonian hip hop. The scene is as lively as it is varied. But they are one of the greats. Which is why they deserve a mention in the show. That said, like it is so often the case in hip hop, a big part of what they do is cross support and cooperation with other crews. Klan Istok also spend a lot of their time educating people about hip hop. You are just as likely to find them on stage than in a classroom. One of these days they might even release another album.
Check out Klan Istok on Youtube, Spotify or wherever you get you music from and Balkan Express will be back next week.
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget the gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio.
TuesdaysWith : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.