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Style, innovation & equality

Cezinando — The poet of pop

This 24-year-old rapper is as of today one of the biggest and most influential acts in the Norwegian music scene.

Words: Stefanie Ravelli Photography: Lars Brønseth

”Hip hop is the new pop in Norway”, said Kristoffer Cezinando Karlsen, also known as Cezinando during an interview with YLTV. That was three years ago and the now 24-year-old rapper is as of today one of the biggest and most influential acts in the Norwegian music scene. Since starting out in 2016 he has won both the Norwegian P3 Prize award for unsigned artists and multiple Spellemanprisen, A Norwegian Grammy Award. When his fourth album was reviewed in Aftenposten, who came to the conclusion that Cezinando’s musical roots are within the rap, but that this album has the main focus of pop, via hip hop and electro pop. The album was awarded two Spellemans, the album of the year and the Urban of the Year. His music and lyrics leaves a trace in our time, where the rigid male ideals in urban music are both questioned and repulsed.

— I believe I got my fundamental understanding of classical music through dancing. In ballet class, we would have a professional pianist player playing with us every day. When I look back at it, it feels important. Nowadays, I don’t listen to music that much. It’s very periodic for me. Nevertheless, I’m always listening to Chief Keef, at least a little bit, and I’ve had a hangup on Vybz Kartel’s new song ”Drone Dem” for the last two weeks.

This summer you released the song ”Harley” you made together with Bboy Myhre. Tell us about the process of making music together, and how you came up with this song.

— Benjamin and our common friend, Slim Tim from 612 (Oslo-based rap group) made the first draft for the song and I jumped in after Ole Torjus (producer) and Benjamin remade it. It was pretty much done when I recorded the final verse. Benjamin and I have been touring together and we’ve known each other since middle school but we are on two different paths musically, sort of. We’ll definitely work more in the future, though. He has a really interesting project coming later this year, I think. He has an amazing pen.

You started your career in music as a young teenager, at only 15 years old you released your first album. When and how did you found your love for rap and hip hop?

— My father and his workplace(s) was what introduced me to rap music. My dad used to work with the nightlife in Oslo and especially this one place he was involved with that played/had a lot of contemporary hip hop and dancehall music. As a child, I used to come to work with him a lot and he would kind of notice what I latched on to. When I got a bit older, he gave me his iPod loaded with stuff that influenced my taste heavily. Three 6 Mafia, Project Pat, Alley Boy, UGK, Master P, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane. A lot of great music.

What are your future dreams and plans?

— Do a world tour and buy a house with a big garden and a small library, ten dogs and five cats.

Photography Lars Brønseth Styling Robin Douglas Westling Hair Jeanette Gerde Olsen Make up Sara Schultz