hungary1Hip Hop Scene: The Hungarian hip hop scene began with a focus on the element of breakin’. In 1984, the movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2 debuted in the states and made their way into some Hungarian theaters. These two films formally introduced Hungarians to the art of break dancing and from that initial spark came a collection of crews, with the first notable ones being Enemy Squad and Harlem Company.

Breakin’ also began to have an impact on the musical landscape. Fenyo Miki, a famous Hungarian rock and roll singer, was inspired by the breakers he met in Germany. He invited them to come to Hungary to showcase this exciting new dance form and in 1984 released his own break record. The next credited pioneer of Hungarian hip hop was Pajor Tamas, the front man of a “new wave” band called Neurotic. The band didn’t play rap or break music but in 1986 Pajor remade Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” in Hungarian.

In 1988, The Drop, one of the first true rap groups in Hungary, began rapping about more conscious topics while another crew, Mega Sound System, made way with harder lyrics and are considered Hungary’s first “gangsta” rap group. However, it wasn’t until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 that the other three elements of hip hop began to flourish. Beginning in 1990 more and more graffiti appeared on the walls and trains, especially in the capital of Budapest. American rappers such as Ice-T (1991), Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash (1992), Public Enemy, Five-O (1994), and later the Beastie Boys, House Of Pain and others started to come to Hungary for concerts. The early 90’s even opened the door for Hungary’s first popular “pop”-rap group, the Rapulok. Although they were not considered real’ hip hop by most heads in the know they were the first rap group known country-wide.

1995 was the year of the first Hip Hop Festival and with that came the arrival of another “gangsta rap” group Gangsta Zolee and the Kartel and their more family friendly counterparts Animal Cannibals. Rappers continued to pop up throughout the late 90s. The latter years saw the emergence of Dopeman, Sub Bass Monster, Tyson, Ogli G, MC Ducky, later Majka, Belga, and others. Many of these crews are still active today and are apart of a bustling Hungarian hip hop industry which has an impressive underground scene as well.

Sources: Big shout to my man Tom D from Rapnet.hu for helping me with this section.

Hungary has a long storied past which dates back to the Roman Empire. However, its modern history is more closely tied to the two World Wars and Communism. At the turn of the 20th century, Hungary was apart of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I. In an effort to regain land lost due to a post WWI treaty, Hungary again sided with Germany (now under Hitler’s rule) and Italy in World War II. After a failed attempt to pull out of the war, Hungary was occupied by German forces in 1944 allowing the extreme right wing Arrow-Cross Party to come to power. Following the fall of Nazi Germany after WWII, Hungary became part of the Soviet area of influence and was appropriated into a communist state following a short period of democracy in 1946 & 1947.

Following an anti Soviet revolution led by Imre Nagy in 1956 and a consolidation of the regime, communist dictator János Kádár began liberalizing the economy through what he called “Goulash Communism.” His reforms worked, and by the mid-1970s, Hungary was the most developed, most liberal and the richest nation in the region. The nation became the Republic of Hungary in 1989, and went on to hold free elections – the first in more than four decades. In April 1999, Hungary joined NATO and went about the final preparations for its entry into the European Union which took place in 2004.

Today, Hungary continues to demonstrate strong economic growth. Together with Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Hungary provides one of the highest standards of living among Eastern European countries.

Sources: Wikipedia.com, CIA.gov, Hungary.com, Gotohungary.com, Frommers, Fodors, and Lonely Planet.

Date: December 18, 2012