New East Digital Archive

Albania-Kosovo hip hop rivalries take violent turn

15 September 2016

Albanian rapper Rigels Rajku — also known as Noizy — was hit by a bullet in Pristina on Tuesday, signalling a particularly violent turn in the long-standing feud between Albanian and Kosovar hip hop groups and fans.

Police took several suspects into custody, among them rival Kosovar rapper Ylber Abdullahu — known by stage name Cozman — who is signed to a competing record company.

The incident was the latest in a string of clashes between the different hip hop production companies that target the same fan base in Albania and Kosovo. In 2010, teenage fan Denis Dollapaj ended up in a coma as a result injuries sustained during clashes, while 2012 saw rival groups of hip-hop fans from from Albania and Kosovo brawl in Zurich airport.

Some have even gone as far as to liken the scenario to the notorious East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry in the USA during the 1990s.

According to Eraldo Rexho, editor-in-chief of Tirana’s celebrity magazine Who, the influence of US hip-hop has birthed a “bad guy” culture and bitter rivalries.

“It all started out as a fight for attention and territory, which during the years has worsened and now includes physical violence,” he said in an interview with Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. “Most rappers in Albania and Kosovo admire those in America and as a result have not only copied their model of making music but also the ‘bad guy’ lifestyle, which ... does not shrink [away] from physical clashes.”

Source: Balkan Insight