Time to introduce you folks to a highly recommendable producer from my neck of the woods: Basel, Switzerland.


SimonAyEm is part of the five-headed producer crew Prismatic Beats as well as the hip-hop collective TripleNine, a hold-all for producers, DJs, MCs and graff artists. TripleNine have become one of the more notable hip-hop hotbeds in the local and national scenes and have definitely shaped the arts in the last 14-or-so years, giving their output a recognizeable “Basel” branding. If I was to characterize what makes Basel, I’d say a bit rough and occasionally rude around the edges with tongue firmly placed in cheek–and a lot of heart for the art.

This year, SimonAyEm’s decided to do a bit of showing off, going through his immense back catalog of beats, to tie us beat heads a neat package of 13 dope instrumentals each week. All year round. For free! (Gasp!) Some have been used on published tracks, others haven’t. He’s currently at installment number 21, and there’s more than that where it came from.
So I strongly suggest you head on over to his blog to fill your boots and ears, and read up on the dude who should really get a lot more attention beyond our area.

The Greatest Gift by SimonAyEm



**Edit: With their second album coming out every moment and the crew going on tour again I reckon it’s time for a re-up of their first album. I’m looking forward to seeing the RSA live not once but twice within the next few weeks.**

Clockwise from the top: Pan, J.J. Flueck, Black Tiger, EJ von Lyrik, Shameema, Greis, Burni Aman

A rare gem of intercontinental collaboration between some of South Africa and Switzerland’s finest. This album is centered around the connection between Pan and Greis, two MCs from Berne, Switzerland, on the one side and the female trio Godessa from Cape Town on the other. After Godessa performed a few gigs in Switzerland in 2004, they met and decided to stay in touch by visiting each other. In several recording sessions over the course of one and a half years, and with the financial help of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, they put together songs. In addition, each side brought on a good bunch of friends to make appearances on the album whose entire proceeds go to the “Party with a purpose productions” self-help project in the Cape Flats.

You’ll hear people rapping in English, French, Swiss German and Afrikaans (the latter two may be hard to tell apart for the uninitiated, but never mind), subject matters ranging from very particular issues like South African apartheid (peep “Pencil Test” – killer track!) and standing up for one’s rights to the universal themes that connect hip-hop heads around the world.

If you live in Switzerland or South Africa you should be able to grab this album and contribute a few Francs or Rands to charity, or you go see them live in your area. Please do.


1. Rise Up Now / Jitsvinger – Greis – EJ von Lyrik
2. Heavy Mental / Godessa & Whodis
3. Can’t Stay / Rennie & Shameema
4. 2gether / Mr. Dmus & Pan
5. S.O.F.I.A. / Greis & Burni Aman
6. Pacifiers (Double Rebellion-Mac With Cheese) / Burni Aman & Greis
7. One Day / Burni Aman – Greis – Shameema – Alexus President
8. Won’t Stop / Pan – Cross – Burni Aman
9. Pencil Test / Godessa & Greis
10. Kabels / Jitsvinger & Pan
11. Truth Is / Sky 189 – Seven – Greis – Pan
12. Planet I / Burni Aman – EJ von Lyrik – Chicu – Pan
13. Indie Takeover / Black Tiger – Jitsvinger – Robbe – Aman – Baze – Dimitri – Mr. Dmus – Perspektif – Gaston – Pan
14. The Reason Why / Jean Pierre – Perspektif – Pan
15. Do The Things / Godessa – Black Tiger – Rennie
16. Wake Up Call / Dubmasta China – Pan – Perspektif
17. Breakin’ The Barriers / Pan – Burni Aman – Cross
18. Broese Brasse / Mr. Dmus & Jitsvinger
19. Life / Teba feat. Tumi & EJ von Lyrik

Rogue State Alliance – Rogue State of Mind (2006)


Greis’ Myspace

Rogue State Alliance Myspace

Sens Unik could well be called the first Swiss rap group that really made it big. Back in 1991, when Swiss hip-hop was still in its budding phase and nobody really had any albums or even 12″es out, Sens Unik exploded onto the small scene with their first album. They instantly put their city of Lausanne on the map and sent a quake across the country and into neighbouring France whose far advanced rap scene with IAM, NTM and MC Solaar had inspired them.

These are their first 4 albums and as you listen to them in sequence of appearance, you’ll be able to hear how their sound, almost exclusively produced by legendary Just One, evolves from more modest but already pretty very catchy tunes on their first, into a rich soundscape that can’t really be told apart from any top-notch international level production.
After their first album, MC Carlos, the son of Spanish immigrants to Switzerland, shares the mic with Rade who’d only done beatboxing before that, and they take on French singer Sista D who later changes her name to Déborah.
On Chromatic, their third album, they are joined by Osez, an Uruguayan-Swiss MC who joins Carlos in adding that Spanish feel on some of the tracks, who stays on board for two albums before he pursues his own solo career (still have to hear from him). And drummer Bio completes the group with his work behind the buckets. Especially their live shows with Rade’s seemingly never-ending beatboxing interludes will remain in every fan’s memory.

After these 4 albums, there have been two more, didn’t quite do it for me, I’m afraid.

Recently, the group has disbanded after over 15 years on top of the Swiss hip-hop scene, having enjoyed their success all over Europe as well as in Canada. MC Carlos has made some promising moves into acting (he scored a minor role in the Bond flick Casino Royale, a lead in Swiss movies Snow White and Sennentuntschi, among other roles in Spanish soap novelas and appearances in TV commercials) while the rest of the group seem to keep making music for Déborah’s solo albums and who knows what more.

01. Le VIeme Sens
02. L’Africain
03. Ceci N’Est Pas Fait Pour Moi
04. Beat Box Rade (Chronique)
05. To The Moon Please
06. Le Film De Ta Propre Vie
07. No Es Los Que Quiero (Mix 91)
08. Ceci N’Est Pas Fait Pour Moi (Remix)
09. Beat Box Rade (Chronique)

Sens Unik – Le VIème Sens (1991)

01. Les portes du temps
02. L’arche de Noe
03. Rira bien qui rira le dernier ft. Houairi K. (Alliance Ethnik)
04. Hijo de Latino ft. Osez
05. No 1 Top 50
06. Metro boulot dodo
07. Fiches
08. Tue ton poste
09. Eternel
10. Beat Box Rade
11. Dring dring quoi
12. Marche à suivre ft. IAM
13. La horde des faux
14. Live
15. Les rives du leman

Sens Unik – Les Portes du Temps (1992)

01. Chromatic
02. Rouge
03. L’ile Au Tresor
04. What I’ve Got
05. J’ai Peur Des Requins
06. Les Pendules A L’heure ft. Strike
07. Vert
08. Le 156 Rade
09. Le Repas ft. MC Solaar
10. Es Mi Tierra
11. HBBR
12. Laisse Toi Aller
13. Je Veux Des Vacances ft. Fabe
14. Bleu
15. Aujourd’hui
16. Demi-Lune
17. El Sueño
18. La Feuille Blanche

Sens Unik – Chromatic (1993)

01. Intron
02. Tu Aurais Pu Te Reposer
03. Mr. Commissaire
04. C’Est Toi Le Titre
05. Qui T’A Menti
06. Barbarian ft. Osez
07. Aucune Limite
08. Chronic
09. Don’t Break Me Down ft. Rockin Squat (Assassin), Pretty Boy Floyd, Snake Eyes
10. Rien N’A Change
11. Le Devant De La Scene
12. Courir
13. Paquito
14. State
15. Coolisse
16. Jeux De Societe
17. La Mission

Sens Unik – Tribulations (1996)

Sens Unik website

Paix, 9@home

Let me show you what new release I’m looking forward to right now. The Underclassmen are a crew from Basel, Switzerland and after years of dropping 12″ and contributing tracks to compilations and mixtapes and after an EP by one of the two MCs, Kaotic Concrete, they have finally finished their first full-length album, Underclassic.

Underclassmen, Switzerland

What probably makes them stand out among the Swiss rap cats is that they rhyme strictly in English as both the MCs have family in Boston. And since they’ve always aimed for more than the local scene, this album also features guest spots by none other than Celph Titled, R.A. The Rugged Man, Wordsworth and Pumpkinhead. Like whoa!
As far as production goes, the two DJs Tray and Dimes plus producer Phil Pro on the boards provide the musical soundscape with that international flavor.

So, while we’re waiting for this gem to drop, let’s watch the video.

Underclassmen on MySpace
Underclassmen website