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Thursday August 23, 2012

Interview: Prosperous (SWE)

Let's introduce a true and long-term underground hero, the sort of weird kid whose experiments with music and rap styles frighten regular folk, emcee and beat-maker Mattias Ekberg aka Prosperous (Outofthebluecrew, Assimilated, Plant Of Trails) from our neighbor country Sweden.


Who is Mattias? What's his story?

Prosperous 1981
1981
I'm a 34-year-old lyricist, writer and beatmaker who lives in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

My parents got me into sports at a young age. My dad was a major in the army so I had a strict childhood until I started hanging out with skateboarders and broke free at the age of 11 and started skating, 'cause there were no rules, no teachers. There were different kinds of music in this enviroment, hiphop was one big element. This was back in 1989 and I found myself rhyming secretly, which soon developed into something more. I'm interested in most things, especially people and their stories, and life in general from distant point of views. I'm also a sucker for hot food, chop of my arms and legs but not my tongue, dammit, I got a big taste for life.

Who is Prosperous?

"I used to be angry a lot about how fucked up the world is at the moment, then I psyched out and realised that being a victim isn't the way to go"

Prosperous is a name I've been using since 1995. I figured if it's about calling things to existance, Prosperous would be the perfect name for me as a rapper. I'm prosperous when it comes to expanding my mind, my skills as a rapper and my struggle to enlighten people, it's not about the common definition of the word. 

I used to get picked at in school and couldn't form my big thoughts into sentences so that people could understand, which I guess is a clear reason why I started writing it down instead and put it on beats. I think wildstyle and jazz, I rap about everything, my music won't define your lifestyle, I'm sorry. I think that´s why some basic hiphoppers don't get my music, they get confused. 

I get inspired by the world and it's population in motion. Before I used to be angry a lot about how fucked up the world is at the moment, then I psyched out and realised that being a victim isn't the way to go. That's why I stopped writing about the end of the world from a bitter point of view, 'cause in general that puts me in the place of an artist being part of a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that´s not so prosperous. I've been writing my own lyrics since 1993, started during a mathclass and was very inspired by The Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, Hieroglyphics, Native Tounge etc..

And who's Comb?

Comb is my beat-making alterego that came naturally when I couldn't sit around and wait for other people to make beats as I want them. 

How did you get into music? What got you rapping?

I got into music 'cause I'm a creative person: I used to paint a lot but it morphed into this rapping thing when I realised the broadness of vocal communication and how fun it was to come up with new ways of rapping. 

At my school in late 80's a lot of people, including me, who were into NWA, Run DMC and Public Enemy. And I can only speak for my school, but you'd get beat up by some elder kids if you didn't listen to hiphop, haha! Maybe that threat back in 1987 got stuck in my brain and made way for this wild career.

"I guess that westcoast hip hop just fit our lifestyle. ...you were either a straight up square asshole or a freak belonging to a subculture"

I know you are a fan of LA/Bay hiphop, the underground stuff, like us. How did you find out about that music?

I got into the California scene when I realised it wasn't all about gangster rap, and I wanna thank groups like The Pharcyde and the Fellowship for that. Them and others changed my life into something better as a teen, I could relate to their music, 'cause it was different, just like I was. 

2004 with DJ Confuze
The early 90's was a wonderful time to grow up. I'm originally from a small town in Southern Sweden called Karlskrona where there's a lot of beachlife. And when I went to the school discos as a 14-year-old kid, my friends were DJ's, and they played "Hot Potato" by the Fellowship and all those classics at the dancefloor. It wasn't something we thought about that much, I guess that westcoast hip hop just fit our lifestyle. I hung out with all kinds of people in that city, 'cause there you were either a straight up square asshole or a freak belonging to a subculture. And all of us outsiders partied together, everyone was in a band, a hip hop crew, a dj, skaters, what have you... This really effected the person I am being Prosperous.  

You used to roll with Outofthebluecrew? Is that still an active crew? Tell us about it, it is quite well-recognized in Finland.

The Outofthebluecrew is partly active, but not as a crew in whole. It was a crew we formed around 2003 but all of us had side-projects meanwhile. Except for me, I think Peshi is the most active one, but she's part of the popular scene now and that's just not my thing. You'll probably hear more of us later though, we're all friends who still support eachother. 

Who else have you worked / are you working with? 

I've been working with so many artists that I don't even know where to start, but to make it simple let's just name those who may ring some bells, like Omid, Subtitle, Radioinactive, Paranorml, Existereo, Infinite Possibilities, Albane, Nadasdi, Peshi, Rodan Kairos, Smea, DJ Porter, DJ Confuse, Frak, Olonaise, Adamic, THMS, Smokey 131, Jehova, and all these other people. I got some collaborations coming out soon with different artists who I feel do something similar to what I do. I'm not that much into making music with the LA underground specifically, it was something I did, but I'm really a solo artist. I've even recorded some stuff with some graffer neighbours that is really dope, if they could just drop the dope and record on it, haha! 

"either you are in the BIG circus, or you don't exist, 'cause you don't stand no chance as an experimental hiphopper"

Now, what we Finns always want to know is if things are better or worse in Sweden... So how's hip hop there on the other end of Viking Line? What's the underground scene like? Has there been a change in the recent years?

I can't speak on differences between Finland and Sweden since I've never been to Finland. I can only say that there's so many things happening over here at different levels that I'm not able to generalise, but I do feel as if the scene over here was much much doper between like 1982-2006. 

Assimilated Species, 1999
I've seen so many artists come and go now, and I'm still here. The downfall for me was probably around 2007 when my crew kind of split up, Nadasdi quit rapping, others said fuck hip hop and wanted to do more experimental music, so I was left alone forced to be my own crew. Luckily Subtitle hooked me up on the Briefcaserockers crew a while later 'cause of my recordings with Pelpa Karnaval (FRA) when we started our group Ortho Acusto. So the split up made me reach out more and reconsider my journey. 

There's plenty of crews in the suburbs all over who claim their own style and do their own thing, inside that little circle. I live at Biskopsgården in Gothenburg which is assumed to be a dangerous place 'cause you only get to read about who got shot, raped or killed here, but beneath all that there's really a lot of creative and talented people here just like me. But it's like this new club hip hop thing has become like a boxed-in entity, or a castle if you will, that rules everything and won't let us take room. So we say fuck them and fuck that scene even though it leaves us outside as invisible artists. That's were we are in Sweden at the moment, either you are in the BIG circus, or you don't exist, 'cause you don't stand no chance as an experimental hiphopper, that's just it. 

I get some gigs and people know me and respect me for having the guts to do my own thing, some are even impressed, but most people recognise me for being Mattias. I've read about Prosperous in some Swedish hiphop communities where they say I quit making music when I became a dad in 2006, which is not true at all. Little do they know that I reach outside boarders on this constant journey that's about bigger things than becoming famous in Sweden. It's really quite funny and it's ok. 

Short piece for self-advertisement and shoutouts, here: 

I wanna say hello to all my friends and family in Sweden and everyone who helped me out. Keep creating with passion for the art of this music, the rest is just illusion in the end. I'm gonna host this local TV-show later this year with a close friend. It's called NATTSKOLAN (öppna kanalen) and we'll present oldschool cult/horror and b-movies every friday-night after 00.00. Stay posted and we'll see you on web tv also!



Get Prosperous - Brainchild cassette from our store (once we re-open), only a few copies remaining. Released by a Finnish cassette-label "Hiss Tapes"!
Prosperous1.bandcamp.com

posted by: Moonlit



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