Andrea Dankić and Erica Åberg

‘Far away from home’ while ‘Live and direct from Nordvästra’ – Expressions of (Non)Belonging(s) in Nordic ‘Gangsta Rap’


Hip-hop culture and music are at times associated with a stereotypical identification often described as a racialized hyper-aggressive and hyper-masculine persona which is the center of attention in the subgenre ‘gangsta rap’ (Quinn 2005). Since the mid 2010s, a new DIY scene rooted in this subgenre has gained massive commercial success as well as being highly problematized in the public debate in the Nordic countries. In this paper, we approach Nordic ‘gangsta rap’ as a digital diaspora (Ponzanesi, 2020; 2021), where privileged terms of spatiality, belonging, and self-identification are created and can be seen as articulating new possibilities for affective, social and political connections and rupture. Also, digital diaspora is understood as constituted through practices reflective of intersecting power relations (Candidatu et al. 2019, p. 34). The material analyzed here is the Swedish ‘gangsta rap’ artist Yasin’s album Pistoler, Poesi & Sex (2023) along with interviews of him made by various podcasts. This paper focuses on expressions of (non)belonging(s) through the use of the Somali language and soundscapes in the music. These practices create connections between past and present (Somali) popular culture and can be perceived as a restorative and unifying tool among Somali diaspora youth, but also their parents. How do these practices intersect with narratives of ethnicity, race, class and generation? Moreover, the paper also brings forth different sensibilities about the changing perceptions of closeness, home and belonging in the Nordic welfare state.


Andrea Dankić (PhD) is a University Lecturer in Ethnology at Umeå University, Sweden. Dankić’s research interests include musical practice, creative processes, knowledge production and power structures, mainly focusing on hip-hop.

Erica Åberg (PhD) is a University Lecturer in Economic Sociology at the University of Turku, Finland. Her research interests include rap music, appearance inequality and digital youth cultures.