Arrogant but still awesome, bigging up the Aarhus massive

Marc Johnson **** (4 stars out of 6); May 11 at Lille Vega

Loved and despised by many, Marc Johnson is one of Denmark’s best known rappers – and he knows it. Most Danes can sing along to his flippant raps about his own swag and looks, which seems to be his favourite topic. Saturday was no exception when he entered Vega with a smug smile and ‘the cap askew’, just like one of his best-known lyrics reminds us he likes it.

He started off by bidding everyone welcome to his hood Aarhus with ‘Total lokal’ (‘totally local’) from his first solo album Det passer (it’s true). The title song was the next to have the crowd jumping, screaming and bouncing back and forth with a hand in the air.

Johnson has an astonishing ability to make fans love him, even though he’s always talking about himself. He’s a Danish-Ghanaian gangster from 8210 Aarhus West, which he is sure to mention in almost every song he’s ever made. But he might as well, because there is no chance that he will ever be able to hide his thick Jutland dialect. With lyrics like “I keep the whole neighbourhood awake when I have a girl repeat my name”, and “I turn her on just by saying she seems familiar – damn that’s talent”, it is pretty obvious that he thinks he is God’s gift to women. That might be a slight exaggeration, but I believe he is a gift to the Danish hip-hop culture.

Everyone knows that he is a ‘bawler’, but he made sure he reminded the crowd of the status, performing tracks from his album Alt mit shit (all my shit), which included the popular ‘Bawler hele dagen’ (‘bawling’ all day) and ‘Båb Marley’, which was introduced with a little – almost political – speech about legalising cannabis. Very deep.

He also served some smoking hot nostalgia in the form of the old but inevitable hits ‘Nasty’, ‘Kig forbi’ (‘stop by’) and ‘Ik’ hate’ (‘don’t hate’), but spiced them up with new tones.

The sound was a bit poor, and it was hard to hear what Johnson said, which really is a shame as he was talking a lot to his fans and regularly lifted his drink, sending a wave of raised glasses through the happy crowd. But he did get some responses, mostly just screaming and cheering, but also a few necklaces and sunglasses, which Johnson immediately put on to top off his gangster style.

After a concert offering a lot of Johnson, a fair amount of sweat and a rap with his warm-up band Sukker Lyn, Johnson finished off the night with ‘Teriyaki’.
This guy has absolutely no sense of self-awareness and certainly has no respect for the Danish jantelov, but isn’t that what Danes are always criticised for anyway? I would like to take my cap off to this cheeky rapper. The look of his smirk and his self-satisfied lyrics sure get me smiling every single time.