What You’ve Been Missing Out On: Dutch Rap

Author: Monique McCormack

With so many incredible artists within the English-speaking world, it’s easy to forget about the diverse array of international music available. One of these unsung (or un-rapped?) genres is that of Dutch rap. After befriending some kids from the Netherlands and Belgium, an entirely new genre entered my universe and expanded my horizons in ways I never thought possible. I initially faced it with skepticism: after all, I don’t speak a lick of Dutch. However, a common characteristic is random English phrases rapped along with the incomprehensible Dutch that makes hype music I never knew I needed. The best part of these songs is the background- I’d describe it as EDM, or just beats that you wouldn’t associate with conventional rap that fuse together to represent the best of multiple genres. Give a few of these songs a chance and I promise that the way you listen to rap will be forever changed. 

Wine Slow (remix): Idaly feat. Bizzey, Famke Louise, and Ronnie Flex This is a chill, flirty song with vacation vibes. It tells the story of a guy dancing with a girl at a club, enjoying the moment and hoping to take her home. Her response in the third voice is a lot of repeated “yeah”s.

Bel Me Op: Lil’ Kleine feat. Ronnie Flex – Although this song starts out with a weird, slowish chorus, hold out for the switch 19 seconds in, and then the drop at 35 seconds. This song’s title is “Give Me a Call” in English.

Meli Meli: Ali B. and Numidia feat. Ronnie Flex– Meli Meli and Aji Aji are not actually Dutch words, and they mean something along the lines of “I’m going crazy” and “Come here”. Many Dutch songs have international influences: this one primarily in Arabic. In fact, artist Ali B. is of Morrocan descent.

Over: Luigi– This song emphasizes how the sometimes harsh-sounding Dutch language can be unrecognizable when sung. Once again, the background music is unique with its electronic, bass-heavy qualities.

Betaal Mij: Josylvio, Boef– This song brings the energy back, starting with a minimalistic beat that quickly morphs into an absolute jam. It has the trademark random English words thrown in: in this case “betaal mij money” which means “pay me money”. It is recommended to blast this song at your job.

Bericht: Lil Kleine, Frenna– The main lyric of this song is “Did you receive my messages?”. What makes this song stand out is its unusual, marimba-like percussion. Lil Kleine is probably the most well-known of Dutch rappers, and his first album, WOP!,  was the record-holder for the most-streamed new album on Spotify.

Culo: Bizzey, Frenna, KM, Ramiks– Many Dutch songs, including this one, are inspired by smooth sounds of the Spanish language. Unfortunately, the lyrics don’t always make sense when translated literally. Nonetheless, it sounds pretty cool. 

Drank & Drugs: Lil Kleine, Ronnie Flex This is the song that launched the pair into success. Even without knowledge of the Dutch language, one can deduce from the title what the song is about. The lyrics are shallow, but sound so effortless that it doesn’t even matter. If you walk into a club and this was on, you know it’s going to be a wild night. 

Patsergedrag: Steven Alias, Lil Kliene, Boef– This song, “Patience” in English, is pure flex. They have all of the money, girls, and party paraphernalia. The intensity of this song compliments both feelings of teen angst.

Lil Craney: Kraantje Pappie– It wouldn’t be a Dutch playlist without this classic jam. It has a happy, on-top-of-the-world tone. It’s the story of a rapper who comes back into town and brags about what a baller he is. 

Alleen: Lil Kleine Lil Kleine asks: “Will you stick by me? Because sometimes I feel alone.” Despite his newfound fame, it’s still a lonely life being a celebrity. Let’s face it- we can all relate. 

Beetje Moe: Kevin, Lil Kleine, Chivv Disregard the lyrics completely on this one. They’re sexist and disgusting- but what can I say? The beat slaps. 

Okay: SG Noicey, Mmills– This song has plenty of English, so you’ll the message without your trusty English-to-Dutch pocket dictionary on hand. It essentially just praises the singer’s girlfriend.

Loterij: Lil Kleine, Ronnie Flex– The dynamic duo is back with another catchy tune. This was actually the first song I listened to by them- and now I’m hooked. It has some random Spanish dialogue interjecting throughout the song that paradoxically compliments the absolute bars being dropped by our favorite Dutch emcees.

Hey Meisje: Esko, Hansie, Josylvio– The playlist had to end on this well-known Dutch melody, or this playlist couldn’t be published. Hey Meisje means “Hey girl”. This song is quite originally about falling in love at the club. 

You can find all of these tracks in this playlist, linked below: