Badder Than Bloomberg: The Mayor of Tirana, Albania Drops Science.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

locationmapalbaniaMayor Mike Bloomberg may be the richest man in New York City, with an estimated worth, pre-the financial downturn, of $20 billion. All his loot, though, wouldn’t help him in a battle against his Tiranese counterpart, Edi Rama, above, chairman of Albania’s Socialist Party, and mayor of Tirana, capital of the country, right, and site where 895,000 of the nation’s 3.6 million rest.

In this YouTube clip, above, the former artist joins Albanian crew West Side Family’s cipher, for their track, “Tirona.” (Rama shows up at the 1:46 mark.) I don’t speak a word of Albanian, and like most Americans, couldn’t find the country on a map. But whether you speak the language or not, it’s clear these kids actually have a gift, and more than a little bit of flow.

Hmm: With its sophisticated intellectuals, literate populace, and Mediterranean climate, this little Adriatic jewel may be the exactly the perfect host for our next international hip-hop conference / award show / road trip.

I’m kidding.

No, I’m not.


1 comment so far ↓

#1 Angus Batey on 07.07.09 at 10:23 am


I’ve been to Tirana, some years ago now when the country was still rebuilding itself after years of being a shut-off Stalinist state – imagine North Korea but nextdoor to Italy. Culturally as well as socially and politically the country was locked down – the one thing everyone in the UK knows about Albania is that during the regime of Enver Hoxha the only western cultural imports that were allowed in were the films of Norman Wisdom, so he is kind of an icon to Albanians. As communism was collapsing about a quarter of the population lost everything they owned in a giant pyramid scheme, kind of like Madoff but affecting pretty much everyone. Add the war nextdoor (Kosovo is ethnically Albanian, in the main), grinding poverty, an influx of western aid agencies and NGOs and the consequent adoption of free enterprise etc etc etc, and I’d say you have possibly the most perfect place in the world right now to host a conference about hip hop.

My friend Andrew Mueller has visited there more recently and interviewed Edi Rama. A piece appears in his book, I Wouldn’t Start from Here, which is enthusiastically and whole-heartedly recommended (and would be even if I didn’t know him. In fact, perhaps more so).



Leave a Comment