“I think a lot of people were thinking ‘what the hell is Zwangere Guy going to do in Japan’”, explains Gorik van Oudheusden aka Zet Gee aka Zwangere Guy. He’s always been one of the most eccentric figures within STIKSTOF, the Brussels-based rap formation of five that released their highly acclaimed debut album ‘Overlast’ back in March. Gorik has always kept his solo business on the low, releasing his well-received Zwangerschapsverlof mixtapes on the side. Now that he has found a bigger platform, he’s ready to show the world what he has to say. A debut solo album is currently in the pipeline and if the first single, ‘Gorik Pt. 1’, is anything to go by, it promises to be an extremely personal testament of his troubled childhood and his relation with the people and the city around him. Before we can hear more, Red Bull Elektropedia and Lefto took Zwangere Guy on a quest to the other side of the world.
As any first-time traveller to Japan, Gorik’s first experiences with the local culture over there were overwhelming to say the least. Luckily, he had the well-experienced globetrotter DJ Lefto and close friend slash producer UM! (who has roots here) with him to show him the ropes. First up was a guest appearance to one of the premier local radio stations, InterFM (“It’s like a larger sized Studio Brussel, but with 10 million listeners”, dixit Lefto), followed by a recording session with UM! and two local rappers, Kikumaru and KGE, at the Red Bull Studios in Tokyo. “It all depends on the beat”, said Gorik. “If that catches on, then I can let go and I see what comes out”. The result was a refreshing combination of different approaches to writing verses and rapping styles.
Luckily, the guys had a pair of gigs planned too. The first one was at Solfa Club - a small but bass-heavy basement club in Tokyo had booked all 3 on their bill for the night. “Two seconds before the show, I decided to go all out”, says Gorik. The second gig was scheduled in Kagoshima, located in Japan’s southernmost tip – a smaller city where people are a little warmer and the beer tastes a little sweeter, or, at least that’s how Guy experienced it. “I decided I shouldn’t care about the fact they wouldn’t understand me and it totally worked out fine. They really enjoyed it, the beat made them go crazy. I love to see that, that’s what hip hop is all about for me”.
Letting go and getting lost in translation works both ways. “It was really interesting to be in a place where you don’t understand anything”, admits Gorik. “Just getting away from it all for a while, indulging yourself in a temporary feeling of ambiguity and discomfort”.
Watch ‘Zwanger In Japan’ in full above.