If you’re a regular Musings from Boston reader, you’ll know that I don’t often cover rap music or techno. You’ll also know that I cover Grammy Award winning mainstream artists even less seldom. I’m going to have to make an exception in both cases for three bears from Sweden and a little girl from Jamaica. This song called “What’s Your Problem” is the brainstorm of Swedish hip-hop/electro/Brit-pop/indie/rave/whatever trio Teddybears with the help of an amazingly talented 12-year-old girl called Baby Trish. It has become a huge sensation in Sweden, with a live appearance at Grammisgalan, the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
What makes the song even more special (I mean, apart from a 12-year-old Jamaican girl expertly rapping to a hypnotic electro-pop song performed by three Swedish men in suits wearing bear heads) is that it’s a song with a mission: to fight against prejudice, inequality and racism, and to support understanding, open-mindedness and tolerance. This is a little girl and three bears with an important message, to challenge people “to truly look beyond skin colour, hear beyond genre and focus on what matters most: the core of their message!” They also want everyone to know that the power is theirs to take charge of their lives, make their own decisions and make a difference. The song is out now via Stranded Records/Polydor Swede. You can grab it from iTunes.
Teddybears, originally a grindcore group called Skull, features Jocke Åhlund, Klas Åhlund and Patrik Arve. They have worked with artists as diverse as Iggy Pop, Cee-Lo, Madonna, Flaming Lips, Daft Punk and Snoop Dogg. They’re among the first to cross musical boundaries, combining rock, hip-hop, pop, electro and dancehall music to create their own wacky sound. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy twice and have won nine Swedish Grammys. Teddybears first met Baby Trish when she was just 9 and already performing around Jamaica.
From the press release:
What’s Your Problem? is not a just a single. It is a whole movement which even comes with its own instruction manual:
- Ask yourself this: What’s your problem with someone of different gender? What’s your problem with someone of different skin colour? What’s your problem with someone of different religion? What’s your problem with someone different? What’s your problem?
- Ask yourself again: No really, what is your problem?
- Press play.