Liberian-born Finnish Jesse Markin delivers an ode to the good times ahead with prog-rock rap

Posted on 30 January 2021
By Khyle Deen
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Finnish rapper-turned-singer-songwriter Jesse Markin has nurtured a reputation for universal excursions through indie-pop, Rap, RnB, and African folk – a soundscape beyond any genre limitations.

Hailing all the way from Viljakkala – a small all-white community village in Finland, Markin is no stranger to feeling isolated. Growing up having attracted unwanted attention as a young black boy; Markin faced an identity crisis and seeked comfort in things that reflected his internal battles.

Making a conscious decision to do things differently, he studied the English language through the world of Music, TV Shows and Films and eventually developed a fascination for US Rappers, which soon became an escape for him.

Markin later spent years as a member of the hip-hop group ‘The Megaphone state’, who produced three critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Despite his love for rap, the artist decided to embark on his solo career, developing his style from rapping to singing through universal lyrical themes.

New slice, ‘Smokestack’ – an ode to a vibe, is the perfect example of Markin’s flexibility, as he demonstrates a nostalgic-saturated production with mechanical guitar riffs, while dipping in and out of rapping and melodic vocal displays.

Talking of the track, Markin says: “As long as I can remember I’ve been a huge fan of 60’s music scene. And for a long time I’ve been vibing to old Woodstock tapes of Hendrix, Santana, Grateful Dead and much more. These performances were the inspiration behind this track. I simply wanted to capture the feeling of those days while bringing something new to the mix with 808’s and rap.

And now especially during quarantine times I find myself missing festivals and days when we could gather in huge numbers just to celebrate. Right now, all of that feels like a distant memory and I tell myself it’s just a phase and all phases are needed. With that in mind I wanted a song that has this throwback feel but still reminds us of all the good still ahead of us.”

Having released his debut album ‘FOLK’ in May 2019, Jesse has garnered a list of achievements, including winning Newcomer of the Year and the Critics’ choice Award at the Finnish Grammys, and performed at Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Eurosonic Noordeslag, Iceland Airwaves and Ja Ja Ja London. Currently the artist is working on his second full length with his producer Totte Rautiainen, which is set to be released in spring 2021.

Smokestack single is out now via VILD Recordings and Pop-Up Records.