From Iceland — Nasty & Classy: He’s Bassi Maraj… What Else Can You Say?

Nasty & Classy: He’s Bassi Maraj… What Else Can You Say?

Nasty & Classy: He’s Bassi Maraj… What Else Can You Say?

Published September 7, 2021

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Supplied by artist

“Nasty-tude… and class mixed together. Cla-nast-itude,” rapper and reality star Bassi Maraj says coyly, when asked to describe himself in a few words. The current darling of Iceland, Bassi is, to put it bluntly, a force of nature. If you need examples, just know that in only the past months, among other things, he’s gotten into Twitter beef with Bjarni Ben and recorded the official 2021 Reykjavík Pride song. Who else can compare?

“I’m nasty and classy,” he laughs. “That’s it.”

A born performer

The 22-year old burst onto the scene as a member of ‘Æði’—Iceland’s first genuine reality TV show—which stars Bassi and his friends Patrekur Jaime and Binni as they navigate life in this fair country. Think the Kardashians, but more gay, likeable and with better drama.

But then Bassi changed gears, releasing a single “Álit” which was followed by his namesake “Bassi Maraj”. The song blew up, creating a level of hype not seen since “B.o.B.a.” or “Joey Cypher”.

Normally, one expects a reality or social media star’s entry into music to be rather terrible—we’ve all seen Addison Rae’s “Obsessed,” literally anything by Dixie D’Amelio and, of course, Jake Paul—but Bassi wowed everyone by being fucking fantastic. His music quickly overshadowed his reality TV career and he’s now a respected rapper in the scene, working with big name producers like DJ Nazareth and BNGRBOY, and performing at big live shows. So don’t be surprised if his TV presence quickly becomes a small note in his Wikipedia page. We wouldn’t be. The guy’s a born performer.

Surprise! Not trash!

“Everyone was like, ‘Yeah, I expected it to be trash!’ And then they heard it and said, ‘No, you didn’t write that. Who’s writing your songs?’” Bassi laughs, remembering the days before his first release. In person, he’s exactly the same lovely over-the-top character you see on ‘Æði’—absolutely nothing is played up for the camera. “And I was like, um, nobody—who else would make songs about gay sex and cum?”

No one in Iceland, for sure.

Minaj/Maraj

His artist name is a reference to Nicki Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty. Bassi’s obsessed with her, and her influence is clear in his verses—many of which, translated into English, could easily be Minaj lines.

While, perhaps, the nuances of his lyrics might be lost on the non-Icelandic-speaking crowd, we’ve done our best to translate them in a poetic way:

It’s not hard for me to attract semen
I’m not a housewife even though I’m baked
I’m grilling motherfuckers so they call me steak
I don’t fuck with you ‘cause you’re fake
I’m Bassi Maraj

What’s the stunt?

Bassi’s currently working on his first EP, which should be released sometime soon. As you’d expect, he’s planning on dropping it with a bang.

“It’s five songs. I want to do something crazy before I release it so I was thinking, what stunt can I do?” he says, smirking. “Then I thought maybe I’ll just write the release date in poop on Alþingi.” Then he bursts out laughing. “No, I won’t.”

But even if he did, don’t pretend to be surprised. As he said, he’s nasty and classy.

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