From Iceland — Big Sean Believes In Elves And “Björk’s From Here?”

Big Sean Believes In Elves And “Björk’s From Here?”

Published June 19, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photo by
Johanna Eriksson

Yesterday, the annual Secret Solstice Festival finished, and one of the headliners was Detroit born rapper Big Sean, the Grapevine met him backstage moments before his concert for an interview, where—following a pre-made script— he talked about elves, rams’ testicles and the quirky names of Icelandic hip hop acts

Before the interview, I was made to wait in a completely closed off black tent, which apart from a lone coat hanger in one of the corners was completely empty. There I stood around with a couple of nice PR people from the US for around twenty minutes, before a big black man walked in and introduced himself as Zeno, Big Sean’s agent. He said it would be two more minutes. Not quite.

But not long before Big Sean was to go on stage, he walked in accompanied by more PR people and my new friend Zeno.

Nice guy and his massive success

Big Sean seems like a likeable guy and having met him in person I’m sure the “Big” refers to his personality or his massive success. In 2007, he signed with Kanye West’s GOOD Music, and last year, his album “I Decided” debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and his songs ‘Bounce’ and ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’, have been international hits. This is his first time he’s been to the country, but he claims to be quite taken in.

“I think it’s cool here, been very rainy though. We came a couple of days before and I can tell it’s beautiful. Afterwards we are gonna try to hit some of the hot springs. I also bought some cool ski pants, I might wear them later.”

Diggin’ that Solstice vibe

One of the things that fascinates visitors to our north Atlantic rock the most is the 24 hour sun, and despite having been “passing out” in the middle of the day, Big Sean is a fan, and the concept of a festival during solstice interests him.

“It is great, super tight, it’s different, everything different and unique you have to respect. I’m under the impression that people at the festival are here to have fun, move around and enjoy themselves,” Big Sean said. “I like the lineup and having the Foo Fighters and me on the same billing just shows the wide variety of the music people listen to here. I’d like to come back.”

Volcanic rock and the midnight sun

Big Sean arrived a couple of days ago and has been getting to know the idiosyncrasies of Iceland.  He has been taken in the volcanic landscape and the midnight sun, but isn’t too enthused about our weird cuisine.

“Did you say fermented sheep’s heads? You like that? No disrespect,” he said when asked about Svið. “And sour rams’ testicles? Well, if you like it then I’ll try.” I answer that I don’t.

He also doesn’t seem too knowledgable about our little island nation, when I ask him about our biggest celebrity Björk he answers: “Björk’s from here?” Well, at least RZA is a fan, we’ll always have that.

Elves and ghosts

That we all believe in elves is a horrible cliché, and one of the more annoying things tourists ask about (I can imagine it being as annoying as when Germans have to answer questions about WWII, okay, maybe not, but you get what I mean), but the script includes one of those questions so I fire away.

“Elves are probably right. I’m sure they exist, if we have a picture of them in our heads, that must come from somewhere. I believe in ghosts, so why not elves?”

Maybe Americans should stop talking about how we believe in elves and start discussing why their rappers believe in them—and ghosts.

Fire hip hop names and the “Glacier Boys”

One thing, however, that captures his attention about Icelandic culture are the quirky names of some of Iceland’s biggest hip hop acts.

“”Lord Pusswhip”? That’s fire and what, Glacier Boys? Oh, Mafia. And “XXX Rottweiler”? These names don’t seem weird, they seem thought out. And at least Vaginaboys has Vagina in the title.”

I recommend he check out some Icelandic music, but I know so does every single journalist in any country he visits, so I won’t be holding my breath.

Johanna the intern falls big

I notice that Zeno is telling me wrap it up, Big Sean has to get on stage. Sadly, I missed most of Big Sean’s concert, as I had to stand around, as Rick Ross made us wait for a long time, but that is a story for another article.

Best part though, was probably that Johanna the intern, who took his picture, was quite taken by the big man, freely admitting that he should “Beware” and that she was at his “Mercy” and she hoped he’d like to fuck with her. I hope so too.

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