October 26, 2021

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A Polish Rapper Goes From Scandal to Celebrity

A Polish Rapper Goes From Scandal to Superstar

WARSAW — The huge fields of Warsaw’s Bemowo airport have hosted concert events by a few of the world’s largest stars. Michael Jackson performed there. So did Madonna. Metallica, too.

However final Saturday greater than 30,000 folks — many younger youngsters, with their dad and mom appearing as chaperones — crowded collectively subsequent to the runway ready for a brand new star to get onstage: Michal Matczak, a 21-year-old rapper with bleached-blond hair and a continuing grin, higher often known as Mata.

“He’s just like the consultant of our technology,” mentioned Joseph Altass, 20, a scholar who’d traveled from Gdynia, greater than 200 miles north of Warsaw, for the live performance.

Zuzia Waskiewicz, 19, sharing a bottle of flavored vodka with a good friend, agreed: “He’s the primary individual speaking about actual issues about us.”

When Mata appeared at 8 p.m., it was clear he was talking to the youthful technology within the viewers: One of many night time’s first tracks, “Blok,” was about shifting out from his dad and mom’ dwelling and annoying his new neighbors by partying. Then Mata performed an ode to marijuana, adopted by a tune about drinking on the concrete steps that line the Vistula River in Warsaw. The group rapped alongside to each phrase.

Mata’s affect in Poland has been inescapable. Earlier this 12 months, one in all his tracks, “Kiss Cam,” was streamed so steadily, it appeared on one in all Billboard’s international charts — a first for a Polish act. When final Friday he launched “Mlody Matczak” (“Younger Matczak”), his second album targeted on his early maturity, it immediately topped the nation’s Spotify chart. A number of of his songs have over 50 million views on YouTube.

However one particular monitor marked Mata’s explosive entrance into Polish cultural life two years in the past: “Patointeligencja” (an amalgam of the Polish phrases for pathology, and intelligentsia). Over spare manufacturing, Mata paints an image of life as a scholar at Batory, an elite highschool in Warsaw the place many college students are anticipated to push for admission to the world’s finest universities. In his telling, few of the scholars are quietly learning for his or her ultimate exams. As a substitute, they’re utilizing medication, alcohol and intercourse to take care of the stress. “My good friend wished to spend his father’s entire wage on medication,” Mata raps, “however his outdated man was making a lot he would have killed himself attempting.”

“Patointeligencja” was a sensation virtually as quickly because it appeared on YouTube in December 2019. Cyryl Rozwadowski, an editor at Newonce, a preferred Polish-language tradition web site, mentioned “it was such a groundbreaking occasion, I hardly consider it as a tune anymore.”

Newspapers and TV exhibits began utilizing the monitor to debate each the pressures on Polish youth and problems with privilege, like whether or not an apparently wealthy child like Mata must be rapping in any respect. Their takes usually mirrored political divides within the nation. Poland has for years been in a tradition struggle, with liberals on one aspect and the ruling populist Regulation and Justice Celebration and its conservative supporters on the opposite, going through off over issues like gay rights, abortion and even the rule of law.

Some conservative sections of the media, together with the nation’s principal government-run TV station, offered Mata’s monitor as showing the dysfunctions of the liberal elite. They repeatedly identified that Mata’s father is Marcin Matczak, a lawyer and tutorial identified for his fierce opposition to the ruling celebration’s insurance policies.

On his new album, Mata has a tribute to him referred to as “Papuga,” or “Parrot,” slang for lawyer in Poland. His father has welcomed the affiliation, this 12 months releasing a e book referred to as “How to Raise a Rapper.”

A number of hours earlier than the airport live performance, Mata mentioned in an interview at his report label’s plush workplace that he preferred inflicting scandal. “I’m a bit hooked on adrenaline,” he mentioned, including that as an solely baby he craved consideration. Generally, he feels “like an web troll greater than a rapper,” he mentioned.

However he insisted he hadn’t written “Patointeligencja” when he was 18 to trigger a stir. He typed it on his cellphone throughout his ultimate 12 months at Batory when he’d “simply had a giant breakdown.” A 3-year relationship had ended, he mentioned, and he was overwhelmed with stress about exams and his lecturers saying he was heading for failure.

At some point, he skipped class and went to a Caffe Nero, the place he poured alcohol right into a espresso whereas looking for a beat on YouTube. When he discovered the music for “Patointeligencja,” the lyrics angrily spilled out of him. “It was simply stream of consciousness, all these dangerous feelings popping out of me,” he mentioned. “Even now, I’m excited after I take into consideration that second. I felt alive.”

When his father picked him up later, Mata rapped the tune to him. He mentioned the tune was like “the treatment” for his breakdown. Quickly he was writing his debut album, “100 Dni Do Matury” (“100 Days to Finals”), which reviewers later called a farewell to his childhood. He managed to graduate.

“Mlody Matczak” — launched final Friday — is especially about his new life as an grownup, he mentioned, however it additionally features a monitor cursing Polish political figures who’d criticized him and his father. There’s a tune about his grandfathers, who each died this 12 months, one in all problems from Covid-19. At one in all their funerals, Mata received as much as sing, and the piano participant requested for his autograph, he mentioned.

Critics in Poland are speaking about his new album as being way over scandal mongering. Bart Strowski, the co-author of a series of books on Polish rap, mentioned he preferred Mata’s duality. On one hand, he “is an indignant younger rapper full of booze and weed.” On the opposite, Strowski mentioned, he’s “a soulful and delicate child” writing uncommon songs full of “unimaginable sociological element.”

Mata mentioned he was having fun with fame in Poland, however hoped to seek out success exterior the nation, too. He’d been fascinated about whether or not to strive rapping in English, he mentioned, but when he did, would hold a “onerous Polish accent” to face out.

On the live performance on Saturday, Mata’s ambition was clear, with the present staged with the assistance of a theater director. Throughout one tune, he was joined by about 20 dancers in Polish people costumes and pink balaclavas. For an additional about submissive intercourse, he stood in the midst of an enormous block of lights whereas a gaggle of dancers took his high off and sprayed him with cream.

After virtually two hours, it appeared there was little spectacle left, and the one hit left to play was “Patointeligencja.” However as an alternative of performing the tune, Mata ran offstage, jumped right into a blue helicopter and flew away. The group waited round for 10 minutes, asking whether or not he’d actually gone, however Mata had left to seek out his subsequent controversy.

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