Rahdan Vandal – “İstanbul Çök Üstüme” (stream)

A haunting paean to one's home city.

Rahdan Vandal (who usually just records under his first name), is probably Turkey’s most haunted rapper, his rhymes and beats mired in an air of anxiety and angst. Often, his work expounds on the emotional troubles of solitary youth and, with the poetic sweeps of some carefully versed rhymes, the rapper manages to convey these troubles without seeming banal. This may not be apparent to non-Turkish speakers, so Rahdan does the one thing he knows best when penning a lyric: back it up with an indelible melody that will linger in the listeners’ heads long after.

Produced by Germany’s DBP, “İstanbul Çök Üstüme” (“Istanbul Sweep Over Me”), is a paean to Rahdan’s home city and a poetic exploration of the loneliness one can always still feel when surrounded by millions of people in a bustling urban city. The song discusses the Boğaziçi and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges that connect Turkey to both Europe and Asia, a geographical positioning of people and land which has caused some debate over cultural identity for the Turkish. Rahdan then talks about a third bridge, the one that lies in his heart, accessible to no one but somehow connected to a certain feeling of home and belonging. Over a fog of atmosphere that swells around a steady, martial beat, Rahdan waxes romantically about the nature of his home city, his words caught up in a mystic air of longing and wonder.