The Milanese rapper is part of a nebulous new generation of Italian hip hop, with a slick, searing sound brought to Bershka’s latest On Stage series showcaseBershka
Last night saw one of Milan’s most exciting new artists enrapture an audience at Bershka’s latest On Stage show – Mirko Martorana, who goes by RKOMI, is leading the burgeoning charge of Milanese rap, from the neighbourhood of Calvairate to national festival stage slots, and yesterday evening’s heady, packed-out Vittorio Emanuele store gig.
RKOMI’s gig is the fourth in a series of shows, curated by Dazed and Bershka, to highlight the freshest, most dynamic talent across six different countries – artists that are sure to hit it big in 2019. Mind-pummelling underground indie pop duo Let’s Eat Grandma headlined the London show, with Latin-infused pop purveyor Nathy Peluso taking lead in Barcelona and nostalgia-dripping R&B artist Ace Tee bringing down the Berlin house.
The Italian rapper reflects one of the city’s most fervent creative strands, having dropped a genre-busting second album that ricochets from funk, to pop, and rap, Dove Gli Occhi Non Arrivano (translated roughly to Where the Eyes Don’t Arrive). RKOMI’s dappled soundscape, slick production, and fizzing message of social change has been hungrily received both in his home city and beyond – the last few months have been punctuated by relentless touring and gigging around Italy, with last night’s show one excellent snapshot of a star nearing the stratosphere.
On this evening we celebrated RKOMI’s Bershka merch line collaboration, which includes shirts, a denim jacket, jeans, and a jump in a rich mix of plaids, dip dye and acid wash, inspired by what he and his stylist have witnessed on Milan’s young people.
The usual floorplan of mannequins and clothing rails pushed aside, the musical showcase kicked off with continent-trotting trap and rap curated by Junior K, the official DJ for culture-shifting Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, before RKOMI himself took to the stage. The excited crowd, bathed in neon blue light, sang and shouted back the searing lyrics, particularly kinetic moments sparked when he blasted through the album title track and big hitters like “Boogie Nights/Mon Cherie” and “Blu”.
The 10-tune setlist leapfrogged across a textured discography, as the rapper, dressed head-to-toe in Bershka, swaggered across the stage and up close to the crowd. With his very visible, fervent passion, a playful presence, whipsmart lyricism, and rapidfire delivery, packaged with what was a touchingly humble appreciation for the rapturous gathering, RKOMI electrified the room.
RKOMI’s Bershka collaboration collection is available to buy online now and from select Italian stores. If you missed out on his show, you can watch it back on YouTube; if you’re Paris or Brussels-based, keep an eye on Bershka’s upcoming On Stage dates for forthcoming showcases of local talent from each city.