Chords The Garden Around the Mansion

There is practically no indication in Chords’ music or raps that he is from Sweden. He raps in English (unlike many of his Swedish hip-hop contemporaries) without any real trace of an accent, sticks to familiar subject matter and, on his U.S. debut The Garden Around the Mansion, welcomes American guests Masta Ace and Punchline alongside Swedish heavyweights like Timbuktu and Promoe. But that having been said, Chords’ approach is refreshing in 2006 (funny, since the record was released in Europe three years ago): he’s a good storyteller armed with funny punch lines and catchy beats. Pop culture references abound, as Chords sticks mostly with battle raps but also dabbles in light-hearted autobiography (not to be taken too seriously), while production behind him is kept equally light, slick and bouncy. Chords now lives in New York and he cites Tupac, Wu-Tang, Nas, Snoop and Ras as his influences on "Blockin’ My Game,” but while his music doesn’t sound Swedish in the least, he does bring an outsider’s enthusiasm to traditional U.S. underground rap fare. (A Home In The Hood)