Back in 2002 I had been listening to hiphop for a while. The majority of what I listened to consisted of American artists. It was at a time I thought you had to be from Compton or New York to be successful in rap or hiphop. The Dutch hiphop scene wasn't really buzzing like it is right now. I also thought that nobody should ever, under any circumstance, rap in Dutch. Nowadays I know better.
It's not really a surprise that the first album I picked up from a Dutch hiphop artist was spit in English. E-life won my respect for Dutch rappers with his album E=mc2. He was the first guy to hit my radar and make it sound real. He was a member of the "Postmen" crew which had a very successful record in 1998 called "Documents". If you haven't heard it, it's worth listening to.
Here's, in my opinion, one of the greatest tracks from E-Life's E=mc2
I remember getting a ticket for my 16th or 17th birthday to go see him. It was in the old Effenaar in Eindhoven which had that great underground feel to it. Back then the Effenaar was stationed in an old linen factory. So nothing flashy but a great atmosphere for a rap show. In 2005 it got redesigned by some architect, to increase cashflow or something I guess, and lost it's underground vibe.
I don't remember much of that evening as it is many nights and parties behind me now. All I remember is that it was a great night with some DJ-battles and E-Life rocked the house. He entered my life and opened the door to other Dutch rappers. I still owe him for that!