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italianrap è morto! Viva Italian Rap!

italianrap è morto! Viva Italian Rap!

Joseph Sciorra (May 26, 2012)

After fourteen years, I’m shutting down my website


On August 30th, my personal website will cease to exist.

Launched in December 1998, it was the first English website dedicated to hip hop culture in Italy. While simplistic in design, it was easy to navigate and filled with information that was not available to non-Italian speakers. It provided a history of rap’s evolution in Italy, a bibliography, a directory of artists bios, and, probably most importantly, translations of what are now classic Italian contributions to global hip hop. 

In addition to my work, the site also featured that of people writing about the culture, including Bessie Barnes, Virginia Carlsten, George De Stefano, Fulvio Romanin (C-Sal), Laura Ruberto, Nicky Schäfer, Marco Solaroli, Antonio Ventresco, Aneglo Zeolla, among others. soon became a point of encounter for members of the Italian diaspora, as hip hop heads from around the world reached out to me. The site’s bulletin board was a place where folks from Australia, Canada, Belgium, Italy, France, United States, and other points on the hip hop planet came together.

Eventually, scholars of Italian American Studies and others began citing's significance including De Stefano's An Offer We Can't Refuse (2006) and Parati and Tamburri's The Cultures of Italian Migration (2011).
By far the most remarkable thing to come out of was “Hip Hop From the Italian Diaspora,” an international, three-day festival/symposium in Tuscany sponsored by Queens College’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, the Rassegna di Arti Contemporanee “Cicli” Music Festival, and the townships of Montevarchi and Terranuova (Arrezo province). Lorenzo Brusci and I pulled together rappers, DJs, graffiti writers, and break dancers from Italy, as well as Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United States for this 2000 event.

Piazza Varchi, Montevarchi, 2000.

My web skills were always limited. The design and functionality of has not changed in all this time. In addition, I have not updated the site since 2008. Many of the links are broken. Communication within the community now happens elsewhere, and that’s a good thing. It’s time to let go.
While is no more, its various versions from 1999-2012 are available at the “Internet Archive Wayback Machine.”
I have met many amazing people through the site: aficionados, scholars, brilliant artists, and many others. Together, we have created a new way of connecting, imagining ourselves, of being, free from the restrictions of parochialism and insular thinking, all to a hip-hop beat.    

italianrap è morto! Viva Italian Rap!

DISCLAIMER: Posts published in i-Italy are intended to stimulate a debate in the Italian and Italian-American Community and sometimes deal with controversial issues. The Editors are not responsible for, nor necessarily in agreement with the views presented by individual contributors.
This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written permission.
Questo lavoro non può essere riprodotto, in tutto o in parte, senza permesso scritto.

Italian RIP

I'm a bit sad for not seeing anymore.. That was a kind of Italian Island on the other side of the ocean, there to represent for our reality, for our past reality. Anyway I'm happy for being part of it, with Joe as a Virgilio showin the path to italian hip-hop through the tumultuous world of communication :D Respect is due to Mr. Sciorra, the Italian Perpetrator.

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Ue ue! Papa Joe! Man, I'm fighting back tears here! I practically learned italian from the groups on your site! I know I told you this when you were here but, I've gone from having no direction after high school to wanting to learn italian, than sicilian, than rapping Italian-American, teaching italian, working in the italian deli, touring southern italy, than cooking and preserving in italian, than gardening italian, all of which are based out of my finding that connection to my past Italian heritage and my present hiphop lifestyle. I remember looking up all the different artist and having you put me in touch with Bessy B, Polo, C-Sal, Luciano Chessa, Manifest, Bronx Poetics, it's almost as if your site produced this crazy Cost'Ovest inside of me, but it was already there, you're site just was a key that helped unlock and give direction to that passion. , If I ever get a tatoo that would be one. Everytime I see the site I reminds me of the endless search for that one killer record, and that kid Rocco who came with me to your office that one time, and how he just disappeared with no word, the old school blog/message board, translating my first tracks, telling people that while americans rap about being gangster, in italy they rap against it. The discovery of break beats, scratching, beatboxing, mixed with tummurrieddi, marranzanu, mandolini. Nothing lasts forever but the memory. And all this over a silly web site. You fuckin' changed the course of this river my friend. Big respect Papa Joe. Damn, that's a cool ass name! Anyway, congratulations on what I would call a successful ass site.


Pace e cose belle, Antonio "Cost'Ovest" Ventresco

P.S. - There's always a glass of Limunceddu all'Oaklandese waiting for you over here ;)

sciorra's picture

a key

Antonio, thanks so much for these beautiful words. Together we have created an amazing thing, added to the body of knowledge, and fostered creativity. I'm very happy to have been part of this wonderful adventure. I know we meet up in the future. peace, Joe

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this is the word that springs up to my mind when i think of - from 2000 to 2006 italian rap was possibly the one-stop-shop for an honest view on what we call italian rap. Something that was on the same time unaffected by localisms - since the writer was so far away from all direct influences - and competent, since joe knew better.

We got in touch because my band in those days - seminal hip hop furlan band dlh posse - was singing in a minoritarian language, and being an etnomusicologist too joe was intrigued by our naive yet vubrant hip hop subculture.

I had the pleasure to meet him personally in NY in 2002 - and the day we spent together was something i recall as one of my fondest memories of the United states - indian food, brooklyn and the ceri procession, libraries at 2am? that was so exotic yet familiarly unusual to me - and he did also a small skit in our second - and last - album. "This is papa joe sciorra, from the center of the universe, brooklyn, new york" - and sure it was, damn me. I even wrote an article about him on [hip hop #1 italian magazine] Groove Magazine.

I understand that the changes and the time and his personal life and the way hiphop has mutated since then diverted Joe from the actual kiddos mixing up dubstep and awkward flows. Or maybe he just got pissed, whatever. I even once wanted to turn his site into a wiki, and he kindly refused.

I know i will damn miss and its people and forum. But again, all good things come to an end. So is dead, long live

sciorra's picture



This is by far one the most important connections to come out of the project!

Definitely not pissed, on the contrary. It's just too hard to maintain the site in its present condition and we now have other venues for communicating online.

It was great to host you here in "the center of the universe" and I'm looking forward to traveling to your fantastic galaxy called Udine!

peace, Joe

Italian Rap Site

Hi Joey, I have recently decided to undertake a web project and I immediately thought to create a site on Italian rap. I grew up in LA and spent some time in Italy so I thought it ideal. Would you mind if I borrowed information from your site to make mine? I would of course reference it. Thanks.


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sciorra's picture

a heartfelt thank you

much appreciated. joe

sciorra's picture

borrowed information

that would be wonderful. please keep me posted. j.