Swedish-American Rap Artist Wilhelm Duke Aims To Bridge Gap Between Swedish Hip Hop & American Rap
Wilhelm Duke is the son of a Swedish immigrant who came over to the US to fly commercial jets for his career in the late 70s. Growing up in Omaha Nebraska, it wasn’t the typical setting to raise or develop a child with a natural proclivity to emceeing and hip hop. Duke’s mother was a school teacher in the urban district, being exposed to Black culture was nothing new to Wilhelm Duke. Falling in love with hip hop was perhaps an inevitability. In 2012, Duke decided to hang up the basketball shoes and after he graduated from Omaha Central High School he moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College, pursuing a rap career was secondary or primary to earning a degree depending on the day. Through out over a decade of being in the Chicago music scene Wilhelm Duke accomplished quite a bit; he’s hosted and curated countless shows and events, he’s written over 200 articles on Chicago recording artists, toured out of state, curated 2 cypher platforms helping Chicago emcees, as well as apprenticing under the legendary Twista (personal assistant), hitting 1.3 million views on Facebook Reels with the Yo Gotti Open Verse Challenge, earning 38k followers on Facebook, and gathering a residual fan base on Spotify due to going viral. Wilhelm Duke has always been proud of his Swedish heritage and looks to incorporate Swedish themes, customs, traditions, and idioms within his music. Wilhelm Duke is not just a white rapper, he’s a Swedish-American rapper. In April, he released a 6 track EP titled, Swedish Pancakes featuring a native Swedish rapper named Xersize. Xersize is signed to the Gothenburg based indie label, Rexius Records. The one in a million and yet coincidental situation is that Xersize was living and based out of Eskilstuna Sweden, the same city that Duke’s father hails from. Xersize even happened to live less than a mile away from Duke’s father’s childhood home. After discovering the mutual connection and familial history, the two became natural friends culminating in an amazing track called “Metro Grit” which is on Wilhelm Duke’s EP, Swedish Pancakes. The song details the differences in city life living in Chicago, as well as living in Eskilstuna, Halmstadt and Goteborg! Going forward, Wilhelm Duke looks to collaborate and release music with more Swedish hip hop artists, although many do not make music in the old school lyrical style that Duke and Xersize perform; hopefully there’s enough of a scene to continue exposing Swedish hip hop recording artists to Duke’s American fanbase, as Duke works to break a Swedish following for himself. Xersize was definitely well praised with his part on Duke’s Swedish Pancakes. Swedish Hip Hop is growing faster than ever, and Wilhelm Duke will be a vital key in that process!