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Taco Hemingway [Real name: Filip Szcześniak]

Various Tracks (2014-2018)

YEAR: 2014

COUNTRY: Poland

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Title of the work

Various Tracks (2014-2018)

Title of the Album(s)

Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle/Threesome] (2014), Umowa o dzieło [Freelance Contract] (2015), Wosk [Wax] (2016), Marmur [Marble] (2016), Szprycer [Spritzer] (2017), Soma 0,5 mg (2018), Café Belga, plus EP Flagey (2018)

Studio / Production Company

Asfalt Records, e-Muzyka/Step Hurt, Warner Music Poland

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Poland

Original Language

Polish

First Edition Date

2014

First Edition Details

2014-2018

Format

CD, MP3, streaming platforms (Spotify, iTunes)

Official Website

tacohemingway.com (accessed: January 30, 2019)

Available Onllne

tacohemingway.com (accessed: January 30, 2019)

On Spotify (accessed: January 30, 2019)

On iTunes (accessed: January 30, 2019)

Awards

2015 Onet – Najlepsi [Onet – the Best] for the Best Artist – Taco Hemingway 

2016 Fryderyk [Polish music award] – Umowa o Dzieło

2016 Wdechy 2016 for the Man of the Year – Taco Hemingway 

2016 Cover awArts 2016 for the Best Album Cover – Marmur

2018 Cover awArts 2017 for the Best Album Cover – Szpryce

2018 Fryderyk for Szprycer

2018 Plebiscite WuDoo/Hip-Hop for the Rap Album of the Year 2017 – Szprycer and the Raper of the Year 2017 – Taco Hemingway 

Genre

Hip hop*
Rap*

Target Audience

Young adults (Disclaimer: Explicit Language, not suitable for children)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, anna.m.mik@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com 

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk

Taco Hemingway during the concert in Warsaw – Ekodiesel Tour – with Quebonafide (as duet Taconafide). Under the Wikimedia Common Rights, Date: 21 April, 2018, Source: Own work, Author: Itokyl, link here, accessed: January 30, 2019).

Taco Hemingway [Real name: Filip Szcześniak] , b. 1990
(Artist, Author of lyrics, Musician, Vocalist)

Taco Hemingway, real name Filip Tadeusz Szcześniak, was born July 29, 1990 in Cairo, Egypt. When he was still a small child his family moved to China, where he attended a local kindergarten. However, because of problems with adapting to a different country, Filip’s family decided to move to Warsaw in 1996. There he attended school and later – the University of Warsaw, graduating with a BA in Cultural Studies. 

Szcześniak is bilingual – he spoke English and Polish with his parents – and that is probably why he wrote his first lyrics in English. In 2011, he released a mixed tape called Who Killed JFK under a pseudonym Foodvillain. This production turned out not to be very successful. Three years later he released a mini album Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle] using the name “Taco Hemingway”, a nick that he used while playing “FIFA Football” (a video game by EA). One of the most popular music studios in Poland, Asfalt Records, recognized him as a talented and promising artist and produced a re-edition of Trójkąt… under their label. Since then Taco has released 6 albums and has become the most successful commercial musician in Poland. He is famous for being very private, not appearing on any celebrity parties, and for not giving interviews or promoting any clothing or other products. He lives only out of his music, which he often raps about in his songs. 

Taco Hemingway is one of the most popular artists in Poland. His albums were on the highest OLIS places (official Polish sales list); he has won numerous awards (see: Awards) and has gained enormous popularity among young people. His concerts are attended by – mostly – teenagers and are sold within a few hours from the opening of the sale.


List of Albums 

2011 mixtape Who Killed JKF as Foodvillain

2012 mini album Young Hems

2014 mini album Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle/Threesome] as Taco Hemingway

2015 studio album Umowa o dzieło [Freelance Contract]

2016 mini album Wosk [Wax]

2016 studio album Marmur [Marble]

2017 mini album Szprycer [Spritzer]

2018 Taconafide (duet with Quebonafide) Soma 0,5 mg 

2018 studio album Café Belga, plus EP Flagey 


Official website (accessed: January 30, 2019)


Bio prepared by Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, anna.m.mik@gmail.com


Summary

As in the case of most rappers, Taco’s tracks are mainly about himself. He sings about his career, life in Warsaw, best friends and girlfriends, raising the subject of authenticity, art, youth, loyalty, and love. He uses various metaphors inspired by art, football (he is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.), popular culture (Harry Potter) or classic movies (his favourite seems to be Stanley Kubrick). Taco diagnoses the world that we all live in, full of fake news and lacking inspiration, and at the same time he refuses to live in such environment. He claims he will never advertise any products or go to an awards ceremony or any celebrity event. All his albums are pretty homogeneous, as he seems to tell his own story, that visibly evolves with each next production. In his lyrics he also responds to any allegations and doubts from music industry or his fans – as he treats his music as a communication platform with the "outside" world. 

Taco Hemingway also frequently uses mythological themes in his songs.

Analysis

Most of the classical motifs appearing in Taco Hemingway’s songs are not broadly developed and rather play a role of sharp metaphors to depict certain emotional states or particular situations. Nevertheless, their recurring presence suggests that usage of such motifs is relevant in Taco’s story and an analysis might show what do they bring to the rapper’s universe. 

Taco likes to compare himself to gods and heroes of the classical world (which seems obvious for a self-confident male rapper, as it is part of artistic creation and convention). In the track Awizo [Notice] from the album Umowa o dzieło he raps that he is “a soya Poseidon” (Ruler of healthy drinks? The whole track is about healthy food as a trend among young people), suggesting he is a master of healthy lifestyle. In the song Chodź [Come] from Szprycer Taco raps in the chorus: 

Czuję się jak młody Zeus kiedy jadę nocą /

I feel like a young Zeus when I ride through the night

Czekam aż to miasto wreszcie mi postawi posąg / 

I await when this city finally builds me a statue


Here he also suggests that he is the most important persona in the city, as he feels like a powerful god who rules Warsaw. In the same album, in the track Głupi byt [Stupid Existence] he compares himself to another god, while rapping: Młody Fifi, młody Dionizos / Young Fifi, young Dionysus, again suggesting the feeling of having a divine power. On Soma 0,5 mg in Art. B Taco too implies that he is Prometheus who gives people fire. All these comparisons to the greatest and most powerful men of Greek mythology suggest a divine character of the rapper who – because of his popularity – might be the only one that enlightens young people eagerly listening to his albums. Taco’s need for eternal glory (suggested in Nóż [Nife] in Soma) and his declaration of being first writer, second – rapper (Pokédex in Flagey) point to the classical tradition of becoming a hero and releasing people from earthly suffering – that Taco saw and even experienced himself.

Taco’s tracks also exploits the "dark side" of classical mythology. In the track Mięso [Meat] from Trójkąt Warszawski, expressing anger and uneasiness, Taco raps: 

To nie komedia / This is not a comedy

Antygona ma wzór wam dać / Antigone ought to set you an example

Tutaj ma być tragedia / Here must be a tragedy

Obok antyczny chór ma stać / Close by – a classical chorus should stand

Proszę, idźcie się zabić / Please, go kill yourself

Poważnie, sam mogę sznur wam dać / Seriously, I can give you a rope myself

Albo jakiś karabin, lecz idźcie wy wszyscy w trumnach spać. / Or a rifle, but go, all of you, and sleep in your coffins.


Here, he simply relates to the genre of Greek tragedy. In his world, there is no place for happiness and fulfilment, as there is no way to trick the cruel fate. For him – happiness is fake, only death is real and he demands from people surrounding him that they die. Taco also expresses his pain and lack of loyalty from others in expressions like: they stab you in the back like Brutus (ZTM, Café Belga); or worries: Possibly an artist is dying here, as Nero used to say (Ściany mają uszy [Walls Have Ears], album Marmur). 

One of the latest tracks released by Taco on EP Flagey sums up his career in pretty accurate and truly mythological way: 

Pytasz mnie, co u mnie, odpowiadam: “stara bieda” / 

You ask, what’s up, I say: “same old story”

WWA, portrety jak obrazy Canaletta / 

Warsaw, portraits like Canaletto’s paintings

A ty ciągle piszesz sobie mity, nie udawaj Greka. / 

And you still write your myths, don’t pretend to be a Greek 

[An idiomatic Polish expression: don’t pretend not to understand]


Certainly, mythology and antiquity in general played a big role in Filip Szcześniak’s cultural development. While there are more allusions to classical antiquity in his lyrics, let’s conclude this analysis with a quotation from his early album: 

Wisła patrzy podejrzliwie, bo z nią będę mieszkać / 

Vistula looks on suspiciously, because I will be living with her

Aż mi trzecia Mojra przetnie linę / 

Until the third Moira cuts my rope.


Further Reading

Greg Dimitriadis, Performing Identity/Performing Culture: Hip Hop and Text, Pedagogy, and Lived Practice. New York et al.: Peter Lang, 2009, available at books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019). 

Milosz Miszcynski, Adriana Helbig (eds), Hip Hop at Europe’s Edge: Music, Agency, and Social Change. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2017, available at books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019). 

Jordan Sommers, Hip-hop: A Cultural Odyssey. Los Angeles: Aria Multimedia Entertainment, 2010, availableat books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019).

Addenda

Disclaimer: Explicit Language, not suitable for children

Yellow cloud
Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Various Tracks (2014-2018)

Title of the Album(s)

Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle/Threesome] (2014), Umowa o dzieło [Freelance Contract] (2015), Wosk [Wax] (2016), Marmur [Marble] (2016), Szprycer [Spritzer] (2017), Soma 0,5 mg (2018), Café Belga, plus EP Flagey (2018)

Studio / Production Company

Asfalt Records, e-Muzyka/Step Hurt, Warner Music Poland

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Poland

Original Language

Polish

First Edition Date

2014

First Edition Details

2014-2018

Format

CD, MP3, streaming platforms (Spotify, iTunes)

Official Website

tacohemingway.com (accessed: January 30, 2019)

Available Onllne

tacohemingway.com (accessed: January 30, 2019)

On Spotify (accessed: January 30, 2019)

On iTunes (accessed: January 30, 2019)

Awards

2015 Onet – Najlepsi [Onet – the Best] for the Best Artist – Taco Hemingway 

2016 Fryderyk [Polish music award] – Umowa o Dzieło

2016 Wdechy 2016 for the Man of the Year – Taco Hemingway 

2016 Cover awArts 2016 for the Best Album Cover – Marmur

2018 Cover awArts 2017 for the Best Album Cover – Szpryce

2018 Fryderyk for Szprycer

2018 Plebiscite WuDoo/Hip-Hop for the Rap Album of the Year 2017 – Szprycer and the Raper of the Year 2017 – Taco Hemingway 

Genre

Hip hop*
Rap*

Target Audience

Young adults (Disclaimer: Explicit Language, not suitable for children)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, anna.m.mik@gmail.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com 

Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, s.deacy@roehampton.ac.uk

Taco Hemingway during the concert in Warsaw – Ekodiesel Tour – with Quebonafide (as duet Taconafide). Under the Wikimedia Common Rights, Date: 21 April, 2018, Source: Own work, Author: Itokyl, link here, accessed: January 30, 2019).

Taco Hemingway [Real name: Filip Szcześniak] (Artist, Author of lyrics, Musician, Vocalist)

Taco Hemingway, real name Filip Tadeusz Szcześniak, was born July 29, 1990 in Cairo, Egypt. When he was still a small child his family moved to China, where he attended a local kindergarten. However, because of problems with adapting to a different country, Filip’s family decided to move to Warsaw in 1996. There he attended school and later – the University of Warsaw, graduating with a BA in Cultural Studies. 

Szcześniak is bilingual – he spoke English and Polish with his parents – and that is probably why he wrote his first lyrics in English. In 2011, he released a mixed tape called Who Killed JFK under a pseudonym Foodvillain. This production turned out not to be very successful. Three years later he released a mini album Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle] using the name “Taco Hemingway”, a nick that he used while playing “FIFA Football” (a video game by EA). One of the most popular music studios in Poland, Asfalt Records, recognized him as a talented and promising artist and produced a re-edition of Trójkąt… under their label. Since then Taco has released 6 albums and has become the most successful commercial musician in Poland. He is famous for being very private, not appearing on any celebrity parties, and for not giving interviews or promoting any clothing or other products. He lives only out of his music, which he often raps about in his songs. 

Taco Hemingway is one of the most popular artists in Poland. His albums were on the highest OLIS places (official Polish sales list); he has won numerous awards (see: Awards) and has gained enormous popularity among young people. His concerts are attended by – mostly – teenagers and are sold within a few hours from the opening of the sale.


List of Albums 

2011 mixtape Who Killed JKF as Foodvillain

2012 mini album Young Hems

2014 mini album Trójkąt Warszawski [Warsaw Triangle/Threesome] as Taco Hemingway

2015 studio album Umowa o dzieło [Freelance Contract]

2016 mini album Wosk [Wax]

2016 studio album Marmur [Marble]

2017 mini album Szprycer [Spritzer]

2018 Taconafide (duet with Quebonafide) Soma 0,5 mg 

2018 studio album Café Belga, plus EP Flagey 


Official website (accessed: January 30, 2019)


Bio prepared by Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, anna.m.mik@gmail.com


Summary

As in the case of most rappers, Taco’s tracks are mainly about himself. He sings about his career, life in Warsaw, best friends and girlfriends, raising the subject of authenticity, art, youth, loyalty, and love. He uses various metaphors inspired by art, football (he is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.), popular culture (Harry Potter) or classic movies (his favourite seems to be Stanley Kubrick). Taco diagnoses the world that we all live in, full of fake news and lacking inspiration, and at the same time he refuses to live in such environment. He claims he will never advertise any products or go to an awards ceremony or any celebrity event. All his albums are pretty homogeneous, as he seems to tell his own story, that visibly evolves with each next production. In his lyrics he also responds to any allegations and doubts from music industry or his fans – as he treats his music as a communication platform with the "outside" world. 

Taco Hemingway also frequently uses mythological themes in his songs.

Analysis

Most of the classical motifs appearing in Taco Hemingway’s songs are not broadly developed and rather play a role of sharp metaphors to depict certain emotional states or particular situations. Nevertheless, their recurring presence suggests that usage of such motifs is relevant in Taco’s story and an analysis might show what do they bring to the rapper’s universe. 

Taco likes to compare himself to gods and heroes of the classical world (which seems obvious for a self-confident male rapper, as it is part of artistic creation and convention). In the track Awizo [Notice] from the album Umowa o dzieło he raps that he is “a soya Poseidon” (Ruler of healthy drinks? The whole track is about healthy food as a trend among young people), suggesting he is a master of healthy lifestyle. In the song Chodź [Come] from Szprycer Taco raps in the chorus: 

Czuję się jak młody Zeus kiedy jadę nocą /

I feel like a young Zeus when I ride through the night

Czekam aż to miasto wreszcie mi postawi posąg / 

I await when this city finally builds me a statue


Here he also suggests that he is the most important persona in the city, as he feels like a powerful god who rules Warsaw. In the same album, in the track Głupi byt [Stupid Existence] he compares himself to another god, while rapping: Młody Fifi, młody Dionizos / Young Fifi, young Dionysus, again suggesting the feeling of having a divine power. On Soma 0,5 mg in Art. B Taco too implies that he is Prometheus who gives people fire. All these comparisons to the greatest and most powerful men of Greek mythology suggest a divine character of the rapper who – because of his popularity – might be the only one that enlightens young people eagerly listening to his albums. Taco’s need for eternal glory (suggested in Nóż [Nife] in Soma) and his declaration of being first writer, second – rapper (Pokédex in Flagey) point to the classical tradition of becoming a hero and releasing people from earthly suffering – that Taco saw and even experienced himself.

Taco’s tracks also exploits the "dark side" of classical mythology. In the track Mięso [Meat] from Trójkąt Warszawski, expressing anger and uneasiness, Taco raps: 

To nie komedia / This is not a comedy

Antygona ma wzór wam dać / Antigone ought to set you an example

Tutaj ma być tragedia / Here must be a tragedy

Obok antyczny chór ma stać / Close by – a classical chorus should stand

Proszę, idźcie się zabić / Please, go kill yourself

Poważnie, sam mogę sznur wam dać / Seriously, I can give you a rope myself

Albo jakiś karabin, lecz idźcie wy wszyscy w trumnach spać. / Or a rifle, but go, all of you, and sleep in your coffins.


Here, he simply relates to the genre of Greek tragedy. In his world, there is no place for happiness and fulfilment, as there is no way to trick the cruel fate. For him – happiness is fake, only death is real and he demands from people surrounding him that they die. Taco also expresses his pain and lack of loyalty from others in expressions like: they stab you in the back like Brutus (ZTM, Café Belga); or worries: Possibly an artist is dying here, as Nero used to say (Ściany mają uszy [Walls Have Ears], album Marmur). 

One of the latest tracks released by Taco on EP Flagey sums up his career in pretty accurate and truly mythological way: 

Pytasz mnie, co u mnie, odpowiadam: “stara bieda” / 

You ask, what’s up, I say: “same old story”

WWA, portrety jak obrazy Canaletta / 

Warsaw, portraits like Canaletto’s paintings

A ty ciągle piszesz sobie mity, nie udawaj Greka. / 

And you still write your myths, don’t pretend to be a Greek 

[An idiomatic Polish expression: don’t pretend not to understand]


Certainly, mythology and antiquity in general played a big role in Filip Szcześniak’s cultural development. While there are more allusions to classical antiquity in his lyrics, let’s conclude this analysis with a quotation from his early album: 

Wisła patrzy podejrzliwie, bo z nią będę mieszkać / 

Vistula looks on suspiciously, because I will be living with her

Aż mi trzecia Mojra przetnie linę / 

Until the third Moira cuts my rope.


Further Reading

Greg Dimitriadis, Performing Identity/Performing Culture: Hip Hop and Text, Pedagogy, and Lived Practice. New York et al.: Peter Lang, 2009, available at books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019). 

Milosz Miszcynski, Adriana Helbig (eds), Hip Hop at Europe’s Edge: Music, Agency, and Social Change. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2017, available at books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019). 

Jordan Sommers, Hip-hop: A Cultural Odyssey. Los Angeles: Aria Multimedia Entertainment, 2010, availableat books.google.pl (accessed: January 30, 2019).

Addenda

Disclaimer: Explicit Language, not suitable for children

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