Lost In Thought: Authenticity in Rap and Literature – A Swedish Case Study


This article explores the notion of authenticity as expressed in literature and in rap. In order to do this, I have chosen two texts that were produced in similar time periods and take as their subject similar conditions and locations. I show how authenticity can be both recreated and destabilised, with the help of two Swedish texts: a rap, and a short story. The two texts in question are The Latin Kings’ ‘Borta i tankar’ (‘Lost in Thought’), and Alejandro Leiva Wenger’s ‘Borta i tankar’ (‘Lost in Thought’). Both texts engage with social conditions in Sweden at the turn of the millennium. The two texts are connected by more than just their name, with the most obvious intersection being the themes they both address. The lyrics of Dogge Doggelito (The Latin Kings’ frontman) depict the struggle of a young man seeking to make something of himself in difficult circumstances. Similarly, Leiva Wenger relates the story of a young man attempting to come to terms with his own abilities, tolerances and opportunities, and the expectations of those around him. However, as I will argue, there are aspects of both texts that make their relationship to authenticity more complex.



authenticity, Swedish literature, rap, identity

How to Cite

Smalley, N., (2012) “Lost In Thought: Authenticity in Rap and Literature – A Swedish Case Study”, Opticon1826 13, 33-44.







Nichola Smalley (Department of Scandinavian Studies, UCL)



Publication details



All rights reserved

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • PDF: 20db8c97b77574de57cd4ed4b4daad1b
  • HTML: 20db8c97b77574de57cd4ed4b4daad1b