Rovanperä is taking hip-hop to the people

Two-time World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanperä is fast becoming a genuine rockstar. Here's how...


I have got to be honest, I didn’t see this one coming. Sitting on his couch on Saturday morning, Kalle Rovanperä is laughing. He knows the rest of the world didn’t see this one coming.

While the powers that be wring their hands and ponder the best way to promote the sport, the 23-year-old has gone route one. Have you seen it? You need to. What am I talking about? Check the video below. But, for now, welcome to the world of Finnish hip-hop. With some rap – and a defending world champion – thrown in.

Rallikansa is the latest work of Finnish duo JVG. And the video features #69 as a welder-turned-driver.

Just when you thought the snowmobile-whipping drift car king that is our current World Rally Champion couldn’t get any cooler, this happens. And, whether it’s your beat or not, it is undeniably… dope.

And JVG isn’t some fly-by-night bunch of rally fans looking to use music as a way into the sport. Fronted by Jare Joakim Brand and Ville-Petteri Galle, the group is the most streamed band in Finland. Over the last decade, they’ve won 13 Finnish Grammy Awards and redefined what a successful Finnish act can achieve.

During COVID they played a virtual concert to around a million online fans. They are a very, very big deal. And Rovanperä’s right in there with them. But how?

“I didn’t actually know them personally before this project,” Kalle told DirtFish. “But my manager, he knows them. I don’t know if that had something to do with it, but they made this rally song and they wanted me to be in it.

“So basically, the title of the song is like ‘rally nation’ or something like this, like rally people. It’s about rallying and how Finnish people are rally people. These guys have really good songs. All the Finnish people know them and it’s quite cool to be part of their project.

Kalle Rovanperä
I was in a music video already, when I was like 12 or 13 Kalle Rovanperä

“It’s nice that they now made the rally song. It’s going to be, for sure, the song that everybody is listening to the whole summer, especially [Secto] Rally [Finland] time.”

Music videos are, however, nothing new to the youngest-ever World Rally Champion.

He added: “I already did this sort of thing before. I was in a music video already, when I was like 12 or 13, something like this, with the Citroën C2. So, not the first time, but for sure, after a long time, it was it was fun. And when it was with people like this and just driving and having fun, for sure, it was it was a cool project.”

Will he do it again?

“Yeah, why not,” he smiles.

And will he sing next time?

“I hope not,” he added, “because that’s not going to be a success.”

Kalle Rovanperä, Jonne Halttunen

Rovanperä and co-driver Jonne Halttunen have already enjoyed plenty of WRC success – including victory at last month's Safari Rally

Rallikansa on the other hand will be a big success, with download numbers bound for the millions.

Typically, the two-time world champion – who will go back to his day job in Portugal next month – downplays his work in spreading the word of the sport he loves.

“I’m just trying my best to, at least, keep our rally drivers alive and well known, let’s say, among the people.”

Stream it now; it’s the sound of the WRC summer.

Kalle Rovanperä

Rovanperä's time away from the WRC has helped make him a hit among the Japanese drift community as well as Finnish hip-hopers