Norwegian rap duo Madcon enjoyed widespread popularity in their homeland where they were television stars as well as hitmakers, and they also proved popular in other Western European countries as songs such as "Beggin" became international hits.
Comprised of Tshawe Baqwa (aka Kapricon; born in Germany of South African heritage) and Yosef Wolde-Mariam (aka Critical; born in Norway of Ethiopian and Eritrean heritage), the duo, whose name is short for "Mad Conspiracy," first made a name for themselves as featured guests of award-winning Norwegian rap duo the Paperboys on the Top Ten hit single "Barcelona" in 2002. In the wake of this breakthrough success, Madcon signed a recording contract with the Paperboys' label, Bonnier Amigo, and proceeded to release their full-length album debut, It's All a Madcon (2004). The album spawned a series of singles, most notably the Top 20 hits "Doo-Wop" and "Infidelity," and established Madcon as one of Norway's leading rap acts. In 2007, the duo scored an international smash hit with "Beggin," a song originally performed in 1967 by the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli; not only did the song hit number one on the Norwegian singles chart, it also charted in Austria (number seven), Sweden (number 11), and Switzerland (number 33). An accompanying album, So Dark the Con of Man (2007), followed shortly thereafter and debuted at number three on the Norwegian albums chart. Around this same time, Madcon also enjoyed the limelight of television: they hosted their own show, The Voice of Madcon, and one of them, Baqwa, appeared on the Dancing with the Stars-style show Skal vi Danse?, ultimately winning the season's competition. The success of Madcon continued in 2008 with the Top Ten hit "Back on the Road," a Paperboys single on which they were featured, and the release of their third album An Inconvenient Truth. They returned two years later with "Glow," which launched the 2010 Oslo Eurovision Song Contest as flash mobs danced to the song live across Europe. The single was subsequently a hit and was shortly followed by full-length Contraband, which made it to number two in the Norwegian charts. After another two-year break, their fifth record, Contakt, appeared and was again well-received in their homeland, with every track sung in Norwegian. Madcon began 2013 with the release of single "One Life," which featured former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi