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Thursday, January 10, 2008

German Gangsta Rap

Neo Gangstas rule!
Almost Like Real Gangstas. This time, German rap is coming from the streets. By Scott Roxborough

A new generation of German hip-hoppers is doing what the first generation failed to do – adding a touch of the ghetto to German pop culture. [...] Their images of crime and police brutality, drug abuse and casual violence is not the way most Germans think about their own country, but their mix of crude German and English slang rapped over a pounding beat is climbing the charts. A whole generation of German rap stars with tags like Sido and Azad, Kool Savas, Bushido and B-Tight are dressing ghetto, talking trash and keeping it real. Call it German Gangsta Rap. Visit any German high school and it is clear German kids also want to walk the walk and talk the talk of U.S. hip-hop. [...]

And as it is in the United States, aggression is a big part of German gangsta rap. Aggression is one of the foundations of our street culture,” argues Specter of AggroBerlin.
“I’ll burn you like napalm,” screams Azad in one song. “I’m planning murder and rape... I’m a fighting dog on the mike,” raps Bushido. However, what rappers of the new generation are most interested in is not politics, but music. They want to change rap. That‘s why more often that not their anger is directed at older rapper rivals like Blumentopf and Die Fantastischen Vier.

“If you’d rather sit at home by your pool, eat from a nicely-set dinner table/Then you’ll soon realize Berlin’s not for you,” Sido raps on Mein Block. “This is my block, not Blumentopf’s block! Yeah!” The fans are in on the joke. Many of the kids who bought Sido‘s debut Maske also checked out Viel, the latest best seller from Die Fantastischen Vier, and groove to Eminem, 50 Cent and Jay-Z. German kids, after all, have never had much of a problem playing mix-and-match with U.S. and German culture, or adapting U.S. imports to fit local customs. If you can mix Sauerbraten with French Fries, why not gold chains with Lederhosen?

- Scott Roxborough is a Canadian journalist living in Cologne and German bureau chief for the leading media trade daily The Hollywood Reporter.

Source: The Atlantic Times