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Monday, March 03, 2008

Classic German Hip-Hop

Advanced Chemistry

Advanced Chemistry is a German hip hop group from Baden-Württemberg, South Germany. Advanced Chemistry was founded in 1987 by Toni L, Linguist, Gee-One, DJ Mike MD (Mike Dippon) and MC Torch. Nowadays, it is said that the original members of the Advanced Chemistry are the pioneers of German HipHop, although another hip hop band called "Die Fantastischen Vier" has dropped two singles and one album on a major label in 1991.
Influenced by North American conscious rap and the Native tongues movement, the central subjects of Advanced Chemistry's lyrics were politically and intellectually motivated and focused mainly on their identity as Germans of foreign descent and the status of hip hop around the world.

Like Water for Chocolate Brownies

The Heidelberg based hip-hop band Advanced Chemistry rose to fame with the song “Fremd im eigenen Land” in the early 1990s, and Torch, Linguist and Toni L are since regarded as German hip-hop legends. “My passport’s green, with a golden eagle on it”, is one of the lines in the song, which breaks with rigid conceptions about what should be considered German. Representative for many migrants and Afro-Germans, the band offers resistance to being verbally maltreated as soon as one looks as if one might come “from somewhere else”. The music video reenacts everyday scenes which are exemplary for the decades long denial of the fact that Germany is an immigration country.
Advanced Chemistry was among the very first bands to rap in German. The band introduced the term “Afro-German” into the hip-hop context, and this term was also at the core of their political message. Influenced by American artists such as Melle Mel, KRS-ONE or Public Enemy, they became a standard to the young hip-hop scene in Germany when it comes to technique, rhyme and beat. In their texts, they point to existing grievances such as the increasing exclusion of minorities and the spread of rightwing radicalism. However, their form of hip-hop could not establish itself in the musical mainstream, so that by the mid nineties, people were mostly talking about “Deutschrap” – as the music of the “majority society”. This “Deutsch-rap” model structured rap music along ethnical lines, contrary to the image the scene had of itself. By creating their own structures, Advanced Chemistry tried to escape from being pocketed. In the meantime, racist, homophobic appropriations in a hip-hop context are making the headlines. With “Fremd im eigenen Land”, Advanced Chemistry protests against the structural and factual violence of which this development is also indicative.