The Modern German Hip Hop Scene

There are some things about the modern German hip hop scene that are extremely different that the hip hop scene that is well-known in the United States. The thing to remember is that the two are very different entities. Even though you will see a lot of overlap in styles and themes, the issues that are expressed by the hip hop communities are not the same.

Here are the important elements that are in the modern German hip hop scene.

Turkish Hip Hop

There is a high minority population of Turkish immigrants in Germany in modern society. The reason behind this is that during the 1960s and 1970s, meaning during the Cold War, there was a labor shortage happening in West Germany. Since their population was not remotely at capacity with the Eastern half being Soviet occupied, the West German government negotiated a trade of labor with their Turkish counterparts, offering Turkish workers to come to the economically booming West Germany to work. Naturally, the Turkish population boomed in West Germany as a result.

Through the years though, there was a tension arising between the Turkish immigrants and the native Germans, which was intensified when East Germany merged with West Germany, revealing a struggling economy that was in need of work. The Turkish-German hip hop artists emerged in order to express their frustrations and anger with German society that has so many disadvantages to modern day Germans who are of Turkish decent. As a result, the Turkish youth have embraced the “thug” image that is also embraced by the minorities the United States. Hip hop is a form of expressing both the thug lifestyle and image while sharing their discontent with society through song.

Turkish-German hip hop should not be lumped together with regular mainstream hip hop in Germany though. It is distinct. It is not German, but instead it embraces the Turkish identity that is lost by being within Germany.

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New School German Hip Hop

Where the old school underground German hip hop movement tried to emulate and sometimes even copy the American style of hip hop music, the new school is no longer doing this. While the new school of German music speaks of violence and crime, there is a lot of criticism that it has lost all of the importance that came with the popularity of the old school type of hip hop. There is no longer a social discussion. The old school hip hop discussed the issues that came with the Berlin Wall and the division of Germany, something that new school hip hop artists no longer have a need to express and in a lot of cases are just not affected by.

Really thought the new school of Germany hip hop is comprised of a diverse group of artists. It is not limited to one type or genre as the case is in the United States. While immigrant hip hop certainly has a large place in the German hip hop community, it is not the entirety of the hip hop music scene. There is a community that still does express social issues as well as even groups that are meant to express humor. Some if it is sung in German, some of it is sung in English. There is just not one type.

Criticism

The biggest criticism that comes to the modern German hip hop scene is from the old school performers. DJ Cutfaster has expressed his personal discontent with the way that the hip hop scene has changed in Germany.

“Most people have forgotten that hip hop functions as a mouthpiece against violence and oppression and ultimately against the ghetto, which has become the metaphor for the deplorable state of our world,” he said.

He continued that old school German hip hop had, “envisioned and propagated hip hop as an underground community that needed to keep its distance from and to create resistance to mainstream culture in order to avoid co-optation.”

Hip Hop Events in Europe

There are a number of hip hop events that happen in Germany. Whether it is hip hop performances, graffiti or breakdancing, there is a lot about the German hip hop community that could can experience and in some cases even perform yourself. Here is a breakdown of all of the amazing events that are coming up in the next year around Germany to let you experience the German hip hop scene.

Before I list out some of the upcoming events of hip hop in the world, I just want to do a quick rundown of what all of the different types of hip hop art there are. I’m sure it could be contested that there are more than these, but, in my opinion, these three are the most important. And while you are probably familiar with what they are, I’m going to explain it anyway.

  • Rapping: Also known as hip hop or rap music, it is a music genre that is made up of rhymes that are chanted to a rhythmic backbeat. Another element that falls under this category is beatboxing, which is stylized rhythms coming from your mouth’s abilities to make percussion sounds. I used rapping instead of hip hop here because hip hop is usually talking about the whole subculture which is not what I am referring to. I am instead looking at the music itself as well as the artist form of expression rather than the culture itself.
  • Graffiti Art: Graffiti itself has been around as long as man has been scratching drawings into caves. It is just simply writing or drawings that where painted or scratched onto a surface in public where they were not supposed to be. Graffiti is actually the most controversial part of hip hop, but not for the reason you may think. It is controversial because a lot of graffiti artists are not associated with hip hop and vice versa. They are linked in modern times because the graffiti is how artists are able to identify their expressions as opposed to someone else’s, known as “tagging.” It is understood to be the visual expression of the hip hop scene.
  • Breakdancing: Also known as “b-boying” or simply “breaking,” breakdancing is a style of dance that was developed inside of the hip hop culture. It has borrowed from other dance styles from street dancing to African dancing and even takes some dance moves from the likes of Michael Jackson and James Brown. There is a lot of gender discrimination in the world of breakdancing, but there are some b-girls out there. It is the physical expression of the hip hop scene.

International Meeting of Styles 2016: Every year there is a street art and graffiti exhibition that tours the world.  This year’s theme is “Absolute Freedom.” This is the 15th anniversary of the Meeting of Styles. It will be in Germany from 10-12 June 2016 in Wiesbaden.

World Peace N˚2 Inga Mauer, Christopher Joseph & Revelate: At Ohm, Germany on 21 May 2016, there will be the hip hop experience to end all hip hop experiences in Germany. It should be pretty amazing.

Sean Paul: Coming to the Tempordrom on 7 June 2016, the Jamaican rapper and hip hop artist will be performing his hits as well as his newest album Full Frequency.

4ce53dc0_fb.xxxlargeRihanna: As part of her world tour, Rihanna will be performing in Berlin at the Olympiastadion on 2 August 2016.

Battle of the Year: Every year in Essen there is a breakdancing competition putting the best breakdancers of Europe against one another in an epic battle. This year it will be 29 October 2016.

7 Things you didn’t know about German Hip Hop

Did you know there was a mainstream German hip hop scene? If not, do not feel bad. You are not alone. Due to the common themes of hip hop in the United States, hip hop in other countries is not shared here on a large sense. We are more accustomed to hearing the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Drake rather than artists who native language is German.

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If you have heard of the German hip hop scene, you may still learn a thing or two from my list. Here are 7 things you didn’t know about German hip hop music.

  1. There has been hip hop music coming out of Germany since the 1980s. That’s right, just when hip hop was gaining speed it was also being created in Germany. The artists of the early underground German hip hop culture include Cora E., native to Kiel, Germany, and Advanced Chemistry, a hip hop group that came out of Heidelberg, Germany. Advanced Chemistry’s members are Toni L, Linguist, Gee-One, DJ Mike MD, and MC Torch. The band is still active today.
  2. Hip hop was introduced into German culture through American soldiers who were stationed in Germany. They also were credited for the movies Wild Style and Beat Street. Without the American influence within Germany itself, the hip hop scene would have looked very different today.
  3. The first German language hip hop song came out in 1980 actually. It was called Rappers Deutsch and it was by GLS United. So actually there has been hip hop music in Germany as long as there has been in the United States. It is just a different culture there and speaks to different groups in Germany differently than it speaks to Americans.
  4. German hip hop music was in the underground until the 1990s. The reason that it was not mainstream was because when hip hop began to take hold during the 1980s in the United States, it was further promoted because of the existence of MTV. MTV did not exist in Europe during the 1980s. That mean that there was no mainstream exposure of American hip hop in Germany. There was only the German underground musicians who were not embrace by the mainstream German record labels.
  5. Do not forget about the Berlin Wall. When hip hop was beginning to grow in the United States, Germany was still a very much divided country. While the Western side of Germany was occupied by American forces who were sharing their newfound love of hip hop with the German locals, the Eastern half was completely shut off from it. That means that when the hip hop culture hit the Eastern side once the Wall went down, there was a lot of repressed issues that needed to be expressed. Hip hop was an excellent outlet for expressing the outrage that had been brewing for decades.
  6. Hip hop was not embraced when it was performed in English. Hip hop in Germany did not grab the attention of the mainstream population until the songs were sung in German. That meant that unless American songs were dubbed, they were just not going to be received in German. When the masses heard hip hop music sung in German, it resonated in a way that English could never have.
  7. After the Wall fell, there was an immense amount of racism that flooded throughout Germany. Hip hop was a way to express minority issues with racism, just as it is in the United States. That is why the majority of hip hop artists in both Germany and the United States are minorities.