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.
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.
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.”