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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.