German hip-hop

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As a German hip-hop - even Deutschrap called - is hip-hop music called, which in Germany is produced or finished. His protagonists do not always come from Germany or rap in German .

German hip-hoppers have been active since the mid-1980s, when the genre was an underground movement , very politically and musically rough. Protagonists during this time were Marius No.1 & Cora E. and Advanced Chemistry . Through Die Fantastischen Vier and the Rödelheim Hartreim project , which formed antipodes to one another , German hip-hop and rap received increased media attention. Although the Fantastischen Vier were often reviled as " pop rappers ", their music represented pioneering work for many. The successes of the Hamburg scene with Fettes Brot , Beginner , Eins Zwo , Dynamite Deluxe , Samy Deluxe and Five Stars deluxe built on this style by they also used mostly loose texts. Around the year 2000 it was mainly they who broke through the charts across the board. Other rappers established themselves locally in their cities in the 1990s.


Strictly speaking, hip-hop is an umbrella term for a culture that originated in the United States . Hip-Hop consists of the following four elements: Djing , B-Boying , Graffiti , Rap . While hip-hop is more of an underground scene in Germany, German rap has become mainstream. This article deals with German rap.



With the commercialization of rap in the United States, rap and hip-hop also came to Germany in the early 1980s and spread through records, films and, above all, through the American soldiers stationed in Germany . Films like Wild Style and Beat Street, produced by Harry Belafonte , as well as documentaries like Style Wars encouraged more and more young people to break , spray or rap. This is how the first English-language hip-hop wave emerged in Germany in the early 1980s. The fact that, in addition to the American soldiers stationed in Germany, the films already mentioned had a major influence on the formation of a German hip-hop scene, was shown above all by later music releases from 1990. Here, the three films are always different in the song texts German-speaking interpreters named, and their importance for the emergence of an interest in hip hop was highlighted. Examples of this are the duo Marius No.1 & Cora E. ( Nur a Part of Culture , 1994) and the solo artist D-Flame ( More than Music , 2002), but also groups such as Too Strong ( Body Rock , 1999 ) or RAG ( RAG-Time , 2001).

The first German-language hip-hop publication is Rapper's Deutsch by GLS-United , a parody of the hit Rapper's Delight that appeared in April 1980 . The punk band Die Toten Hosen also released one of the first German rap singles in 1983 with Hip Hop Bommi Bop . The song, created in collaboration with Fab 5 Freddy , is a rap version of their song Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder . Nina Hagen also raps in her 1983 German-language single New York / NY and also in the English version of the song entitled New York New York , which reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the USA on March 17, 1984 . In 1989, Ahmet Gündüz of the Fresh Familee group was probably the first German-language rap publication to come from hip-hop culture on a sound carrier. The first hip-hop formations known nationwide in West Germany included Rock Da Most from Berlin, Advanced Chemistry from Heidelberg, We Wear The Crown Posse from Frankfurt, TCA the Microphone Mafia from Cologne and Too Strong from Dortmund. In the GDR, too, influenced by the film Wild Style , the Electric Beat Crew was the first English-speaking hip-hop crew to emerge in the late 1980s .

After that wave subsided in the mid-1980s, members of the subculture began looking for like-minded people and hosting hip-hop jams . These were organized as parties in youth centers or at home, to which hip-hop enthusiasts from the region or all of Germany came and mainly attracted sprayers, breakers, DJs and rappers. These competed against each other and exchanged ideas. These events created networks that expanded the community.

The first rappers started rapping in English and over American beats. Texting in the German language was considered taboo and "old-fashioned" for them. Torch , a member of Advanced Chemistry , began to freestyle in German at one of these jams in the late 1980s without the knowledge of the rest of the band members. Previously, the band had only communicated with the audience in German between the tracks. Torch's approach met with approval from the audience, presumably because they understood him and felt more addressed as a result. From then on he rapped in German more and more and his name became known within the scene. However, it was not until 1992 that the band Advanced Chemistry, with Fremd, released a sound carrier in German for the first time in their own country .

The increasing interest in music in Germany was finally reflected in the late 1980s when programs were broadcast that were thematically and primarily focused on hip hop. An early example of this is a two-hour radio program moderated by Marius Walczak ( DJ Marius No.1 ), which from 1988 onwards could be received once a month on Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR).

First chart successes

In the 1990s, rap established itself in popular culture and more rappers emerged from the underground. For example the band Die Fantastischen Vier , vier Stuttgarter, who entered the charts with nonsense texts and “fun rap” but also with sophisticated philosophical texts and made German rap known outside their own ranks. In 1991 they released their first LP Jetzt geht′s ab′s ab . Because no one in the scene had heard from them beforehand and they had never performed at a jam before, they were initially not taken seriously there. But then they hit with their single Die Da ?! number two on the charts in 1992. This caused an uproar within the hip-hop community, because on the one hand they had German lyrics that were supposed to be fun and on the other hand they were published by the record label Sony / Columbia and were therefore considered commercial. This was considered a taboo as there had been a keep it real is the deal attitude in the US that opposed a commercial sell-off. This anti-commercial stance was adopted in Germany, whereas in America it was long out of date. The Cologne-based formation Legal (ly) Spread Dope (LSD) released the album Watch Out For The Third Rail in 1991 , which still contained English texts, but met with greater acceptance in the scene and therefore as the first pure hip-hop album Germany applies. From 1993 the first German-language hip-hop television magazine “ Freestyle ” ran on the then new music broadcaster VIVA .

Also in 1991, Krauts with Attitude, the first German hip-hop sampler appeared as an “inventory” of German hip-hop and a “fairly representative cross-section of the West German hip-hop scene” of the early 1990s.

Until 1995 no German rap albums appeared in the charts. Rap developed underground and split into the New School and the Old School . The old school , the co-founders and “builders” of rap in Germany, accused the new school of ignoring it and not taking hip-hop seriously. The old school , which consisted of the Cora E. , Stieber Twins , TCA and Advanced Chemistry groups , had a much more political stance. In 1992, for example, the label MZEE -Records, which was founded especially for this purpose, brought the first real Deutschrap publication to the market as a maxi-single with Fremd in their own country of the Advanced Chemistry group , on which the predominant racism in Germany and the identity of socially disadvantaged migrants are discussed . In 1992, the Absolute Beginners did NOT bring out the police scarf designed for Slime . TCA the Microphone Mafia published Hand in Hand , a song against racism, in 1994 .

On the other hand, the protagonists of the New School , which included Fettes Brot and Der Tobi und das Bo, were seen as bands that only wanted to bring fun. They rapped about seemingly unimportant things and mostly had texts with puns and irony. In 1995, Nordisch by Nature by Fettes Brot was published.

Establishment in the mainstream

In the years from 1995 to 2000, German-language rap reached its zenith and was part of the national pop scene. More and more publications appeared and the market was literally flooded. Independent hip-hop centers have established themselves in Hamburg , Munich , Stuttgart , Heidelberg and Berlin as well as in Düsseldorf , Cologne and the Ruhr area .

Different sub-styles developed which differed from both the old and the new school. The most important publications of this time were, among others, of the Massive Tönen Kopfnicker (1996), of the Stieber Twins Fenster zum Hof ( MZEE , 1997), of the Freundeskreis Die Quadratur des Kreis (1997), of Blumentopf from Munich No Coincidence (1997), by the absolute beginners Bambule (1998) and Deluxe Soundsystem (2000) by Dynamite Deluxe . These artists differed in their respective styles.

The battle rap developed , which was a continuation of the battle freestyle , which was practiced early on at jams . There crews or solo artists stood facing each other and threw rhyming quatrains at the other's head, which should make them bad with ridicule and puns ( disses ) and should enhance themselves. The audience then decided who was the better. The artists continued this on recorded diss tracks and albums and tried not only to outdo an "opponent", but to hurt them with words. Above all, metaphors and comparisons are used and swear words are thrown around. Primarily in Berlin, this species was initially associated with groups such as West Berlin Masculine and MOR . Above all, Kool Savas , who belonged to both formations, made the battle rape popular in the following years. His indexed single LMS / Schwule Rapper is considered to be groundbreaking. He saw himself as a kind of "antipole" to the Hamburg scene and its protagonists Fettes Brot and Deichkind , against whom he often took a position in his songs.

Another way of expression was Conscious Rap , which draws attention to political and social grievances. An important group in this field is Anarchist Academy . In the period that followed, rappers and consumers increased, but the scene stagnated. At the turn of the millennium, the hype gradually ended and the number of new releases dropped significantly. In the review of Torch's Blauer Samt album, JUICE stated that hip-hop "has [has] gone down to such a low level in recent years that it is downright sensational to hear an album like this."

In the mid-90s there were some collaborations between German and American artists, such as LL Cool J , Coolio , Grandmaster Flash , Public Enemy , KRS One and Wu-Tang Clan , which DJ Tomekk brought to Germany. With catchier sounds, the hitherto most elaborate hip-hop videos in Germany, major financing from major labels and industry, and marketing strategies for a broader audience, he ensured chart successes for German hip-hop artists in German-speaking countries. Many German artists worked with DJ Tomekk to become more successful. This often caused controversy in retrospect, for example between Sido and Die Sekt at the end of the 90s .

Establishment of battle and gangsta rap

At the beginning of the new millennium, battle rap became increasingly successful, although its pioneer Kool Savas, beginning with his debut album The Best Day of My Life, presented more moderate lyrics, which occasionally met with criticism. From 2001, the Berlin label Aggro Berlin attracted attention with gangsta rap , which had previously been largely avoided in Germany. He was almost antipodal to the style of the Hamburg scene. The artists who published on Aggro Berlin included Sido, Bushido and Fler , who established themselves permanently in the charts.

The beef , as hip-hop jargon describes public rivalries between rappers, also spread, similar to the way it did in the USA. The first better-known musical exchange took place in 2001 between Azad and Samy Deluxe . The conflict between Kool Savas and Eko Fresh, which he originally sponsored, became more public . The latter was under contract with his record company Optik Records before the two separated due to artistic differences. End of 2004, Eko Fresh made in his song "Billing" his former mentor and the musical environment in some serious allegations, whereupon the latter "with the judgment countered". “Die Abrechnung” also brought about other notable disstracks , including one with Fler. There was also a musical exchange of blows of this kind between Bushido and Bass Sultan Hengzt . Similarly, Sido and Bushido gave each other verbal attacks in rap lyrics after their time together at Aggro Berlin. Since then, these public disputes between rappers have increased; also because the number of well-known rappers and German rap fans rose steadily.

In the period that followed, immigrants living in Germany generally had an impact on the German hip-hop scene, articulating topics such as unemployment, the lack of opportunities for young people, racism, but also street and drug crime. In the following, the strong influence of migrants on German-speaking hip-hop led to many z. B. Arabic , Turkish or Slavic words in the German youth language . In this context, is Frankfurt / Offenbach rapper warrant mention. The social hot spots , which are often discussed in the texts, are more often referred to as " ghetto ". The partially sexist , homophobic , violent or anti-Semitic texts are criticized . In 2007, for example, a public discussion sparked whether Bushido should be invited to a festival against violence between young people. In 2018 there was criticism of the rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang due to the lines of text "My body is more defined than by Auschwitz inmates " and "Do 'a Holocaust again, come on with the Molotov" from the album Jbg 3 .

German rap in the age of the internet

The beginnings of Kollegah are the rhyme League Battle Arena
Weekend is known from the video battle tournament
Karate Andi at a performance

With the widespread use of the internet and the advent of smartphones , the German rap scene has also changed. While information about releases or beef between rappers used to be mainly obtained from printed magazines such as Juice , today direct communication between rappers and fans takes place via social networks such as Facebook and video portals such as YouTube . Beef is also sometimes played publicly on social networks.

The Internet also brought with it some new formats. The idea of fighting battle rap no longer just between two people facing each other in real life came up with the Reimliga Battle Arena , also known as RBA. The audio files of the battle rounds are uploaded to the RBA website and then rated by a jury. Over 70,000 battles have been fought in the RBA so far, and artists such as Kollegah or Cro took their first steps here. For a long time, the RBA was the most important German format for Internet battles, until it was superseded by video battles mainly held on YouTube. The first major tournament of this kind was the video battle tournament (VBT) organized by . In the VBT, a winner was determined according to the KO system from sometimes over 1000 participants. Many rappers from the VBT such as Lance Butters , Battleboi Basti or EstA were also able to place themselves in the official charts after their participation, Rapper Weekend even reached number one in the album charts .

Many rappers from the VBT turned away from the tournament because the production of the numerous battle rounds was complex and no money could be earned with the rounds. YouTube blogger Julien Sewering was able to take advantage of this gap in the market by opening his own tournament, the Juliensblogbattle . At the Juliensblogbattle rappers receive a share of the advertising income of their rounds. Furthermore, all rounds can now be downloaded for a fee, with the download numbers helping to determine the rapper's progress. Most battle rounds reach seven-digit number of views, the front runner is a final round from 2014 with currently over 20 million views. The later commercially successful rappers SpongeBOZZ , Gio , Laskah and 4tune emerged from the JBB .

Parallel to the success of the purely online video battles, live battles are increasingly being recorded and uploaded to YouTube. The format with the greatest reach is the rap on Wednesday organized by Ben Solomon . Rapper who became famous through rap on Wednesday are, for example, Takt32 , Capital Bra , who broke the record for the most number one hits in Germany in 2019 , and Karate Andi .


Already in 1984 the Cologne dialect music group Bläck Fööss released the hip-hop persiflage "Huusmeister Kaczmarek" with a text in Rhenish dialect on the album "Mir klääve am Lääve" .

Albums with gold or platinum status in Germany (selection)

See also


  • Hannes Loh, Sascha Verlan: HipHop. Teaching materials for secondary schools. Chanting: rap lyricists and rhyming warriors . Verlag an der Ruhr, Mülheim 2000
  • David Toop : Rap Attack . Hannibal Verlag, Höfen 2000
  • Sascha Verlan: working texts for lessons, rap texts . Reclam, Stuttgart 2000 (extended edition 2003)
  • Sascha Verlan, Hannes Loh : 35 years of hip hop in Germany . Hannibal Verlag, Höfen 2015
  • Hannes Loh with Murat Güngör: Fear Of A Kanak Planet - HipHop between world culture and Nazi rap . Hannibal Verlag, Höfen 2002, ISBN 978-3-85445-210-2
  • Hans W. Giessen: German Hip-Hop , Pop-Archiv International 01/2002 from January 15, 2002, in the Munzinger-Archiv ( beginning of article freely available)
  • Hannes Loh, Sascha Verlan: 25 years of HipHop in Germany. (1980-2005) . Updated edition. Hannibal, Höfen 2006
  • Dagobert Höllein, Nils Lehnert, Felix Woitkowski (eds.): Rap - Text - Analysis. German-speaking rap since 2000. 20 individual text analyzes , transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2020, ISBN 978-3-8376-4628-3


  • Lost In Music - HipHop Hooray . Germany, 1993. Documentation for ZDF. [1]
  • Fat beats and fast rhymes - HipHop made in Germany. (Heavy Beat and Ready Rhyme) . A film by Sabine Pollmeier and Joachim Haupt. Germany, 1999. A Parnass Film production for DW tv.
  • HipHop de Luxe - from the underground to the charts . A film by Sabine Pollmeier and Joachim Haupt. Germany, 2000. A Parnass Film production for ARTE / NDR.
  • When the curtain falls . A film by Michael Münch. Germany, 2017.

Individual evidence

  1. Step into German - Die Toten Hosen (Music Podcast 2014/8 Transcript) . Article on the website of the Goethe-Institut San Francisco , accessed on September 25, 2019
  2. The ten best songs by Nina Hagen - The top ten of the "Godmother Of Punk" . Article from March 10, 2020 in the Internet magazine Tonspion ( Tonspion ), accessed on April 3, 2020
  3. Billboard - Music Charts, News, Photos & Video | Billboard: Chart History - Nina Hagen (English)
  4. Manuel Gogos: From guest workers to gangsta rap. Alis in Wonderland. Deutschlandfunk Kultur: Freistil from October 28, 2018, accessed on November 30, 2019
  5. Interview with the hip-hop pioneers of LSD Author: Andreas Margara (April 16, 2008)
  6. Kofi Yakpo: "Because I am not an isolated case". Afro-German rap artist in the early days of hip hop . Article from August 10, 2004 in the portal ( Federal Agency for Civic Education ), accessed on May 10, 2014
  7. Media Control Charts Archive, top position on December 7, 1992 at, accessed on October 6, 2012
  8. Interview with the hip-hop pioneers of LSD Author: Andreas Margara (April 16, 2008)
  9. Krauts with Attitude ( Memento of the original from March 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. at, accessed on May 8, 2012  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Dietmar Elflein : From New German Speech Song to Oriental Hip Hop - some thoughts on the history of Hip Hop in the FRG. , 1996, online at , accessed on May 8, 2012
  11. ^ biography - Absolute Beginner., accessed on December 17, 2013 .
  12. ^ Deutschrap 2000–2003, Boom and Big Bang. juice, accessed December 17, 2013 .
  13. DJ Tomekk smoothed SIDO and Specter their way to success, Author: Ralf Theil, December 5, 2018, accessed on 9. April 2019
  14. SIDO sings in the song "TOMEKK" "... and he has the very first assfuck record with ..."
  15. SIDO in an interview about his switch to success with Tomekk
  16. Stefan Zehentmeier: New colors in language. (Süddeutsche Zeitung), accessed on December 17, 2013 .
  17. ^ After awarding the award to anti-Semites "Echo is no longer authorized" TAZ April 15, 2018
  18. a b BUSHIDO: Bushido about new box contents and a son of a bitch. February 22, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017 .
  19. RBA V4 - 0.03. Retrieved April 14, 2017 .
  20. Oliver Marquart: After Cros RBA comeback: Kollegah also wants battlen again - . In: . January 14, 2015 ( online [accessed April 14, 2017]).
  21. - | VBT 2015 qualification. Retrieved April 14, 2017 .
  22. Oliver Marquart: Charts: Lance Butters with "Blaow" in the top 3 - . In: . May 15, 2015 ( online [accessed April 14, 2017]).
  23. Oliver Marquart: Charts: Lance Butters with "Blaow" in the top 3 - . In: . May 15, 2015 ( online [accessed April 14, 2017]).
  24. Charts: Cro with "Whatever" at the top // EstA with "EstAtainment" in the Top 20 // UPDATE: Genetikk still Top 10 - 16BARS.DE. Retrieved April 14, 2017 .
  25. Weekend at # 1 in the German album charts. Retrieved April 14, 2017 .
  26. JuliensBlogBattle: JuliensBlogBattle 2015 - QUALIFICATION # 1. March 25, 2015, accessed April 14, 2017 .
  27. JuliensBlogBattle: JuliensMusicCypher - UPDATE # 1 | JMC. October 22, 2015, accessed April 14, 2017 .
  28. JuliensBlogBattle: JBB 2014 [KING FINALE] SpongeBOZZ vs. Gio (prod. By Digital Drama). December 26, 2014, accessed April 14, 2017 .
  29. a b Clark Senger: Downfall of the Live Battles? SpongeBozz and the evil internet . In: . March 24, 2015 ( [accessed April 14, 2017]).
  30. ^ Laskah - - Band . In: . ( Online [accessed April 14, 2017]).
  31. René-Pascal Weiß: Capital Bra more successful than the Beatles? Please stop comparing the achievements. In: Neon-Redaktion. April 1, 2019, accessed December 12, 2019 .