What is a positive rap
German rap and its influence on culture
German rap is currently one of the most popular genres of music among Germans. In addition to hits and international pop, he is represented with most artists in the album and single charts. To check this, you only have to turn on the radio once or take a look at a current hit list. Like any art, music naturally shapes society as a whole and its culture. The question of the extent to which German rap affects culture in Germany will be investigated below.
Image: fotolia / astrosystem
The status of German rapeseed
The reputation and status of German rap has experienced a constant ups and downs since its existence since the mid-80s. When gangster rap (sometimes called "gangsta rap") was added in the 90s and the lyrics became harder and harder often became more sexist and inhuman, it was clear that many media and especially the press would stick to the topic of German rap and that criticism and accusations would continue to hail in the future.
This is exactly what happened and today, when German rap seems to be more popular than ever before, it is of course again at the center of heated public debates. After all, it is part of German culture and influences it, and above all it shapes a youth culture that worries many people. Since the debates are shifting to the networked space in the course of digitization, to which basically everyone has access at any time, tempers are heating up faster and faster, questions follow questions, and criticism can be expressed at ever shorter notice and sometimes less thoughtfully.
The debate about the two rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang shows how up-to-date the topic of German rap and the connection with culture are in this country. The two rappers were not only heavily criticized because of a line of text by Farid Bangs, in which it was among other things "My body is more defined than by Auschwitz inmates," they were even investigated on suspicion of anti-Semitism. However, the Düsseldorf public prosecutor's office soon closed the investigation on the grounds that the musicians' statements were covered by artistic freedom. The lyrics do justice to the genre of gangsta rap and are therefore not punishable by law.
Regardless of how you feel about the indisputably tasteless comparisons and statements of the rappers - the German rap with its texts seems to be interesting and quite productive for the preservation of a culture of remembrance, as it is important and fortunately present in Germany due to the prehistory.
But it is also exciting that his cultural influence goes beyond what is said, i.e. beyond the pure content of the lyrics and even beyond the music itself.
The film and the fashion
Breakdancers used to wear baggy clothes. Today, the influence of German rapeseed on the fashion world cannot be so clearly determined. It is more diverse and constantly changing.
The influence of German rap on culture goes beyond music, for example, when rappers get bored with making music or when they want a little variety; or, if you just want to earn a little more money and simply make use of your name. Nobody can forbid them to do this, but they themselves have to live with the consequences of their actions.
It works well in many cases when rappers decide to start a fashion label and design and sell their own clothes. Because rap and fashion have always gone hand in hand - so why shouldn't rappers market their style?
The beginnings of rap-influenced clothing culture can be found in the 1980s in the American Bronx: people wore wide, comfortable clothing (also because of the proximity to breakdancing), as well as various textile accessories (often to indicate that they belonged to a certain group or to the outside world to wear). Via TV channels and in particular the music video, you quickly learned in Europe how to dress as a rapper and hip-hopper, so that a certain style was quickly popular in the scene in this country too.
Today, German rap is established and clearly differentiates itself from American rap, despite many parallels and overlaps. It is multi-faceted and can hardly be described in just a few sentences with all its characteristics. Also, when it comes to fashion, a clear “rap style” can no longer be identified. Whether it's well-known rappers like Fler, who recently started his own brand and sells textiles with the brand name “Ghetto Sport”, or whether it's younger rappers, like Arrest Warrant with “Chabos IIVII” or Cro with “VioVio” - you all have their own style. And that's a good thing, because rappers influence culture in this area in a variety of ways and ensure diversity.
As far as the film industry is concerned, it looks rather more difficult: Almost every one of the films in which a well-known German rapper tried his hand as an actor went under the radar or received rather mediocre reviews. There were no international successes whatsoever. That goes for "Blutzbrüdaz" with Sido and for "times change you" with Bushido as well as for the 20 year old "Siblings - Kardeşler" with rap veteran Kool Savas.
Influencing the language
Even more obvious than the influence of rapeseed on fashion and film is that on language, and especially on the language of young people. The hip-hop and rap journalist Falk Schacht is even sure that the rapper Haftbefehl, for example, will help shape the future Duden. And he sees this development positively: "Like the shower that you use, that is not a German word. That is actually French. Babo and any terminology that is just about rap in the German language and from German young people (that means my I also use German young people with a migration background), inserted into the German language. I think that's good and for me, German-Rap is German, without a problem. "
And the journalist and professor at the Institute for German Philology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Professor Doctor Sven Hanuschek, who looks at some of the texts of German rappers from a literary perspective for the magazine “Noisey”, draws attention to the influence of the German rap on language culture , a positive picture. He even makes comparisons with renowned and intellectual authors: “I'm a fan of Arno Schmidt in German and James Joyce in English, for them word games and language games are extremely important. Expressionist poetry does this occasionally; Very extreme at Joyce, many languages are mixed there - Finnegans Wake, for example, consists of 40 languages, with the basic language English. I also find the variety of languages attractive with the arrest warrant. "
As for the profanity of the lyrics, he notes: “Apparently it is part of doing this talk of sexism. But does that still have provocative potential? What one measures art and poetry, among other things, is whether there are transgressions. Is an established art medium, established speaking, being exceeded in any way? Of course, this happens by setting frames and provoking, for example using profanity, making politically incorrect speech and so on. Only this is the introduced speech here in rap, so nothing is exceeded any more. The question then, of course, is why one has to continue the discourse when it is no longer provocative anyway — am I not re-establishing sexism as "common"? "
The observations that Hanuschek makes and the questions he asks - especially those about the meaning of a continued debate about what art is allowed to do and what is not and whether it sometimes has a negative impact on a discourse if something that has long been negotiated is again in the wrong place warmed up can be left as they are. What is certain is that expressions such as “Babo”, “Habibi”, “I bims”, “lit” and “dope” have meanwhile become part of everyday German language (at least among young people) and thus part of German culture. How you find that is up to you, but it cannot be denied.
Is the youth brutalized by German rap?
Does a musical genre have the potential to "brutalize" a youth culture? Or is the excitement about German rap and the danger it poses excessive?
Not only the language, but also the texts, the behavior of the rappers in the music videos and their behavior in interviews consistently ensure that Deutschrap is repeatedly accused of brutalizing young people and that children and young people sometimes even "go the wrong way" bring. Because many texts are about women who are treated as if they were servants of men, drugs or violence (which is not infrequently done to other rap colleagues). When rappers who have managed to break out of socially disadvantaged environments and families and earn money with their music become famous and flaunt status symbols, it is not uncommon for young people from similar milieus to feel motivated to see rappers as role models to take. That this can sometimes be problematic is out of the question. To see the German rap as a danger to the youth does not seem to be very effective.
On the one hand, adolescents are naturally looking for a sense of belonging and do not necessarily want to find it with their parents, but with the “cool guys” outside, on the street. However, it is usually not the culture that is influenced by rap that is to blame for this, but the hormones. And on the other hand, there is still German rap that takes place beyond any gangster cliché. Often you have to search a little to find it in the depths of the music industry, the video and music platforms, and often you don't understand everything equally - but if you try to differentiate and cast off your prejudices, you will notice that the German rap is culture can also have a positive influence. Be it through clear political statements that want to convey values such as respect for human dignity, tolerance and empathy to a large audience or through lighter songs that can help young people to cope with the everyday life of adolescents, which is not always so easy to see through develop a sense of self.
Image 1 fotolia.com © astrosystem
Image 2 fotolia.com © luckybusiness
Image 3 fotolia.com © nd3000
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