21 November 2012
By 1994, the number of immigrants living in Germany had reached 6.9 million.
97 per cent of all immigrants were resident in the western part of the country, which meant that
in the former Federal Republic of Germany and in West Berlin every tenth citizen was a
1.53 million came from EU countries, among them 500,000 from Italy and 350,000 from Greece.
Further, some 930,000 immigrants originated from the former Yugoslavia and 260,000 from
The biggest foreigner community, however, was formed by the Turks with a population of
1,918,000, of whom 300,000 to 400,000 were of Kurd origin.
Half of the Turkish immigrants were between 25 and 45 years old: only 5 per cent were 60 years
of age or older…
Around the time of German reunification at the beginning of the 1990s, the media and the
record industry started to show more interest in the hip-hop scene.
On the one hand, there was the international chart hit, 'The Power', by Frankfurt's Snap (1990),
which led A & R managers to look for other young talent.
On the other hand, there was the fall of the Berlin wall and the development of a refreshed
form of nationalism, which opened up the space for the commercialisation of a new, nationally
coded youth culture.
In March 1990, an article appeared in one of the most important – if not the most important –
German music magazines, Spex, which announced the arrival of the 'Krauts with Attitude', and
some small independent labels began to release records by West German groups like LSD and
Die Fantastischen Vier (The Fantastic 4)
“Die da?!” (That girl there?!; 1992)
o The song is so tamed in comparison to American-style
o No profanities
o Females are treated with a lot of respect
o Use of a lot of East German cars, that don’t even work
o Sounds like clean Will Smith rap
Name is supposed to be a reference to the board game, Connect Four
1 German Hip-hop hit
“Fremd im eigenen Land” (Foreign[er] in my own country; 1992)
From Heidelberg; all German citizens, but not of traditional ethnical backgrounds which gave
them a reason to speak against social segregation against immigrants.
Many people from the immigrant community thought they were being whiny, because at least
they have passports and they were just a little dark-skinned in comparison to them.
Krauts with Attitude marked the starting point of a national music genre which was also
reflected in the use of terminology. 21 November 2012
The original phrase 'hip-hop in Germany' mutated into '100 per cent German hip-hop' and then
into the German term Deutscher Hip-Hop.
After the enormous success of the Fantastischen 4, terms like Neuer Deutscher Sprechgesang
(new German recitative) and Neue Deutsche Reimkultur (new German poetry) began to be
Thus an adopted musical style became grafted onto a national identity which de facto locked
out many of its participants.
Given hip-hop's special attractions for immigrant youngsters as a different, non-German cultural
pattern (as I will discuss later), this nationalist move was particularly problematic.
In particular, the practical refinement of the term Neuer Deutscher Sprechgesang meant that:
o Hip hop became reduced solely to a style of music.
o In the absence of other specific musical characteristics, language became the only
criterion for defining Neuer Deutscher Sprechgesang.
o While rapping in German language is not in itself nationalistic, it became so when it was
marketed in national opposition to Anglo-Saxon and Afro-American cultural imperialism.
o The groups marketed in this way did not really know what to do with hip-hop verse.
o They were more or less aware of the fact that they participated in a national tradition of
Germans who in imitating exotic cultures, no matter how perfectly, reduce them to
carnival. The aim becomes simply commercial success (see Jacob 1993, p. 214).
o In such commercial practice the complex structures of rhyming in