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Posts Tagged ‘Beginner

Hip Hop from Germany Part 4

Not a rap album at all, but a record rooted deep down in the hip hop scene from Hamburg. From that rainy and windy city up in the North comes this groovy reggae, from roots reggae tunes to uptempo dancehall clashes. Jan Delay a.k.a. Eizi Eiz from the hip hop formation Beginner teamed up with the Sam Ragga Band in 2001 and recorded this fine piece of music. Reggae from Germany? Yes, it is possible and the result was groundbreaking for the national hip hop scene. Jan Delay was of course not the first doing reggae with german lyrics, a relatively big scene naming themselves “Germaican” exists since almost a decade, but they are just (mainly very boring and embarrassingly) copies of Jamaican Dancehall & NeoRoots acts. With “searching for the jan soul rebels” (the album title is undoubtly a homage to the Dexys Midnight Runners “searching for the young soul rebels” records from 1980) a new area started, nobody before did play with the german language in ways like these, changing pronunciations, stretching and tossing words like that to fit them perfectly to the music. Sadly this record also was the initiation for a new nationalistic wave across the german music scene, when german acts demanded a national radio quote for music from Germany. In this debate nationalistic and anti-american stereotypes soon raised their ugly heads. What difference does it make, if they just want to replace the musical trash from the USA with trash from Germany. I wish I could say Jan Delay did speak out clearly against these tendencies, like he always raps and sings against racism and nationalism on every record he did take part in, but he didn´t. But back to topic…

The album is introduced by Torch from legendary Advanced Chemistry and more important german hip hop heads do take part, Sammy Deluxe from Hamburg and member of the Mongo Clikke, D-Flame and a wonderful song with Xavier Naidoo. I have to say, I really don´t like this guy and his R´n´B songs with dumb religious lyrics. Xavier Naidoo tries to write romantic poems, but only kitschy trash is the result – but together with Jan Delay and Dennis Dublate a.k.a. Denyo from the Beginner he knows to convince.

The record was very popular and a mega-seller, even the single “Ich will nicht das ihr meine Lieder singt” with a really clear message against all the people who must have bought it to became a mega-seller, had high chart entries. Once again a proof that pop-culture will never change the world and that even songs with a strong message against the stupid and boring masses will be bought by them.

Alles ist vergiftet.

Hip Hop from Germany Part 3

“Mikrophontest Eins, Zwo”

Part 3 of my german rap music posts (part 1 & part 2, background informations about german rap here & here), not focusing on the very first days of hip hop in Germany, but more on the hip hop of the second half of the nineties. If you want to hear the very first wave of hip hop from Germany, visit the awesome leave your nine at home blog, there you can find some of the finest tunes from that time (1, 2, 3, 4), my selection contains more the second wave. Epicentres of the evolving hip hop scene were Heidelberg (and some other towns near it) and Hamburg. I think the reason why both had an avantgarde scene of hip hop in Germany are their histories. Heidelberg is since the end of the second world war and the defeat of Nazi-Germany the most important US-Army base in Germany until today. Thousands of GIs were stationed in the small town (140.000 inhabitants) over all the decades, brought US-american culture to Germany, from chewing gum to Rock´n´Roll, later Soul and Hip Hop. The situation of Hamburg in the north of the country is similar, but the reasons are different. The stationed soldiers from the Anti-Nazi coalition also did play an role, Hamburg was under rule of Great Britain after the war, but the bigger city with 1,8 million inhabitants and it´s function as the most important harbour in Germany always was a cosmopolitan city, with connections to the whole world and of course influenced continuously by it. Youths living in that cities much earlier got in contact with hip hop culture and the scenes had more time to evolve. No surprise that both were the epicentres of the young hip hop scene, not only with people that consumed hip hop, but own bands and gigs.

Eins Zwo from Hamburg were part of the influential local scene, their DJ Rabauke was the tour-DJ from the famous group Fettes Brot before he teamed up with Dendemann as Eins Zwo. Their first EP was released 1997 and together with their 1999 full-length debut “Gefährliches Halbwissen” both were milestones of the second wave of hip hop with lyrics in German. Most of the bands of that wave came from Hamburg and were part of the Mongo Klikke (crew), which established with their lyrics some words of the local northern slang in the whole country. The Mongo Klikke (Absolute Beginner, Samy Deluxe, Eins Zwo, Illo 77, Ferris MC, DJ Stylewarz and many many more) existed from 1997 to 2002, splitted up after they became so famous, that groups the others never had heard about before reclaimed to be part of the Mongo Klikke.

The “Discjokeys” EP is the last release from Eins Zwo, the title track is from their second full-length “Zwei”, plus two more previously unreleased tracks and one instrumental, as well as a fine remix of “discjockeys”. After the EP Eins Zwo surprisingly splitted up, MC Dendemann is releasing solo records until today, DJ Rabauke is a house DJ. On their second record the beats are more complicated, tricky, with more edges and now really perfect cuts and breaks from the DJ. They were famous for their fluently changes between cuts and raps and the lyrics set new standards in german hip hop, intelligent, eloquent and humorous. On “Rabeneltern” the second half of the former duo Tobi & Das Bo is featured, debating together with Dendemann about good beats and that the beats get more and more simple again. And sadly they were right, german hip hop rapidly collapsed and today only few acts from that golden age of hip hop remain. Today german rap is full of gangsta bullshit and the beats, the flows, the lyrics are torture.

The first hit from Tobi & Das Bo were their participation with Fettes Brot, a few years later they were part of Fünf Sterne Deluxe. Das Bo also did some solo work and his song “türlich türlich” was the first which introduced Miami Bass to german hip hop, but especially in the video (filmed at a beach in Hamburg/North-Germany, were it is cold and rainy most time of the year) he made fun of it. Another interesting music video from that “golden age” of Hamburg hip hop is the “Hand aufs Herz” single from the Eins Zwo´s debut full length (1999), in which really everybody from the Hamburg/Mongo Klikke takes part – and they´re so unbelievable young, funny to see this again after all the years.

The EP is just a little teaser, a small appetizer – more hip hop from Hamburg after the holidays, enjoy yours.

Ich bin der Chef hier und schließe zu.

(file is down, leave a comment if you wish a reup)

Hip Hop from Germany Part 1

Some people requested german (conscious) hip hop after reading the posting about Bözemann (“The Bad Man”) and the actual tendencies in german hip hop. Ok, here we go: Beginner´s last record “Blast Action Heroes” from 2003. And yeah, I can see all the guys rolling their eyes and screaming “why didn´t you take this and that group/record?” Yes, there are a lot of good and legendary records, but I decieded to choose this one. Why? Because it is one of my personal favourites and the Beginner are on the spot since 1992. In this year they released the first EP, but they still were named “Absolute Beginners” and rapped in English. A few EPs and years later they changed the name to “Absolute Beginner” (just the german translation) and started to write lyrics in german. Because of this decision 3 of 7 band members left the Beginner. 1996 first longplayer “Flashnizm” was released and the tour with live-instrumentation strengthened the Beginners reputation as an awesome live act. Two years later second record “Bambule” hit the national charts, but the Beginner – likeable as ever – never did act like super stars or rap heroes until today. On “Bambule” they shrunk to a trio, consisting of Eizi Eiz (a.k.a. Jan Delay), Denyo and DJ Mad. After a remix record in 2000, Jan Delay and Denyo started solo projects. Jan Delay a fantastic reggae band and Denyo recorded some laid-back hip hop tracks. A second record from Denyo a.k.a. Denyo 77 has been released 2005, another Jan Delay monster 2007 – now changed the sound from reggae to funk. And beside all this, Denyo took part in the Brothers Keepers project. This was formed 2001 from some afro-german artists, after a new wave of racist violence hit non-whites in Germany and NeoNazis killed several people. Nowadays the Brothers Keepers engage mainly against racism and sexism within hip hop, but fascist youth groups and racist consens is still a serious problem in some areas of Germany.

Well, soloprojects killed the Beginner? No, 2003 “Blast Action Heroes” showed in an impressive way the state of art for the german hip hop scene. The Beginner are on of the last remaining groups from the last century, their hometown Hamburg – once the Mecca of hip hop in Germany – lost this status to Berlin and gangsta rap rules the scene now. But the Beginner still drop smart lines and fresh beats, this is the opposite of dull! You are not sure if you should give this a chance? Ok, bang your head to “Fäule” or smile to the feel-god hit “Gustav Gans” – by the way: this vid is not silly, it´s a adequate answer to all this gangsta-rap bullshit. Hammerhart? Yeah “Hammerhart“!

Blast Action Heroes – leave some feedback on this record, I´m interested if this ill record also flashes without understanding the eloquent lyrics.


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