Can a genre of music in which female protagonists announce themselves with the words, “Now the pussies are back” really be feminist? In my view: of course. Perhaps even more so because they know how misogyny feels. An example of feminism in German rap is this year’s petition #MuteRKelly. Representatives of the local hip-hop scene demanded the cancellation of the German concerts of R. Kelly as a result of accusations of pedophilia and assault. One of the dissenting organizers argued for the separation of art and the artist’s private life, with R. Kelly’s musical legacy enough to warrant a platform in the form of a concert. To support his argument, he highlighted the playlists of petition organizers, which actually feature artists whose own music would be contradictory for someone out of the scene. Although I approve removing R. Kelly’s platform, the organizer’s argument still makes sense to me. As I myself do not have a self-satisfying answer for this, how I can be at peace with my self-perception as a feminist, after having sang along last weekend to “bring your old lady to a concert, and afterwards get blown in the passenger seat.”
Meanwhile, R. Kelly is now on trial in the USA, the concerts have been canceled–but the question for me still remains: how can I be against violence and assault against women but at the same time enjoy German rap with misogynistic content? Granted–my career is already a paradox. My CV features theological studies. I have a degree in Gender Studies whilst simultaneously having created “porno-rap.” I have always used explicit lyrics as a sarcastic element to highlight the sexism in rap without pointing fingers–just as, in my view, Sookee does. SXTN perfected this metaphor with her track “Hass Frau.” An excerpt of Alice Schwarzer, as she reads King Orgasmus One lyrics, is used a the hook and is now legendary. Unfortunately, few have understood this sarcasm, perhaps I executed this poorly though.
In the course of my research for this post, I happened to stumble upon an article on International Women’s Day: the top 5 most misogynistic German rap songs. Conclusion: from minute one I sang along with the text, just like all trashy songs.
Am I a low-brow party-rap follower?
Unfortunately, it is just not that easy. I am occupied with rap a lot. I can already differentiate a good flow from a bad one. Dope rhymes to Haus-Maus rap. And I already have a clear opinion on who is actually credible and when a rapper produces pop shit. “You have to blow me while I’m on the toilet and shitting,” is one of my favorites from Mark Forster.
Do I just like the nice melodies and the amusing rhymes?
Maybe it’s just that?! I obviously place a lot of value on technique: the rhymes, the beats, the melodies, specific sound effects–but why does it always have to be so vulgar? How am I the first to nearly throw up from Savas’ new album? I’m listening to Porno Party 2 at the moment from Frauenarzt and Mr. Long. No, nice melodies and good rhymes–I can definitely exclude those as the origins of my love for explicit rap.
Do I just want to be part of a subculture?
Even if some songs and rappers become mainstream in the meantime, German rap remains a subculture. Now, I’m not a teenager anymore, I nevertheless enjoy being part of this unconventional scene. But this argument alone is not the drawcard–I could also be part of the punk scene, as my political values are a lot more closely aligned. Even so, if we are to be honest: celebrating German rap only because it’s underground would be extremely lame.
Am I a masochist?
Why do women stay with partners, who do not treat them well? Why do I stay loyal to a music genre that disparages my gender? There is probably some deep-seated psychological reason for this.
Again and again I see women on discussion panels, who fight back against the victim role and think that women should not make such a fuss. So they deny the existence–or at the very least, the relevance–of sexual harassment, mansplaining, the gender wage gap and sexism both in the street and workplace. For me that is an absolute no-go. But in German rap there is a missed connection. Perhaps I have it too–an inferiority complex resulting from the normalized masculinity of the Western patriarchy.
Is German rap my form of emancipation?
Of course, I like this explanation the most, even if it undermines my position. However, German rap sustains my feminist fighting spirit. And you can even see it in the scene: what has long been a trend in US rap, has finally arrived in Germany. Women like Nura and Juju (formerly SXTN), Loredana, Haiyti or Eunique are currently taking their place at the top of the male-dominated German rap scene and show how important it is that women don’t lose their passion in the face of sexist lines from their male role models (because it was rarely ever from women). With that there is an unspoken law that women in rap don’t bring each other down but instead support each other. For example, that is why Nura uses Katja Krasavice in a music video rather than diss her. All in all, they are probably not 100% politically correct, but they show it quite clearly–anti-social rap works without misogyny! And I can at the very least sing along with these artists without a guilty conscience.
By the way: There is also real, feminist rap – and that comes from KlitClique.
Author: Lea Thin