Social Icons


Monday, February 08, 2010

...and now a few words about German Rap #1

Hi, I know many of you don't know or care about German-language rap, but I do. And sometimes I want to write about it. Without proper context or introductions or explanations, it might be a little tough to follow it all. However, I'll try to throw in some wikipedia links. If you do listen to/are interested in German-language rap, then here's a chance to read some of my opinions. - Raven

(Keeping in mind that I have no kind of statistics to back this up) But I think that Fettes Brot (the German hip-hop trio) is probably the most overall dissed group in the German rap scene. Notice I used the qualifier "group" because the most dissed individual would probably be Eko Fresh (sorry, Frosty?)-- because, really, that dude has stepped on A LOT of toes in (comparatively) short amount of time.

You could maybe make the same case with Die Fantastischen Vier , but it's hard to diss bajillionaires. I mean, ok, it's actually really easy to diss bajillionaires, just hard to hurt their feelings. Plus, if you succeed, they'll just wipe away their tears with tissues made of platinum and blow their noses in a stack of 500€ bills. The Fantas have managed to somehow transcend all of this petty behavior...cuz they're rich, biatch!

But back to what I was saying...Fettes Brot, so many disses...and go.

The guys from Fettes Brot probably aren't hurting either. They have a solid fanbase and have been releasing music consistently and without stuff like street albums or mixtapes (as far as I know). They've been around for almost 20 years and still -- every once and a while -- I'll hear some kind of anti-Fettes Brot line in some song. During the Great Hamburg Hip-Hop Backlash (circa 2003 and beyond), I would venture to say that the Brots (yes, I know that isn't the plural of Brot) took the brunt of the blows. That's just in my opnion. The whole Hamburg scene kinda got shat upon...but not as badly (again, my opinion).

Still, none of that even stopped or slowed them down. In a genre (rap overall & German rap, in particular) where mainstream-ish success is very much the exception rather than the rule, these guys have faired better than most. Did I mention they've been around for damn near twenty years?

This is why I was surprised to see this update of the song "Jein" (a portmanteau of the German words for "yes" and "no") posted on Twitter.

Granted, the only changes are the up tempo beat & the the actual update of the year (the original song can be seen at the top of the post). Nevertheless, it left a very bad taste in my mouth. It sounds like the Linkin Park Jein Remix. Not that I'm against Linkin Park (any more?) and I wouldn't call myself a huge Fettes Brot fan, but this is a song that I consider a classic. When the first few bars of "Jein" start to play, there's such a feeling of recognition. I feel like if I'm at a party and that song starts to play, if everyone there *doesn't* start singing along -- then FUCK those people and FUCK that party! The only valid excuse is that you can't speak German. "Jein" exists in the world of 1996. It's like how Conan O'Brien kept talking about things that would happen "In the Year 2000" far into the mid-2000s. And why would you want to speed this song up? There's no concievable reason for that. It's not that kind of song.

Also...what's with the giant floating head at the beginning of that video?! Reminds me of Zordon in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Not to mention that the whole futuristic cowboy thing only reminds me of the movie Space Cowboys (not to mention the N*Sync song "Space Cowboys" -- for some strange reason -- as well as the MTV Movie Movie Awards spoof "Armagedd'nsync")

When somebody like Vanilla Ice makes an update of a song (see nu-metal version of "Ice Ice Baby"). It makes sense. It's the sign of a person grasping for relevance. It's gimmicky beyond words and smacks of desperation. I was pissed when Die Firma remade their song "Die Eine" (The One) -- with it's schmalzy sampling of Canon in D, a song I can't stand ever since the time I had to play it in a piano recital -- it was better than "Die Eine 2005" and it's electronic synthesizer bullshit going on in the background.

Probably most of my annoyance stems from the fact that I integrated the opening bars of the original "Jein" into the intro of my part of our upcoming radio show (this Friday!).

Summed up: This new version is neither good, nor necessary. I'd probably let it slide if it were one or the other...but it's just not.


Mofo from do said...

I like the French sub title on the movie poster of Les Cowboys du Space!

The Beech said...

And I'd liek to disagree. While this isn't the best remix, it just reminds me of their way to perform songs on stage, using different beats, and I love this about these guys. Example?

Nordisch by Nature, original:

Nordich by Nature, Ghostbusters remix:

Piss poor sounds quality, but you get the point I guess.

I think what makes the Beasties, Fantas, and the "Brote" stick around longer than others is their "we don't give a fuck what others think" attitude. Such things brought us Fatboy Slim remixes, "The Mix Up", F4 unplugged, and other, maybe not so great stuff like this particular stuff. But still, if they stop doing that it would be a loss to HipHop.

lebrookski said...

@The Beech:

I don't think our opinions differ all *that* much, actually and I'm totally in agreement with the last part you wrote. The best quality about all the bands that you mentioned is that they're always trying out different things/different sounds.

Also there are lots of artists who perform songs using other songs/beats/instrumentals. I don't have a problem with that.

The reason I brought up the reactions to Fettes Brot is because I've always admired the way that they just kept doing their thing and even sort of turned the insults against them into kind of positive things.

Still, for some reason the "Jein" thing just doesn't sit well with me. I'm not at all anti-remix or even necessarily anti-live tracks/albums or showing concert footage as a music video, etc. I think there are ways where it can be pulled off well..and ways where the execution is done it a really shitty manner.

The F4 Unplugged album was, for its time, a really innovative thing. I mean they had already put out the Live & direkt album before that. But the Unplugged thing was a first (and only?) for the German rap scene.

I don't see the point of re-releasing the update/remix as a single (it's not like it's the 10 year anniversary of "Jein" or anything).

I guess I just think that they are a group that doesn't *need* to do something like this. They aren't irrelevant.

Biancadonk said...

Remember when I came back from Italy and mentioned them to you? what song was that?! I can't remember it and it's driving me crazy right now!

lebrookski said...


wait, i think you're thinking of deichkind (they have actually kind of reinvented themselves in the last few years)...

but i'm pretty sure you're thinking of this song:

"bon voyage"

otherwise, you're thinking of this fettes brot song that was out at the same time:

"da draussen"

i think we discussed both at some point way back when.

The Beech said...


Why now, why a single? Maybe It's in the contract? Maybe they felt like starting "The Remixes" single series, which will end in a complete box made out of metal that actually looks like a fish? Who knows.

But as I do enjoy Jigga and LP, I do not find this remix to be that horrible, which of course leads me to ignoring the question of the why and being just happy that there are people who do not make their fake career in to en effed up movie. ;)

lebrookski said...

oh, so i guess you won't be seein "silberfische in meinem bett - der film" (coming soon to a theater near you!) ;-)