While German hip-hop as a musical movement didn't fully kick in until the early '90s technically the history of German rap dates back to 1980 when GLS United (three popular TV announcers) recorded and released the novelty single "Rappers Deutsch" - their German language reinterpretation of the Sugarhill Gang's worldwide hit single "Rapper's Delight." As a real culture, however, it wasn't until a few years later, with the European release of such hip-hop films as Beat Street and Wild Style, that the four elements of hip-hop culture were formally introduced to Germans. And it was the influence of these films that began the European country's longtime close association with graffiti and b-boying - something that continues to this day.
As the eighties progressed, German artists began recording hip-hop but the first wave of German hip-hop artists tended to emulate the American hip-hop artists that they heard and consequently rapped in English. Die Fantastischen Vier (the Fantastic Four) modeled themselves after their American rap heroes. At first they rapped in English but by the early nineties, when they achieved mainstream German success, they had adapted their native tongue following the lead of Advanced Chemistry who pioneered the way by not rapping in English, but in German. Advanced Chemistry's politicized German language 1992 single "Fremd in eigenem Land" (Foreign in Your Own Country) was a turning point for German hip-hop.
Over the years German hip-hop has gone through many phases from conscious to hardcore gangsta with the gangsta phase as predominant force overriding all. Like graffiti and b-boying, turntablism has also steadily remained extremely popular (albeit on a more underground level) in Germany. Rappers or MCs represent the most prominent element of German hip-hop and are made up of Caucasian, African, and Turkish.
By the early '90s, Turkish-German, the country's largest minority, became a powerful voice in German hip-hop. German-Turkish rap essentially came into being in the 1990's as a direct correlation with the rise of anti-immigrant feelings in Germany and violent attacks upon Turkish immigrants in the country. Hip-hop quickly became a voice for this marginalized sector of German society and consequently the number of Turkish-German rappers has multiplied vastly. Examples today include groups like the Turkish-German duo Ferman, comprised of emcees AC.Black & Azrail, who avoid gangsta / hardcore content unlike the stereotypical Turkish rapper. Ferman will be guests on today's WFMU remote from Dusseldorf. Other guests on today's German remote will include German MC Micsness, acoustic hip-hop duo Punk In Uniform, funk band Don Cabron, and US/German collective Community Education's DJ Goersch (interviewed above), Mo'Czar (MC/beats) & Dusky Diana (vocals).