Sexism in German rap: So far it has mostly been about misogynistic lines of text. However, after allegations of rape against a well-known rapper, the view is broadened. Does the scene have a much bigger problem?
The rapper clichés are clear: Big cars, big pants, tough guys – and often misogynistic texts. Criticism and discussions about rap lines, the contents of which range from insults to rape fantasies, have been going on for years.
While one side criticized linguistic misogyny and the glorification of violence, the other said: rappers are fictional characters, verbal border crossings are part of it. But now, to a large extent, it is no longer just about rapped lines, but about concrete descriptions of sexualized violence and harassment in the scene.
The initiators of the Instagram page deutschrapmetoo claim to receive messages every day that deal with such allegations. “Overall, of course, it is very depressing. Sometimes you don’t even know what to say because what happened to those affected is so terrible and terrible, ”two of them told the German Press Agency in an interview.
You want to remain anonymous – and help. They referred those affected to advice centers or the possibility of psychological counseling. ‘Above all, the dimension is bad and that these structures are just so normal that so many incidents happen everywhere.’ In the long term, they also want to make the names of artists public against whom allegations are made.
The German rap scene has had its own #MeToo topic for a few weeks now. The trigger for the debate to be so big are allegations of rape against the rapper Samra, which he publicly rejects. ‘I have not raped anyone, neither the person who accused me of it, nor other people,’ said Samra in mid-June via Instagram. The influencer Nika Irani had previously made serious allegations against him. Whether these come true or not is unclear, but they spark a debate.
As a result, many users describe their experiences on social media. Some on their own accounts, others contact deutschrapmetoo. The hashtag is trending. So far, more than 200 descriptions have been received, says one of the initiators. Some of them make it public anonymously, with a warning about the content. It’s about situations at concerts and parties, in tour buses, backstage areas and hotel rooms. Above all, it is also about descriptions of sexual harassment, coercion and rape.
There are also clear requests to speak from the scene itself. «In the last twelve years in the rap world, I have heard of so many cases of sexual violence against women and girls, experienced them myself or experienced firsthand that it would take months to count all the experiences or to reconstruct them in their terrible details, ”writes hip-hop journalist Visa Vie on Instagram. Most of those affected remain silent because they see a guilt in their own behavior, but also because the perpetrators are protected by those around them. ‘For a large part of this scene that has been an absolutely natural part of touring and rapper life for the last 20 years.’
Germany’s currently most successful rapper, Shirin David, also expresses herself in an Instagram story and is then attacked herself. She criticizes, among other things, how quickly people repeatedly try to discredit those affected and holds the scene responsible. Visa Vie and the initiators of deutschrapmetoo also demand an honest discussion of these problems. The music industry is also responsible. “Record companies shouldn’t let musicians get away with lyrics that romanticize rape. You should have a moral compass because you know that the audience is 13 to 18 years old, ”say the initiators.
The Federal Association of the Music Industry declares in a statement that the current debate is being taken “very seriously”. ‘It is about very far-reaching allegations, which in principle cannot be assigned to our industry or individual branches of the economy or certain genres,’ it says. ‘It goes without saying, however, that we have to take responsibility and act accordingly at the crucial points, which we believe is what happens.’
The fact that many rappers have a history of migration and come from less affluent parts of society often makes them a popular enemy. Among other things, the #MeToo revelations in the film industry, the descriptions of young politicians about experiences of sexism in ‘Zeit Campus’ and the sheer number of cases show that it is a general problem for society.
This is what the initiators of deutschrapmetoo also say. Of course, there is sometimes an image of masculinity in the scene that urgently needs to be questioned and changed, they say. “It’s not just like that in music. The German rap is an exaggerated reflection of our society. ‘ There has to be a long-term discussion about it.
In the end, the realization remains: the German rap scene, like many other areas of society, has to deal with dangerously exaggerated macho behavior (keyword: toxic masculinity) and the consequences.