MZEE.com Advent Calendar: Door # 24 (2020)

It’s cold, it’s gray, there is still Corona. The ideal time today to cheer for our Advent calendar for the last time. In the previous 23 days we traveled back in time to the German rap past and selected the songs of the past 23 years that were most relevant to us – starting in 1997. It should of course be noted that relevance can be assessed on the basis of different points of view. Our definition of this is which artists have demonstrated innovation with their music and thus had a lasting influence on the scene.

Since you can only judge in retrospect whether an artist was formative for the whole genre, we have put together who has brought out particularly innovative and interesting music this year, who may have been a pioneer in certain aspects and who made a lasting impression on us.

Hai­y­ti

Fuck all the fake news, I’m the future of German rapeseed.
That I will never come back was a fallacy.

There is a protagonist of the scene who did her very own thing from the start, reinventing herself again and again and thus influencing various artists: Hai­y­ti. Also this year she managed to bring her special and unmistakable sound to a new level. Starting with her album “SUI SUI” in summer and now with “influencer” in winter. Her palette ranges from pop hits like “LA LA LAND”, on which she sings an unusual amount, to representatives like “sweet”, where she made it very clear how fake most rappers are. They no longer stick to 16s anyway, the flow sometimes changes every four lines and their punchlines are refreshingly creative and funny as always. Both albums were mainly from Pro­ject X produced, a collective of five producers about whom little else is known. In addition to the stylish aesthetics, you get rap as usual, which is by no means lacking in skills. The native of Hamburg didn’t announce her “comeback” for nothing.

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Ero­tik Toy Records

We’re real motherfuckers, not fictional characters.

When you think of the individual sound from this year, the first thing that comes to mind is the Bremen crew Ero­tik Toy Records in mind. Have “Hafenwind” with their label sampler Tigh­till, doubt­boy, Flo­ri­da Jui­cy, Jay Pop, Skin­nyb­lack­boy and Young Mey­er­lack this year at the latest, it has been proven how unique they make their music and everything around it. Above all with the mockumentary “Stadtmusikbande (Bremen, 1992)” they caused a stir in advance and added their very own cosmos in rap. Because Flo­ri­da Jui­cys productions are unlimited and multi-faceted – downright soaked in influences from other genres. There are simply no limits to the music. They have a lot ahead of many artists and will hopefully pave the way for more experiments and more courage to try something unusual. Your song “Ringtone” does just that well with the almost stressful video game and phone tones. This one has the soft punk attitude that ETR always resonates, and their particular voices and intonations are always on point. The question remains, of course, how many imitators will find their individual sound in the future – or whether they are predestined to remain unique.

Tor­ky Tork

I said, ‘Torky, can you make me a grime beat?’
Two minutes later it was in my mailbox.

But not only Flo­ri­da Jui­cy, but producers in general are getting more attention than ever – and rightly so. It goes without saying that it is good form to keep an eye on the producers when talking about innovation. Which brings us to our next contender. Because the beats didn’t just land at this year Galv. Regardless of whether the collaboration on the Lord Fol­ter-Album “1992day”, working with elo­quent for “mode minus” that T9-Releases with rapper colleague Doz9 or his solo project “Doposole” was – Tor­ky Tork just delivered this year. It keeps getting better and is featured on more and more important underground albums year after year. You first have to manage to create such an unmistakable sound aesthetic and still try it out. Tor­ky has achieved what makes a really good producer: You hear when a production comes from him. He gives every beat his own handwriting. It probably got its peak this year with “Hans Dampf” from T9 achieved, but in the end its diversity is decisive.

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Lugatti & 9ine

Hang in the stu ‘and I feel like in the hardware store:
Only boards everywhere and the smoke keeps getting louder.

The names Lugatti & 9ine have been read and heard everywhere since last year. Boom bap or trap listeners, young or old, old or new school – almost everyone can find something to be found in the young Cologne rappers. Because they are adaptable in the most positive sense. A little bit of street, a little bit of student swag, a little bit of party and drugs, a little bit of politics, a little bit of bad boys. That might sound negative at first, but they aren’t where they are for free. They have a lot on the box and have with their house producer Tra­ya or together with Funk­va­ter Frank created something very special for the “Tempo” EP that did not exist before. They take place in the middle of the scene and are part of the new wave of street-influenced rap that is getting so popular right now. Also on the song “Double C” OG Keemo from their new album “MKS 4.0” they skillfully show their different facets.

Play­boys­ma­fia

Original Berliner Boys, no, we’re not like you.

The Play­boys­ma­fia, consisting of the rappers Pas­h­anim and Sym­ba, dem DJ Abu­g­litsch and RB, embodies artsy street rap from the capital, which seems underground and still reaches the huge millions of clicks. Their kind of rebellion through ignorance is a bit reminiscent of Aggro Ber­lin. Even if the topics are different today and people rap about Lacoste, Louis bags and jerseys with Zinedine Zidane inscription. While Sym­ba last won again with “Battlefield Freestyle”, landed Pas­h­anim with “Airwaves” undoubtedly the summer hit 2020. The track with the 4-to-the-floor beat of stick­le is a real catchy tune. There is probably no German youth who does not know the song. Not only their music, but also the way in which they market it is modern and influences the scene. Who needs all-you-can-eat when you can also get a 3-course menu of finesse?

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Basically it should be said that Hai­y­ti, Ero­tik Toy Records, Tor­ky Tork, Lugatti & 9ine and the Play­boys­ma­fia each embody something different. Nevertheless, each of them will shape the development of German rap in their own way, as they enrich what is happening within this scene immensely. We’ll see in a few years whether one of the artists named was really the most relevant for 2020 – or maybe it was someone else entirely.

(Yas­mi­na Rossmeisl)
(Photos by Roberto Cassian, Jonas Höschl, Jerome Reichmann, Der Lars and Playboysmafia)
(Graphic by Daniel Fersch)

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