Krauts with Attitude was released in 1991 under the Bombastic label. The album was compiled by DJs Michael Reinboth and Katmando. It featured 15 different acts; three rapped in German, eleven in English, and one in French. This release was the first compilation of German hip-hop, and essentially helped create a hip-hop scene in Germany.
The album was controversial for its language and disrespect towards authority. The title of the album refers to Niggaz with Attitude
(N.W.A.), a hip-hop group from California
, and the word "kraut
," which is derogatory slang for German people. N.W.A. is widely considered a seminal gangsta rap group. Their lyrics are controversial, and Krauts with Attitude provided an German counterpart to the American rap scene. The Krauts record was influential to future German artists who wanted to make it in German hip-hop.
The comparisons between the Krauts and other artists in the U.S. had many parallels. "Although the title "Krauts with Attitude" is a clear allusion to an American West Coast role-model, Niggaz with Attitude, the liner notes express German rappers' desire to distance themselves from the implied tyranny of African-American [End Page 56] musical forefathers (or a faceless music industry that demands racial authenticity). If Niggaz with Attitude was the revolt of a repressed minority against a white establishment, then Krauts with Attitude positions the "Krauts" (a derogatory term that typically refers to German soldiers, in particular) as the repressed but newly defiant victim. The notion that German hip hop is occupied and controlled by a Black hip hop establishment recalls the occupation of Germany by black American soldiers after the second world war."
The album cover was designed in the colors of the nation’s flag (black, red, and gold), a move that was mimicked by the Turkish hip hop group Cartel. The group supported this underlying nationalism with the linernotes reading “Now is the time to oppose somehow the self confidence
of the English and the American.”
The CD says: 'Now is the time to oppose somehow the self confidence of the English and the American.' Consequently, Krauts with Attitude became the starting point of a national music genre and furthermore contributed in creating 'an adopted musical style that became grafted onto a national identity, which de facto locked out many of its participants.' Their 1991 compilation of German Hip-Hop
was seen as a nationalistic movement excluding the Turkish community and the immigrants of Germany. From the ethnic minorities' point of view, the rise of German Hip-Hop was chauvinistic and exclusive. Hence, as a reaction to the CD and to German hip-hop
in general, Oriental hip-hop
emerged with the primary purpose of forming an ethnic resistance against the dominant society and as a way to create a new Turkish identity. In 1991, the first rap vinyl in the Turkish language 'Bir Yabancimin Hayati' ('The Life of the Stranger') is released by the Nuremberg crew King Size Terror. Then, 'as a [final] reaction to the hip hop nationalization the group Cartel tried to gather up the excluded parts of the hip hop community under the banner of an artificially constructed ethnic minority which was supposedly 'Turkish'.
Krauts with Attitude marked the starting point
of a national music genre; the original phase `hip hop in Germany` changed to '100 per cent German hip-hop' to 'Deutscher Hip-Hop', a German term. After a success of Fantastichen 4
, terms such as Neuer Deutscher Sprechgesang
(new German recitative) and Neue Deutsche Reimkultur
(new German poetry) started to be used. Hip-hop, an adopted music from the United States
, became grafted on a national identity, which, due to differences, did lock out many of its participants. The nationalist move was problem for the young immigrants
, mainly because hip hop had special attraction to them. Neuer Deutscher Sprechgesang
(new German recitative) meant 1) hip hop has become solely a style of music 2) German became the only criterion of defining the word, due to the absence of other specific music characteristics in hip hop 3) Rapping in German language became ationalistic when it was markted in national opposition to Anglo-saxon and Afro-American cultural imperialism. 4) groups, who marketed such, did not know what to with the verse, mainly because they were not aware of the fact that they "participated in a national tradition of Germans who in imitating exotic cultures, no matter how perfectly, reduce them to carnival". (Elflein, Dietmar. "From Krauts with Attitude to Turks with Attitudes: Some Aspects of Hip Hop History in Germany." Popular Music 17 (1998): 255-265. JStor. Brandeis University Library, Waltham. 28 Mar. 2008.) The groups' aim simply and only became commercial success. 5) With such a commercial practice, the structure of rhyming in rap became reduced to a stress on end-rhythm.
The adoption of African American culture could not be classified as a meaningful act of resistance for Turkish Germans. In order to do so, they had to speak their situation in German and had to respond to the specific needs as a group caught up between Turky and Germany. This led them to reflect the ambiguities of life in diaspora, leading to the rise of "Oriental hip hop
- Discogs - http://www.discogs.com/release/762249
Brown, Timothy S. “‘Keeping it Real’ in a Different ‘Hood: (African-) Americanization and Hip-hop in Germany.” In The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. by Dipannita Basu and Sidney J. Lemelle, 137-50. London.