If you are still looking for more German language rap after last month’s German music recommendation of Casper, you are in luck! German rappers KIZ are a personal favorite of mine and they are not shy about making a statement — whether it be in their lyrics, in their music videos or their live performances. Despite the controversy (or because of it), KIZ is quite popular and it’s easy to see why. Let’s get to know the Berlin rap crew KIZ for this month’s German music recommendation!
Founded in 2000, KIZ is friends Maxim Drüner, Tarek Ebéné, Nico Seyfrid, and DJ Craft. It can be easy to just take KIZ at face value as somewhat outrageous and, for some, distasteful. But a closer listen reveals far more. KIZ offers smart black humor, plenty of clever satire, and lots of commentaries. They regularly take aim at politics, society, and current events. But they have plenty of songs “just for fun,” too.
To further make their point, members Maxim and Nico are even involved with Die Partei. For those unfamiliar, Die Partei is an actual German political party led by satirist Martin Sonneborn. The party is known for its outlandish stunts, such as calling for rebuilding the Berlin Wall, to bring attention to politics. The pair have run for political office in Berlin on the party’s ticket.
In February of 2018, KIZ and DJ Craft announced they had parted ways.
KIZ’s Provocative and Political Hip Hop
The group’s most recent full-length release is 2015’s Hurra die Welt geht unter. The album saw the critically acclaimed record go to number one in Germany and Switzerland as well as number four in Austria. And with good reason. The album’s memorable and thoughtful title track features a collaboration with the uniquely talented Henning May of previously featured German band AnnenMayKantereit. On the song, the group imagines a post-apocalyptic society where people share and show each other love. (A mind-boggling, isn’t it?) Elsewhere on the album, the group addresses the continent’s refugee and migrant crisis, capitalism, and masculinity, among other topics.
Hurra die Welt geht unter is the group’s fifth full-length release. The group released their debut album, Das RapDeutschlandKettensägenMassaker, in 2005 before following it up two years later with Hahnenkampf. Their sophomore release climbed onto the German music charts. Since then, KIZ has continued to gain momentum. In 2009 and 2011, the group released Sexismus gegen Rechts and Urlaub fürs Gehirn. Additionally, they have released a few mixtapes, including 2013’s Ganz oben.
But the band knows how to provoke whether it be from their logo featuring stylized genitals to their 2013 track “Ich bin Adolf Hitler” from their mixtape Ganz oben. The video for the satirical track features Jewish German comedian Oliver Polak as an over-the-hill, overweight version of the former dictator. In KIZ’s world, he’s struggling to come to terms with a modern, integrated and cosmopolitan Germany.
While hip hop can be heavy on masculinity, KIZ doesn’t fall into the stereotypes. The group annually celebrates International Women’s Day with a concert only for women. At the shows, the group performs in full drag. It’s a move that you wouldn’t see many groups make and applause to them!
Listen to KIZ
Don’t be fooled by KIZ’s sometimes raunchy and graphic lyrics. A real listen to their music makes it easy to appreciate their cleverness. Take a listen and decide for yourself with “Hurra die Welt geht unter,” “Boom boom boom” and “Ich bin Adolf Hitler.”
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo from the band’s Facebook page. This post contains affiliate links.