It’s difficult to write about an artist (of any kind: from the performing arts to music and everything in between) without making comparisons. But for Berlin rapper Prinz Pi, it is not so straightforward. Sure, every artist has their own style but it seems a little more difficult to put Prinz Pi in a stylistic box. It is likely better that you listen to his music and make the decision for yourself. So this month I am highlighting Prinz Pi for learning German with music!
About Friedrich Kautz
Prinz Pi was born as Friedrich Kautz in Berlin, Germany on October 23, 1979. Kautz grew up in the greater Berlin area. Later in his twenties, he studied graphic design.
In his late teens, Kautz became involved in the German hip hop scene. Adopting a wide range of pseudonyms such as Doc Murdock and Doc Mabuse, Kautz eventually settled the names Prinz Pi and Prinz Porno.
Kautz expresses his creativity in his music not just with his rhymes! He also uses his graphic design experience to create much of the artwork that accompanies his albums.
The Music of Prinz Pi
With his music, Prinz Pi has seen success. He has had three number one albums in succession: 2013’s Kompass ohne Norden, 2015’s pp=mc², and 2016’s Im Westen nix Neues. Kompass ohne Norden has been his best-selling album to date, going gold for sales exceeding more than 100,000 units. But it took him a lot of time and effort to achieve his success. 2011’s Rebell ohne Grund was his breakthrough, with the album reaching number nine in the German charts.
Where some hip hop artists use recognizable samples, big choruses or hooks, and use autotune (“artistically”), Prinz Pi is more of a minimalist, so to speak. There’s still tension, the music is dynamic and catchy. But it never feels overdone or overworked. The music is simply confident and relaxed. Generally, these tracks aren’t party anthems. There’s a social conscience. For German language learners, his delivery style is easy to follow and understand.
With track like “Das Original” (off Nichts war umsonst and featuring pop singer Mark Forster), fans of other German rappers like Casper or Marteria may particularly enjoy Prinz Pi’s music. And not just because Casper appears on “100X” on Kompass ohne Norden.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. pp=mc², released under the Prinz Porno moniker, puts the focus on street and battle rap before concluding with a 15-minute track featuring rapper Kollegah.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Wassif Hoteit courtesy of Landstreicher Booking. This post contains affiliate links.