If you follow German music, hip hop or just culture, then you’re likely already familiar with Sido. He was, or depending on your point of view still is, a gangsta rapper with songs about Berlin’s seedy underside of drugs, sex and money. But he’s also a pop favorite with some catchy hooks that have wide appeal and can be emotional or silly. He’s also an actor. And, of course, he isn’t without controversy. So this month, let’s get to know Sido, one of Germany’s best known rappers, and learn German with music.
About Paul Würdig, aka Sido
Sido is, of course just a pseudonym. He was born Paul Würdig in East Berlin on November 30, 1980. In the late 1980s, during his childhood, the family moved to West Berlin. He later immortalized the neighborhood he grew up in, Märkische Viertel, in song on the track “Mein Block.”
The Music of Sido
In 2004, Sido released Maske, his debut record. The album’s title is at least partially a reference to the silver skull mask the rapper was wearing at the time. It’s a style choice that has since been adopted by Cro. The younger rapper still wears a panda mask.
Since the release of Maske, Sido has released six further solo albums as well as collaboration, compilations, live albums and more. But seemingly regardless of the medium or arrangement, his releases seem to head up the music charts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The commercial success comes despite sometimes mixed reviews from critics.
Like so many others, he isn’t without controversy. He’s been known to insult other rappers and musicians, argue about politics and racism, and be fined for legal issues and fights.
Hip hop music is full of musical collaborations. Sido is no different. The rapper has worked with, among others, rappers like Bushido, K.I.Z., Marteria, Kool Savas and even pop singers like Mark Forster. If you’re interested in hip hop, you’re likely to find some collab that appeals to you.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo by Murat Aslan for Universal Music. This post contains affiliate links.