In 2013, Lakmann, member of the famous rap crew Creutzfeld&Jakob, started a new collective with his peers Kareem and Mess called Witten Untouchable.
The city plays a central role in their art. All members were born and raised in this city. The cover of their first studio album It was Witten (2013) includes a large picture of an abandoned house in the center and the municipal court of arms on the upper right-hand side. They recorded the album together with producer Rooq who describes their musical style in an interview as gloomy and gothic:
Album Cover: It was Witten (2013). Photo Credit: Facebook/wittenuntouchable.
Likewise, Witten Untouchable address the city in their music videos. In “Falsche Welt” (Wrong World), they are cruising through the streets of Witten and use city’s sights and neighborhoods as a backdrop of their clip. They hang out at a basketball court and celebrate the spirit of their hood:
Lakmann explains his position and the meaning of the Ruhr Area in an interview with journalist Visa Vie:
… [the collaboration with Sido was] the biggest factor which led to a [popularity] bubble. And I think, because we or I, Untouchable or Creutzfeld or Lakmann constantly were on performing at jams in the Ruhr Area or even in the whole country… that we have established a tiny underground base. Which kept the little flame alive. That you are not entirely outside of media attention, but that you get only the smallest amount of attention [but this is already enough]. But when you get together and focus all your power, and I do not want to say it was the right time, but with an unexpected bubble like this […], you, as a rapper, introduce a new game into the rap game.
Lakmann’s interview demonstrates that rap music from Witten has quite a big underground fanbase in the Ruhr Area and in the German rap music community. Lakmann, Witten Untouchable and the Bunkerwelt created nodes in the history of rap music in Witten which has its peak in the early 2000s. At that time, rappers from Witten collaborated with other German rap starts, such as Kool Savas, Till Grönemeyer, and Sido.
The group also thematizes the rise and fall of the German Hip Hop scene and the increasing commercialization of rap music. “Falsche Welt,” one of their first single relaeses, addresses the corrupt and selfish world. In the first lines, Lakmann disses Cro, a German-speaking rapper who is famous for publicly wearing a panda mask and inventing a new genre raop, a mixture between pop and rap:
I’m holding on and thinking, did something change? Free fall without a parachute and almost done. Indeed my world reflects almost the same. I attract attention without masks and helmets. Is this progress? Clowns instead of witty punch lines? Since when is a panda bear ‘effin sick? Do you really know what it means to be aware? When you’re recording and just wastin’ time? Which scene is down and supports?
Those lines show Lakmann’s skills as a battle rapper. His rapping style is expressed through its content and his technique. Battle lines, rhyme chains, and his forward lyrics are three essential elements of his music. His intention and focus lies on the message of a song itself. Listeners have to listen closely in order to get the meaning of a song.
Witten Untouchable’s style of rapping is very clean, precise, and they want to stay to stay “true” to themselves.Their music is reminiscient of the beginnings of German rap of the 1990s: No gangster rap or overrated I-am-the-best-rapper-with-double-rhymes fuss. Producer Rooq explains the style of the crew:
The constant development which you experience from jam session to jam session, not just in this regard, but simply the moment you’re standing on that stage and you’re rapping, at this moment you are getting better with every single performance. You do not only get better, but when you go home and you have all these impressions […] even when you work in a team. Each one of us has his own struggle […] but when you are together with his group of people, it is like you immerse yourself into a second family. You know everything from each person. And you can totally live this rapper thing. For a short time you’re totally in this mode. And when you go home, you take so much inspiration with you! Whenever Mess, Laki, and I were in the studio, […] when we recorded together, we pushed each other. A really healthy competition. It makes us thrive us to our maximum. And this is really – a development from all parties involved […] if you create something as good as this.
In the successful years 2013 and 2014, the band performed at various festivals, such as Splash! Festival. Today they still perform rap at concerts, as in the beginning of 2015 in Duisburg. They try to keep their music ‘real,’ which is why they are so well known in the Hip Hop scene and are so highly regarded as good musicians and rappers by their fans. This is probably one of the reasony why Lakmann was invited to perfom in Sido’s song “30-11-80″ which included 18 famous rappers from all over Germany. Enjoy!
Good news for all fans and admirers of Witten rap music: it has been quiet around the Hip Hop crew for too long, but on June 19th 2016 Rooq announced via Twitter that the second album is just around the corner:
“Untouchable II will be fuckin’ sick!”
We can all have high expectations and we will be looking forward to the release date!
More information on Witten Untouchable: