Diversität feiern: DiverCity

[English version here]

HipHop-Kultur wird oft als aus vier Elementen bestehend beschrieben und wahrgenommen: MCing [Rapping], DJing, Breakdancing und Graffiti. Jedes Element steht für sich selbst und die meisten Akteure legen ihren Fokus auf eine der Disziplinen: Das gesprochene Wort, die Musik, der Tanz oder das geschriebene Wort. Die Maxime ist jedoch bei jedem Element dieselbe: Style und Skill. Angehende MCs, DJs, Writer und Breaker entwickeln im Laufe der Zeit ihre eigene individuelle Art zu Rappen, Musik zu machen, zu tanzen oder malen. „Realness“ und Authentizität sind die Schlüsselworte. „Biting“ und „Faking“ – das Imitieren anderer Stile anstatt eigene zu entwickeln – werden generell als schwach angesehen und sind verpönt. In diesem Kontext präsentiert sich HipHop als eine Kultur, die aktiv Vielfalt unterstützt und Individualität belohnt, wenn sie mit entsprechenden Skills untermauert ist. Die Akteure werden ermutigt, so gut wie nur möglich „ihr eigenes Ding zu machen“, sich selbst zu präsentieren und Anerkennung zu erhalten, während gleichzeitig auch die Werke und Leistumgen anderer respektvoll anerkannt werden.

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Rap Up: Hangout mit Meller

[English version here]

Wer sich mit Bochumer HipHop-Kultur im Allgemeinen und Rapmusik im Speziellen beschäftigt, wird früher oder später zwangsläufig auf einen Namen stoßen – Meller. Der Bochumer Rapper, der mit bürgerlichem Namen Manuel Meller heißt, begann Mitte der 1990er mit Graffiti und fokussierte sich etwas später auf Rap. Seitdem veröffentlich Meller in regelmäßiger Unregelmäßigkeit seine Musik: Sein Album To The Bone wurde im Dezember 2009 vom Magazin Juice zum Indie-Album des Monats gekührt, weitere Kollaborationen mit anderen Rappern folgten und seine kürzlich erschienene Vinyl-LP Meller On Wax Vol. 1 ist bereits restlos vergriffen. Doch auch ohne Mikrofon in der Hand ist Meller umtriebig: Er begründete mit dem Schuster’s Corner und der Superior Session zwei wichtige Szenetreffpunkte in der Stadt und organisiert heute Workshops für Kinder und Jugendliche, um sie mit HipHop in Berührung zu bringen. Als langjähriger Akteur der Szene ist er meistens involviert, wenn es um HipHop in Bochum geht. Im Rahmen der Superior Session hatte die Bochumer Projektgruppe die Möglichkeit, mit Meller die Ergebnisse des Forschungsprojekts zu reflektieren und den Status Quo von HipHop-Kultur und Rapmusik in Bochum zu besprechen.

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Marl: There is No Space for Hip Hop

Marl is a city in the north of the Ruhr Area and with about 85,000 inhabitants it belongs to the smaller cities. It was our aim to examine whether there exists a Hip Hop culture in Marl and how significant it is for adults and young people. Therefore we interviewed the rapper FATe. He provided us with an overview over his development as a rapper and over the local Hip Hop scene which does not exist anymore as we found out later.

FateFATe. Foto: Facebook.

FATe explains:

A real scene existed in former times. Neighborhoods rapped against each other, for example Marl-Hamm against Marl-Mitte. Today there are just a few rappers.

In Marl-Hamm and Marl-Mitte existed competing gangs, who tried to profile themselves in their lyrics and provoke or battle against other neigbhorhoods. This kind of behavior is not unusual for the Hip Hop scene in Germany. Just remember the conflict between the rappers Bushido and Kay One in 2013 when both of them rapped against each other in their songs.

Although there is no active scene anymore, how FATe says, there are MCs in Marl who try to provoke a conflict against FATe. He explains this as a kind of resentment of these MCs. However, it happens quite rarely, that these conflicts lead to a real battle. An important issue that the rapper mentions very often is that conflicts ended violent in former times. This led to a lot of battles between these gangs. Violence, drugs, and crime characterize FATe’s lyrics, in which he criticizes today’s society and his environment.

My Message is that people should start to live their life on their own and do not let other people decide it. They should stop to hold on to values that do not fit to them. But predominantly my message is that I am upset about society.

The MC shows us that self-determination and self-empowerment is quite important and that people should achieve their own goals whatever other people try to dictate them. His reference to wrong values refers to that people should be free to develop themselves as a person, without the influence of standards and mores by parents, gangs or institutions. It is also possible, that he hints at the values of the Hip Hop scene. Crime and violence is considered as a positive action. Especially young people are getting influenced by this behaviour to belong to a gang. FATe demands that young people should do their own things and whatever they like without getting influenced by other people or values. With this attitude his rap belongs to the conscious rap tradition because his contents are socio-critical. This kind of music is the opposite of aggressive gangster rap or battle rap with whom FATe does not really identify.

Meeting spots for Hip Hop parties or concerts do not exist in Marl. Instead, the Hip Hop culture takes place in the underground. This could be a reason for the aggressiveness and violence in the city, because there are no possibilities for publicly performing rap music and Hip Hop culture. Especially the inhabitants of Marl oppress this music genre since they have a negative stereotypical opinion about rap and Hip Hop. They associate the genre with its criminal past which leads to this stereotypical thinking. But the lack of opportunities to live out Hip Hop as a whole culture leads to this condition. Moreover, FATe does not like that rap music is not on a level with other music genres, “because it always looks like that Hip Hop is for ghetto kids.”

Another problem in Marl is the resentment and mud-slinging of other MCs and DJs. FATe told us, that talents do not get any support in Marl. But this support for talents would be the best for the city. The talents get the opportunity for support and show that the city has got the acceptance for Hip Hop and its artists.

In summary we can say that Marl is coined by a criminal Hip Hop scene, which does not exist anymore. The Hip Hop culture tends to be oppressed, because the Marler residents  often connect this culture with violence and crime. They have huge prejudices, but they do not have the chance to be convinced by the opposite because Hip Hop  does not exist in public spaces anymore. Furthermore there is hardly any to no support for talents in youth centers anymore. Although FATe’s hometown is Marl, he never gave a concert in this city. Instead he has got gigs in Gladbeck (Kulturhaus), Essen (Kulturzentrum) and Duisburg (Rap am Mittwoch). Hip Hop is more important in these cities because of the acceptance of the culture and the opportunities to live their passion with other artists.

It is difficult to consider the results of our interview as representative, as he is not the only rapper in Marl, but all the other rappers in Marl refused an interview with us. However, we believe that we have found a meaningful and reflecting artist, who explained his point of view from the old and new perspective of the Hip Hop generation in Marl.

Das Gruppenprojekt: Eine HipHop-Landkarte von Duisburg

Während unseres Seminars Mapping Hip Hop Culture in the Ruhr Area fuhr unsere Gruppe einige Male in die Stadt Duisburg. Diese befindet sich im Westen des Ruhrgebiets und ist als ein bedeutender Industriestandort bekannt. Während unserer Besuche sprachen wir mit Involvierten der Hip Hop Szene, wie beispielsweise Erziehern und Sozialarbeitern als auch mit einem Ladenbesitzer. Duisburg-Hochfeld stach bei der Recherche als Hauptlokation der Szene heraus. Der Stadtteil weist einen hohen Immigranten- und Armutsanteil auf und zeigt Spuren der Deindustrialisierung. Vielleicht gerade wegen begrenzter Mittel fanden wir hier besonders viel Potential junger Menschen.

Der Erzieher und Rapper Tomek gab uns einen Einblick in seine Arbeit, seine Methoden und Prinzipien des Projekts „Multikulti“. Jene bestätigte der Sozialarbeiter Tony, der seit geraumer Zeit mit Jugendlichen in Duisburg-Hochfeld arbeitet. Außerdem sprachen wir mit aktiven Rappern dieser Stadt, die uns ihre Meinung und Perspektive über HipHop in Duisburg mitteilten. Während unserer Besuche, erlebten wir den Rheinpark als einen Ort, der den Leuten Raum bietet, ihre Kreativität frei zu entfalten. Aber auch der Turn Headshop gab uns einen Einblick in die HipHop-Kultur von Duisburg.

Die Erfahrungen, die wir in Hochfeld sammelten, die sozialen Probleme, aber auch die mentale Stärke und Kreativität der Menschen, erinnerte uns stark an die Bronx in New York City. Daher entschieden wir uns dafür, unser Gruppenprojekt in einer HipHop Karte von Duisburg darzustellen, in der wir unsere Ergebnisse sichtbar machen konnten. Inspirationen gab uns das bekannte Buch Born in the Bronx, welches ebenfalls eine HipHop-Karte der Bronx enthält.

Herne and its Hip Hop Activists

Agora: “We want to connect Hip Hop activists”

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Agora considers itself as a Hip Hop collective of musicians and poets. In 2015, the crew Freshe Connection (MC Verbal & Si2Dman) and the rapper and bassist Hermes Kannakis created the vision to establish Agora as an open platform for local artists. The collective seeks to encourage collaboration among various artists and musicians. They also acknowledge Hip Hop’s educational approach and  want to use it as tool for getting a message across. In this spirit they spread the values of Hip Hop across the Ruhr Area: Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun.

 

M.I.K.I: “My Hip Hop meeting point is my studio”

M.I.K.I

M.I.K.I, Foto: Romina Nowosatko.

Michél Puljic alias M.I.K.I is probably the most successful rapper from Herne. Born in Castrop-Rauxel, the 27-year-old rapper grew up in Herne-Börnig where he still lives today. Since 2013 he has been part of the Dortmund-based independent label Kopfnussmusik. In the same year, his first album Malochersohn entered German charts on the 94th place – quite high for an artist from the small city in the Ruhr Area.

With his music, M.I.K.I combines his three passions: soccer, rap, and the Ruhrpott. Hip Hop means to M.I.K.I more than just music as it “stands for expressing one’s opinion, also if it’s not that nice. Hip Hop stands for creativity, for many it is an outlet – for me as well.” For the whole-hearted local patroit, the Ruhr Area represents honesty, a down-to-earth attitude, and social cohesion. This can be seen in the track “Ruhrpott” which he recorded with Dortmunder artists Reece and Sonikk:

 

Pottporus: “We are the Center”

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Pottporus has been a registered society since 2007 and is based in Herne. It is characterized by urbanity and street art and combines those elements with established art forms. The Pottporus comprises the Junges Pottporus (Young Pottporus) addressing young people, the dance productions of the dance theater group Renegade, the annual Pottporus Urban Street Art Festival and the Danceschool. The society supports young creatives and tries to open up new perspectives for them. Pottporus considers itself as a network of artists, inspiring new ideas.

„Duisburg hat den Bronx-Touch“: Ein Interview mit Tomek

Duisburg ist eine dergrößten Städte des westlichen Ruhrgebiets und dabei auch eine Stadt, die stets zu kämpfen hat. Probleme wie Arbeitslosigkeit, Armut und Kriminalität sind an der Tagesordnung. Besonders das Leben der jüngeren Generation ist davon beeinträchtigt. Rapper, Erzieher und Sozialarbeiter, die wir während unserer Projekts trafen, zeigten sich bezüglich der Situation frustriert.

Dabei ermöglicht Hip Hop und besonders Rapmusik jungen Menschen einen Weg, ihre Sorgen, Ängste und Hoffnungen kundzutun. Durch Musik können sie ihre Gefühle, inneren Konflikte, Frustrationen, als auch gesellschafts- und politikbezogene Kritik äußern. HipHop eröffnet ihnen eine Perspektive.

Wie wir bei unserer Recherche erlebten, motiviert die Kultur junge Menschen, kreativ zu werden und etwas auf die Beine zu stellen.

Eine HipHop-Karte von Duisburg

Was Duisburg besonders macht, sind die zahlreichen Facetten, die die Stadt bietet. Im Rahmen unseres Projektes haben wir eine HipHop-Landkarte von Duisburg kreiert. Lerne die lokale Szene kennen, indem du durch unsere U-Bahn-Karte fährst, durch die du dir über die vielen Linien einen Überblick verschaffen kannst.

Grüne Linie = Rapper

Gelbe Linie = Soziale Arbeit

Blaue Linie = Clubs

Lila Linie = Headshop

Rote Linie = Graffiti

Hier gelangst du zu unserer HipHop-Landkarte von Duisburg.

Wir wünschen Dir eine gute Fahrt!

A Hip Hop Map of Duisburg: Our Group Project

During our seminar on Mapping Hip Hop Culture in the Ruhr Area, our group did several trips to the city of Duisburg. Duisburg is located in the western part of the Ruhr Area which is famous for its large steel plants along the Rhine river. We talked to educaters and social workers, as well as to a shop owner. We soon realized that a huge part of the culture takes place in Duisburg-Hochfeld, a troubled neighborhood in Duisburg. As the area is marked by immigration and deindustrialization, there is also a lot of potential.

The educator Tomek introduced us to his work, methods, and principles in the project Multikulti. These were supported by the social worker Tony who has worked in Hochfeld for a long time. We also talked to rappers from Duisburg who explained their opinion and perspective on Hip Hop in their hometown. We did several visits to the Rheinpark, a place that offers people a space of freedom to embrace their creativity. But also smaller places like the Headshop gave us an insight into the Hip Hop culture of Duisburg.

The experiences we made in Hochfeld, the social devastation, but also the strenght and creativity of the people living there, reminded us very much of the Bronx, the birthplace of Hip Hop culture. As a result, we decided to create a Hip Hop Map of Duisburg to visualize our findings because we drew inspiration from the famous photo book Born in the Bronx which also features a map of the Bronx.

Hip Hop Institutionalized: The Haus der Jugend in Witten

The Haus der Jugend (House of Youth) is a youth center in Witten, were children and young people can participate in different kinds of rap and Hip Hop workshops. As Witten is one of many cites in the Ruhr Area where people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds live, many projects, initiatives, and lyrics address racism, discrimination, sexism, tolerance, and equality. The government is aware of the issues and therefore promotes many projects and workshops.

Witten

The Haus der Jugend at Nordstrasse 15, Witten.

Social worker Kostas Andrikopoulos who has been working at the Haus der Jugend since 1994 explained that Hip Hop workshops, for instance, have enjoyed quite some popularity. Even the local rapper Al Kareem, member of the Witten Untouchable Crew, is sometimes teaching workshops in the youth center.

Witten2

A Movie about the Haus der Jugend.

The Haus der Jugend was founded in 1970. When German-speaking rap music was commercially successful in the 1990s, the Haus der Jugend experienced its probably highest interest in rap music. At that time, Kostas told us, 95% of the kids coming to the youth center had a so-called migration background. In the course of its hype, crews like Sons of Gastarbeita (1994) and Creutzfeld & Jacob (1998) dominated the local rap scene. In their lyrics, they spoke out against racism and for equality.

In 2006, the concept of the youth center changed. Today it is part of a larger campaign  called Kulturrucksack NRW supported by the federal state of North Rhine – Westfalia. Each year the Department of Culture provides 3 Million Euros for various culture-related projects. Kulturrucksack is a subproject within the federal program “Toleranz fördern – Kompetenz stärken” (“Promoting Tolerance – Strengthening Competence”), initiated by the Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth which focuses on promoting democracy, preventing racism and discrimination as well as establishing mentoring programs for young people. Until 2014, the German government provided 24 Million Euros nationwide. Other local supporting facilities are the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Kulturpädagogische Dienste/ Jugendkunstschulen NRW e.V , the City of Witten, the youth centers Famous  and Werk-Stadt, and the Klangwelt-Studio.

cdwitten

Rap Connection 2: This CD was created in the framework of “Toleranz fördern – Kompetenzen stärken” in 2013.

Despite offical efforts to support youth work, Kostas explained that the interest in rap music workshops has been declining over the past years. Yet Witten still has active participants who produce mainly socially and politically critical rap. In particular Sons of Gastarbeita initiated many projects and workshops, one of which was recently was uploaded on YouTube:

Sons of Gastarbeita “The Next Level – Equality” (2016)

As “The Next Level – Equality” shows, the initiatives provide an important space for young people to express their position and dissatisfaction in nonviolent and creative ways. Because these projects are funded by officals, the content and especially the language is sometimes censored.

Nevertheless, the fact that these projects are so well-promoted shows that Hip Hop culture, which includes graffiti as well as b-boying (breakdance), is no longer seen as an inferior culture by officials. Despite or because of these projects, Hip Hop has found its way into politics and is undergoing an enormous image change. It is now becoming an accepted, powerful, and respected media of voicing issues in the Witten, and ultimately, German society.

HipHop Institutionalisiert: Das Haus der Jugend in Witten

Das Haus der Jugend ist eine Kinder- und Jugendeinrichtung, die verschiedene Workshops und Projekte für Kinder und Jugendliche anbietet. Da Witten neben Bochum, Dortmund und Essen auch zu den Ballungsgebieten in NRW gehört, in dem eine Vielfalt an verschiedenen Kulturen und Ethnizitäten miteinander leben, beschäftigen sich die Projekte, Initiativen und Texte mit mit sozial kritischen Themen wie Rassismus, Diskriminierung, Toleranz, Gleichheit oder Sexismus .

Witten

Das Haus der Jugend in der Nordstrasse 15 in Witten. Foto: privat.

Sozialarbeiter Kostas Andrikopoulos, der seit 1994 dort arbeitet, erzählt uns, dass die Workshops teilweise sehr beliebt bei den Jugendlichen sind. Dies zeigt sich unter anderem auch daran, dass sogar der Rapper Al Kareem, Mitglied der Witten Untouchable Crew, Workshops unterrichtet.

Witten2

Ein Film über das Haus der Jugend.

Die soziale Einrichtung wurde in den 1970er Jahren gegründet. Als in den 1990er Jahren der Deutschrap seinen kommerziellen Höhepunkt hatte, hat Witten einen echten Hype im Bezug auf Hip Hop und Rap Musik erlebt. Kostas erklärt uns, dass in dieser Zeit ca. 95% der Kinder und Jugendlichen die das Zentrum besuchten, aus Einwandererfamilien kamen. In diesem Zuge sind auch Crews wie Sons of Gastarbeita (1994) oder Creutzfeld & Jacob (1998) entstanden, die sich in ihren Songs gegen Rassismus und für Gleichheit aussprachen.

Im Jahr 2006 hat sich das Konzept des Jugendzentrums leicht geändert. Seit einigen Jahren nimmt die Jugendeinrichtung bei dem Projekt KulturRucksack teil, welches vom Land Nordrhein-Westfalen gefördert wird. Jedes Jahr stellt das Kulturministerium rund 3 Millionen Euro zusätzlich für diverse kulturbezogene Projekte zur Verfügung. Das Ziel ist es, möglichst vielen Kindern und Jugendlichen kostenreduziert kulturelle Angebote zu eröffnen. Das Kultur Rucksack – Projekt wird im Rahmen des Bundesprogramms “TOLERANZ FÖRDERN – KOMPETENZ STÄRKEN” gefördert, welches vom Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend unterstützt wird. Es gibt drei Kernaspekte des Programms, die sich der Demokratieentwicklung, dem Kampf gegen Rassismus und der Gründung von Mentorenprojekten widmen. Bis 2014 hat die Bundesregierung 24 Millionen Euro deutschlandweit für solche Programme zur Verfügung gestellt. Neben der Stadt Witten finden sich zum Beispiel auch folgende Träger die sich an lokalen Projekten beteiligen: Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Kulturpädagogische Dienste/ Jugendkunstschulen NRW e.V , die Jugendclubs Famous und Werk-Stadt sowie das Klangwelt-Studio.

cdwitten

Rap Connection 2: Diese CD wurde 2013 im Rhamen des Programms “Toleranz fördern – Kompetenzen stärken” veröffentlicht.

Trotz dieser Programme und Initiativen ist laut Kostas jedoch das Interesse an Rapmusik-Workshops in den letzten Jahren gesunken. Trotz allem findet man im Netz immer noch aktive Rapper die sich mit sozial-politischen und kritischen Themen auseinandersetzen. Vor allem die Formation Sons of Gastarbeita haben viele Projekte und Workshops initiiert, die man auch bei YouTube anschauen kann:

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Sons of Gastarbeita “The Next Level – Equality” (2016)

Wie das Lied “The Next Level – Equality” zeigt, werden die erwähnten Programme und Projekte stark gefördert, um den Jugendlichen eine gewaltfreie Möglichkeit zu schaffen, ihren Frust Ausdruck zu verleihen. Vielleicht sind die Texte bzw. die Ausdrucksweise zensiert, dennoch scheint HipHop hier seinen Weg in die Politik gefunden zu haben. Dadurch hat Hip Hop bzw. Rapmusik einen Imagewechsel durchwandert und scheint ein akzeptiertes Medium für Jugendliche zu sein, um sich gehör über die Probleme in der Wittener, und somit auch der deutschen Gesellschaft, zu verschaffen.

M.I.K.I and Ruhrpott Rap: “The Hip Hop scene in Herne is almost dead”

M.I.K.I

M.I.K.I, Foto: Romina Nowosatko.

Many people who are part of the Hip Hop scene in Herne remark that there exists no networked scene in the town anymore. Especially Hip Hop music is often practiced in private apartments and spaces. Furthermore, it seems like the Hip Hop scene in Herne has been constantly shrinking in the last decades.

The Herne-based rapper M.I.K.I  confirms this thesis during our interview. The 27-year-old artist is very outspoken on this point: “The Hip Hop scene here is almost dead.” He comments that this has not always been the case: “When I was 16, 17 or 18 years old, there have been many rappers from Herne. The people who were making music [back then], but did not achieve anything, they lost their motivation. You get older and start a family. There were Lapaz and Urbanize in the past; he was the first rapper from Herne who made it into the charts. And there were Chillah & Goethe – that was rap from Herne.”

Today, only one or two active rappers from Herne come to his mind. One of them is Tatverdacht. Whereas Urbanize combines rap with singing, Tatverdacht is a so-called gangsta rapper. M.I.K.I distances himself from this popular subgenre of Hip Hop.

M.I.K.I thinks the downward trend of hip hop in Herne is a result of the shrinking numbers of active rappers. As an artist, he is less active in Herne than in Dortmund and other bigger cities of the Ruhr Area because his label Kopfnussmusik is located in Dortmund. Because he himself has less contacts to other artists from Herne, he might not be aware of emerging artists. A reason why he is increasingy peforming in larger cities is, for example, that there are more Hip Hop events supported. The city of Dortmund has a more vibrant scene than the city of Herne, for instance.

Rap Music in Herne: Lacking Public Spaces

M.I.K.I also confirms our thesis that there is a lack of public places where artists can practice Hip Hop. In 2011, M.I.K.I won the first prize in the Revierkönig (King of the Ruhr Area) competition at the Cranger Kirmes, one of the biggest public fairs in the state of North Rhine Westfalia which takes place in the Herne-Crange district every year. At the Revierkönig competition, several artists competed against each other and the one who got the most applause from the audience won. Since his victory at the fair, M.I.K.I has not been on stage in Herne again.

M.I.K.I continues that there have always been only few places where artists could listen to Hip Hop or freestyle together (freestyling means improvising texts). For example, he met his friends at the car park in front of his school when they were younger. Today, his meeting point for creating rap music is the studio of his label Kopfnussmusik. And for others? “There are certainly enough people celebrating and listening to Hip Hop.” Therefore, he stresses that it would be cool for young artists to have at least the opportunity to practice rap music and Hip Hop culture, for example, at jam sessions.

When he started rapping in 2007-2008, M.I.K.I produced some songs about Herne as well. He even dedicated a song to his district Herne-Börnig, “[b]ut during this time I made one track a day”, he adds. Unfortunately, none of his old songs about Herne are available on the Internet. Nowadays, none of his well-known songs centers on Herne. He points out that the town itself has no influence on his music anymore.

The emcee does not see himself in a particular genre of rap music. Some of his texts resemble so called message rap which he combines with his passion for the soccer club Borussia Dortmund (BVB). For example, he criticizes the pricing policy of the Bundesliga soccer clubs (the German soccer league). Other songs are more personal, address his own experiences, or that of his family.

M.I.K.I has mixed feelings towards his hometown: “I am proud to be from Herne,” he says. On the other side, he does not feel obliged to celebrate his hometown as other emcees often do: “Many people tell me that I would have to mention Herne more often, that I would have to represent the town. Well, Herne never gave me much either. Herne gave me my lousy school that I don’t like.”

The rapper dedicates himself and his art more intensely to the Ruhr Area or “Ruhrpott” with its industrial heritage and soccer culture. “I would say that I am more likely to call myself a ‘Ruhrpottler’ [somebody who comes from the Ruhr Area] than a ‘Herner’ [somebody who comes from Herne],” M.I.K.I explains. He recorded the song “Ruhrpott” in collaboration with the rappers Reece and Sonikk.

In “Ruhrpott,” they discuss what growing up in the Ruhr Area feels like, an area which is marked by structual change and a high unemployment rate. They rap about the values and traditions of the Ruhr Area but also criticize the social unequality in the region:

Ruhrpotter Asis, we have any reason to be proud here. [by calling themselves “Asis,” that is, antisocial, they appropriate a derogatory term used to describe poor people]

Coal and steel – millions of people, one dream. Worked without an end – lungs full of fine dust. That’s the Pott, where people are patriotic […] Ruhrgebiet, that’s the drug we are addicted to. Going to a Trinkhalle [a kiosk that sells alcohol that can be consumed in public space and part of the Ruhr Area’s culture], being exhausted from hard work. That’s tradition: Soccer and drinking a beer […]

That’s the Ruhrpott – where dreams are bursting, where friendships are growing. Where the air is full of dirt and the people are on schnapps. Yes here I grew up […] Where people are standing in front of the AG [jobcenter] with schnapps in their throats […] A wide range from upper class to lower class. Look, the high-ups are sticking with their kind.

In our project we investigated the interrelationship between rap music and space. We have come to the conclusion that there is little relationship between M.I.K.I’s music and his hometown Herne. Neither does he write lyrics about his hometown nor does it influence his music directly. However, the town and his social environment does indeed influence M.I.K.I.because he started rapping there.

As Herne is part of the Ruhr Area, it is the the Ruhr Area which leaves its most significant mark on him. M.I.K.I identifies himself both with the local dialect, the working-class culture, and with typical values such as honesty, a down-to-earth attitude, and social cohesion – values that the Hip Hop scene practices, communicates, and propagates as well. Interviewing M.I.K.I we ultimately learned that that Hip Hop in Herne is happening in a regional rather than in a local context.