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.
FATe. Foto: Facebook.
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.