HOT TAKE: Indie im Deutschrap
In Perpetuity, Hip-Hop and its many subcultures have not been so easy to be categorized and defined clearly. The "new generation" of young artists in German-speaking countries have proven that they can skillfully overcome genre boundaries and constantly reinvent themselves without having a specific label to their music.
An increasing number of sub-genres combined with a willingness to experiment with new things have led to a great musical variety in the last decade, which additionally stands for diversity and uniqueness. Rap is not just 16 bars at 90 BPM with some jazz samples anymore.
Even if the following movement doesn’t seem to fit into this picture, it has been making its way further and further through the local music scene and in recent years: Indie music.
The hype surrounding the genre is currently affecting more and more people and its subcultures, while it extends from the Berlin Underground to the Austrian capital.
Today we're going to show you what Indie is all about, where it originated from, how it is represented by artists from the DACH region and hopefully we'll give you a few reasons why you should not miss out on it!
But how do you define Indie?
The 90's are considered the golden age of Indie music - first only creatively and later on, also commercially. Bands like Nirvana or Kings of Leon, which emerged during the so-called post-punk era, not only shaped entire generations, but also set the foundation for so-called "independent rock," which is actually used to describe "alternative rock."
Originally, "Independent" stood for independent artists, free from label bosses and commercial music, but over the time, this kind of music has become more suitable for the masses and is often profit-oriented. The styles represented in this genre are very different. The only thing they have in common is the search for alternative forms of musical expression away from the mainstream. Post-punk, Indie rock or Indie pop, New wave and lo-fi form a ton of sub-genres and create a niche for individual artists and bands – with a great range from street music to sold-out concert halls.
The typical Indie sound is not easily illustrated. This is because Indie also stands for the freedom to express yourself with your very own sounds, individual messages and to constantly expand them.
Just like their music, the lifestyle of many Indie artists can be described as independent. How so? Basically, in every possible way. The goal is to stand out from the mainstream or, in the best case, to be ahead of it, and it is not uncommon for Indie stars to set new trends.
Indie in German
First, one should differentiate Indie music in the German speaking area - between the general genre that has been around for decades including the artists who stand for it and the movements surrounding Indie music that have gained momentum in recent years.
After the success of the German Indie bands of the 90s and early 2000s like Tocotronic or The Notwist, artists like Kraftklub, Casper, Feine Sahne Fisch Filet or Wanda brought more elements of Indie rock in German to the scene and paved the way for alternative music to become more suitable for a larger scale of artists and fans.
Since then, alternative German music has become more and more diverse and commercial at the same time, shaping an entire generation. In recent years, a kind of sub-genre has formed in the German alternative scene with young artists who have ushered in a whole new era.
Edwin Rosen, Jeremias, Provinz, Badchieff and a number of others perform Indie pop or Indie punk in German and thus move crowds into the concert halls. Even if their music differs in style, there are some characteristics that unite them all: Alternative music with deep lyrics, whether social criticism or a homage to heartbreak, fear of the future and growing up. The "new alternative" artists take up topics that move young people and portray something that many can identify with. They stand out from the prototypical German rap. Instead of flexing and hustle culture on hard beats, it's about melodic hooks and relatable lyrics.
@EDWIN ROSEN @JEREMIAS
This is probably also one of the reasons for the popularity of these artists. When people talk about German Indie these days, they often don't refer to the correct genre name, but rather the emerging artists of this group.
Right now there are some extraordinary newcomers popping up in this scene and experiencing great success. Anyone who deals with Indie music from time to time might have stumbled across the name Blumengarten in the last few months. These are two guys from Velbert, Germany who are about to shake up the German pop world with their outstanding sound combined with remarkable vocals from lead singer Rayan.
With songs like Paris Syndrom or Wiedersehen featuring Longus Mongus, they took the hearts of their fans by storm. An amazing duo with a huge love for music that is worth a recommendation, you should definitely take a look and see for yourself!
On top of that, Indie has also arrived in German rap: in recent years, retro Indie samples have almost been a matter of course when it comes to German rap hits, e.g., Powerade by Ion Miles or Party Sahne by Ski Aggu.
In its full diversity, Indie naturally takes place in many other forms as well - the most successful Indie album in Europe comes from an Austrian band: My ugly Clementine. The group around Sophie, Nasti and Mira has been stirring up the Viennese underground since their first release in 2019 with their music in the spectrum of Indie pop combined with lyrics shaped by feminist discourses, empowerment, and equality. On their debut album Vitamin C with their hit-single Who, the stylistic and thematic orientation was so successful that the umbrella organization of European Indie labels Impala named it "Album of The Year" in 2020.The queer-feminist band reflects their clear stance against transphobia, queer hostility, and sexism as well as corresponding discrimination in the music business not only in their music, they also show solidarity in public, for example on social media.
A perfect example to show what Indie has to offer in terms of diversity!