Getting Aggro: Rap Wars

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Pronouncing the title of rapper Sido's 2004 single "Arschficksong" ("Assfucksong") is enough to put one off anal sex entirely. But it's not a lack of lube that's got the German government riled up. Multiple releases from Sido's label–top-selling German gangsta rap imprint
Aggro Berlin–contain explicit depictions of sex, drugs, and crime, with rappers B-Tight, G-Hot, and Fler unleashing lyrics that suggest violence towards women and gays.

Big deal, you say, Geto Boys blasting in the background, but the work has caused the Bundesprüfstelle–a federal agency that examines media works that are potentially harmful to young people–to add six Aggro Berlin albums onto an official list, making them subject to being banned at any time. Artists like Fler regurgitate a stance once popularized by N.W.A.–that they're just telling the stories of Germany's mainly immigrant-populated ghettos–but one can't help but think these tales of Berlin are exaggerated, considering that it's still relatively safe to walk through Berlin's sketchier neighborhoods (like parts of Wedding and Märkisches Viertel, the housing project from which Sido hails).

Regardless, the label has come up with a solution: take the music to a land where profane rap flourishes. To wit, Aggro Berlin recently inked a deal with Caroline to distribute their music in the United States. Their first American outing will be a re-release of Fler's latest album, Der Trendsetter, followed by Aggro Videos, a CD/DVD set featuring 20 music videos from the label. It remains to be seen what residents of Cabrini Green or Queensbridge Houses think of the Aggro sound–that is, if they get around to translating B-Tight's "Neger Bums Mich" ("Nigga, Bang Me.")