K.I.Z.: Girls, Grilling, and Hip-Hop

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K.I.Z. seriously loves hip-hop, but their hip-hop is anything but serious. On "Hurensohn" ("Son of A Whore") they rap "I'm gonna party on your grave/You try the crip walk once again and I'll rip off your legs." "Riesenglied" (which translates as "DickCock") is a remake of Absolute Beginner's 1998 German rap hit "Liebeslied" ("Love Songs") with a psychedelic phallocentrism that would make Too $hort blush; a sample lyric: "Met up with your daughter at night in the forest/I dressed as a tree, she had my branch in her throat."

Of course, this foursome–kindred spirits of Spankrock, TTC, and Plastic Little–raps entirely in German, so unless you sprechen sie deutsch you're not going to grok all the dirty jokes. So why should you care? Because K.I.Z. is some of the best that the vast German hip-hop scene–which is filled with guttural rappers trying to look and sound like Juelz Santana–has to offer.

Fast forward past the crew's 2005 debut, Das RapDeutschlandKettensägenMassaker (The German Rap Chainsaw Massacre) and straight to March 2006's Böhse Enkelz (Bad Grandsons) mixtape for a taste of how rappers Euro8000, Maxim, and Tarek adroitly tailor their party rhymes to backing tracks by Aphex Twin, White Stripes, and Lil' Jon. "It's so boring that people just translate the hooks to 50 Cent and do their own part on the beat," says 23-year-old Euro8000. "It reminds me of Phil Collins, who does Walt Disney soundtracks in eight different languages. And hip-hop about hip-hop is the most boring thing," he continues. "Rappers do hip-hop for other rappers and they wonder why they don't sell copies! Germans don't know so many things about rap, so you have to be a bit more creative [lyrically]."

To that end, the boys rhyme about girls and grilling (as in BBQing), not glocks and gold chains (neither of which are too common in Berlin). But their main priority remains agitating, as on Tarek's "Was Willst Du Machen?!" ("What Will You Do?!"), which plays with stereotypes that German natives have of Turkish and Arab people. "It was so everyone could live out their hidden racism," laughs Nico of the song, which inspired many comments on their website's guestbook from people wanting to stab them.

The crew refuses to take even these threats seriously. "We do make fun of stereotypes, but on the other side we are these stereotypes," says Nico. "We make fun of ourselves, too."