Why do young people glorify the crime of gangsters


Fabian Wolbring

To person

holds a doctorate in German studies and is a research assistant at the chair for modern German literature and cultural studies at the University of Bonn. His main research interests are poetry theory, literary didactics and German rap. [email protected]

"Gangster rapper also a gangster in real life" - with this headline the "Bild" newspaper titled a report on June 17, 2017 about the multiple criminal record Mohammed Ch., Who pulled a gun in a scuffle between two groups of men and opened himself up Opposite shot. [1] The formulation may surprise you: Why is the title not "Four injured in a shooting in Oer-Erkenschwick"? Obviously, the reference to gangsta rap and its relationship to "real" crime promises the greater incentive to read. Ultimately, the question of whether and to what extent gangsta rappers, i.e. those who stage themselves as criminals in their raps, actually also carry out criminal acts, not only a large part of the rap audience, but also parents, schools, federal inspection agencies, Police, justice and many more. It goes hand in hand with the fundamental question of the authenticity of rappers, which is also one of the most discussed in the academic discussion of rap. [2]

Claim to authenticity and rap persona

For the recipients, the genre rap is apparently basically associated with an implicit claim to authenticity, according to which statements made in rap or through rap are assumed to have a status that is not entirely fictitious. Most of the time, a "broad" claim to authenticity is assumed, which does not necessarily require that the actions on display actually took place, but "only" that the rapper's behavior is similar to the everyday behavior of the rapper and that the positions and opinions expressed are his or correspond to their actual views. [3] A similar claim can also be found in other pop-cultural contexts. [4] Since particularly threatening, aggressive and not least criminal attitudes are exhibited in gangsta rap, the question of their credibility seems far more relevant.

The claim to authenticity is linked to a specific model of authorship that differs significantly from current models of authorship in theater and literature. Rappers are not only considered to be the authors of their texts and performers of the spoken word, [5] but also as the actors who narrate through rap and act in it. The role identified by the self-chosen rap name turns out to be a constant persona, ie a "mask" [6] originally made up of text and with real relevance. It is constant because it is normally adopted in all rapeseed; It is relevant in real life because it is not limited to the textual world or performance situation, but is also used in social contexts.

Under their pseudonym, i.e. as a rap persona, rappers appear on talk shows and entertainment programs and are addressed accordingly in interviews. This also applies to Mohammed Ch., Who is mostly referred to in the reports by his rap name Hamad 45, although he was hardly known as a rapper before, with "word of mouth" from 2014, he can only boast a single, independently released album and probably more raps as a hobby. The rap persona can therefore be seen as a social role in the sense of the sociologist Erving Goffman, that is, as one that is only dressed in certain real-life areas and is basically intended for certain groups of people, but which are nevertheless "authentic", that is, to be represented Role remains assigned to the human being. [7]

The fundamental claim to authenticity in gangsta rap does not mean that the majority of recipients consider all gangsta rappers to be equally authentic. Rather, it enables the credibility of the statements made and the authenticity of the role to be questioned in a meaningful way. Accusing actors that they are completely different from the roles they impersonate, or that novelists are not at all what their narration suggests, seems to be ineffective and suggests a rather naive attitude towards reception. When dealing with gangsta rap, however, it is common practice to question authenticity.

The mainstream media also enjoy exposing and discrediting gangsta rappers as "mouth heroes" or secret philistines and thus as inauthentic. On the other hand, they like to stage the gangsta rappers as an acute, real-life threat. In the "Bild" headline quoted at the beginning, both are suggested, namely both "Here is (finally) a gangsta rapper who is really criminal" and "Beware, gangsta rappers can actually be dangerous". [8]