What began in the 1970s in the Bronx in New York City with rhymes and beats from Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five has now become an international cultural form. Hip-hop is constantly reinventing itself while still remaining true to its roots. For me, the guests on “Back to Tape” (2018) and "Back 2 Tape" (release: April 16, 2020) carry exactly this spirit within themselves. That is why I chose to meet with them on my tour through France, Denmark, Great Britain, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
It doesn't matter what clothes you wear, what skin colour you have or how good you are at something - the main thing is that you do it with the right mindset. German rap legend Kool Savas also underlines this: "It's all about respect.”
European music as a trendsetter
Musically, "Back 2 Tape" was as diverse as my guests. European Hip-Hop is becoming more and more of a leader, not a follower. DJ Josi Miller, whom I visited in her studio in Berlin, adds: "Whenever I am in the USA, people are very interested in European DJs and musicians. I see the rap scene from the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam, as enormously influential".
Again and again on my road trip, I was able to observe the European influences in modern hip-hop. For example, Falsalarma spoke in Barcelona about Rosalía Vila Tobella, known by her first name Rosalía. She is a Spanish singer, musician and songwriter. Her music combines traditional flamenco with contemporary international pop music - a bridge between cultures.
The French rap scene, which by the way is the second-largest market in the world in terms of sales, also achieves the perfect mix. There, local people mix with foreign beats, history mixes with the future, street style meets haute couture. What began in 1984 with Daniel Bigeault, aka Dee Nasty, is continued today by intelligent MCs like Lord Esperanza, who incorporate contemporary literature into their lyrics.
Rap from Great Britain sets standards
"Rap from Great Britain is always setting new standards," explains DJ Josi Miller. "Grime, in particular, has become an integral part of my DJ sets. I celebrate that it also contains a lot of political statements."
Fans of "Back 2 Tape" can listen to an excerpt from their DJ set on the online TV channel ONE Hamburg next Friday, April 17, from 8 pm. The touring DJ of German musician Trettmann will make a guest appearance, together with Niko Hüls. Afterwards, Miller will play sounds from all over Europe.
This proves once again that hip-hop can be a unifying element. As Théodore Despre, aka Lord Esperanza, said in Paris: "It is made for everyone and unites us all".
A playlist for the perfect European road trip
I have compiled the tracks that accompanied me on my journey in a Spotify playlist. It includes more than four hours of finest "Back 2 Tape" beats. My five tips:
The Nice Up - Rodney P
Mystery Repeats - Pete Philly & Perquisite
Der beste Tag meines Lebens - Kool Savas
Drapeau Noir (prod. Itzama) - Lord Esperanza
La Versión de los Hechos - Falsalarma
Official playlist of Back 2 Tape
Save the Date: Premiere of Back 2 Tape on April 16th
“Back 2 Tape” celebrates its world premiere on the Porsche Newsroom on April 16. The documentary was made in cooperation with hip-hop magazine “Backspin” and music journalist Niko Hüls. It sheds light on hip-hop youth culture using the example of 16 artists from all over Europe. A glimpse behind the scenes is already available on social media. In the run-up to the premiere, individual artists will give personal insights into the production of the film project by speaking via Instagram live streams.
An important note
Niko’s road trip through Europe was produced before the outbreak of COVID-19. Porsche, Backspin and the involved artists are aware of their social responsibility and advise against such a trip at this time out of consideration for the health and well-being of all people.