09. Made in Almanya: The Birth of Turkish Rap



1. Karakan, “Almancı Yabancı”

From: Al Sana Karakan, Neşe Müzik, 1996.


Lyrics: Karakan.
Music: Karakan, Chill Fresh.



The title of the opening track on the duo Karakan’s first album refers to the rhyming pair of Turkish terms almancı/yabancı. Yabancı is a common Turkish word meaning “foreigner” or “stranger.” Almancı is a newly invented word, based on the Turkish name (Almanya) for Germany, meaning “German-like” or “Germanized,” and used by people in Turkey to describe the behavior, lifestyles, and world view of Turkish migrants who have lived many years in Germany and are perceived to have adopted German ways. The two terms together evoke the in-betweenness of Turkish migrants, considered to be foreigners in Germany, but also considered in Turkey to have become Germanized, and thus no longer fully Turkish.


2. Aziza-A, “Es ist Zeit”

From: Es ist Zeit, BMG/Gema 0X001, 1997.


Lyrics: Aziza-A.
Music: Soft G.
Arrangement: Soft G, Wolfgang Galler, Andreas Advocado.



This track, which opens Aziza-A’s first album, represents well the “oriental hip hop” genre, with its layered percussion parts evoking belly dance music and its chorus quoting from the central Anatolian folk song “Misket” (“Marbles”). The song announces Aziza-A’s explicitly feminist agenda, describing how the patriarchal norms for women’s behavior in Turkish society have been maintained in the diaspora in Germany and keep Turkish women down there as well.


3. Cartel, “Cartel”

From: Cartel, Mercury 526 914-2, 1995.


Lyrics: A. Köksal, K. Yüzer, Erci Ergün, M. Ali Aksoy, A. İnce, O.P. Jess, M.G. Perelló.
Music: A. Ölmez-İşçitürk.



This song is the opening track of the self-titled first album by Cartel, a German-Turkish rap “supergroup” that was the first to perform Turkish-language rap extensively in Turkey when it toured there in 1995. This group effectively brought rap music and the accompanying hip hop youth culture from Germany “home” to Turkey, and influenced the first generation of home-grown Turkish rappers that emerged there in the late 1990s.