The father of Gregor Easy was with the NVA, that of Kanye Ost with the Stasi. Visit "East Berlin Androgyn" – the alternative to Aggro-Hip-Hop.
Tenth floor, the elevator door is barely open because it already expresses the smell of marijuana. Numerous rehearsal rooms, close to each other, along a long corridor of the Herzbergstraße in Berlin-Lichtenberg, industrial area: it is here also that meet Androgyn of East Berlin, consisting of Kanye Ost, Spoke and Gregor Easy. They see themselves as a flagrant counterpart to Aggro-rap, particularly influenced by "West Berlin Maskulin" between 1997 and 2000, a combination of rappers rappers Kool Savas and Taktloss.
"Hip-hop is a background music and should not touch the weak," said Kanye Ost, who named himself after famed American rapper and millionaire Kanye West. "Gays and lesbians, these are not enemy images." He does not understand why rap can be so successful with discriminatory words. Of course, he celebrated it in adolescence and if you took the lyrics for the West Berlin male, it would also be good music.
But he could not hear that with his friends Antifa in East Berlin, it was just not possible. It becomes thoughtful for a moment, we hear the dull bass and the roar of a heavy metal band, the rehearsals in the next room. This was similar to Spoke:
"If you do not fear whores, you will be perceived as a fool of rap," said the 39-year-old. Hip-hop is still heavily dominated by men, though it would change slowly, she says. Especially the label structures because it is easier for male rappers to start. East Berlin Androgyn has no label yet, but EQ: booking is a Hamburg agency that wants to promote diversity in the music industry.
"Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, it will not come back"
His texts are also characterized by their origin. "Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, it will not go out anymore," says Kanye Ost. His father was with the Stasi, who accompanies him until today and busy. As a student in history, he tried to repair his family trauma. "Because my family describes the story, it could not have been like that, I had to complete the picture through my own studies."
The father of Gregor Easy was with the NVA, after the turn where he became an alcoholic, they have not seen each other for 10 years. Easy was hip-hop punk after the turnaround. Both grew up on the Prerower Platz while there was still a consumer market today called Lindencenter.
Cut out pieces of wall and sold for a brand
When the wall fell, Gregor Easy was five years old. Together with his older brother, they cut pieces of wall and sold for a brand. He tells of his school years in Hohenschönhausen and the Nazis, who had chased him once in half of the district after provoking him. "The feeling of helplessness and fear has stuck," he said today. "I had to work hard to regain self-confidence."
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It was the same as Kanye East. "At that time, the Nazis dominated the street," said the 32-year-old. And today, when he runs under the Ringbahn bridge, he is sometimes overtaken by these feelings of youth. That's why he moved to Friedrichshain, just like Gregor Easy. "The Nazis are back, but I'm hiding." That's what is written in one of the lyrics.
"You insult me as a son of stasis, but I do not care," elsewhere. The two, before moving towards rap in 2016, the reading phase initiated by Couchpoetos in Friedrichshain.
Nazis without combat boots
In Lichtenberg, they first played at Androgyne with East Berlin, the "Long Night of the M8". "Until now, this has been our contribution to the construction of the East", laughs Gregor Easy and transmits the third joint. The Kiffen are also discussed in their texts. Today, says Kanye Ost, we would not see as many Nazis in the streets, no combat boots – "but so many people choose the AFD, it is not much better". It's become "the bourgeois right," says Spoke.
Even the most successful rapper from Germany, Capital Bra, grew up here in Hohenschönhausen. After all, East Berlin Androgyn has played at the Fusion Festival, as well as in various concerts in Germany. "If we play in Hamburg for example, we are already remarkable as a Berliner, but in Berlin, hardly anyone notices it," says Kanye Ost.
"The Berlin queer scene has attracted me"
Spoke arrived in Berlin in 2001 and studied history there. "The queer scene and the squatter scene in Berlin attracted me, so I wanted to go there." She has already made music in Kassel. Now, she will soon move to a studio in Kreuzberg, then Androgyn will be in Lichtenberg also for East Berlin.
"Although the location is already shaping our recordings," Spoke said. "So, surrounded by prefabricated buildings, that was part of it, let's see what happens in Kreuzberg."