BERLIN (CelebrityAccess) — A pair of German rappers are the focus of a chorus of increasingly sharp criticism over their alleged antisemitic lyrics, which was compounded after the two were nominated for an annual music prize.
The German music industry association BVMI sparked the controversy when it nominated rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang, for Best Rap Album, prompting other artists Echo award-winners to return their own trophies in protest.
The two rappers have produced music with controversial lyrics, including the song “0815“, in which the two rappers talk about their bodies being “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners” Other lyrics from the song include “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov.”
BVMI responded to the criticism, noting that the awards are given largely based on album sales, and noted that they planned to implement reforms in future years, but that has done little to quell outrage among the artistic and business community.
A number of German artists have announced plans to return their own awards, vowing to end their association with the Echoes.
The list of artists includes German rock legend Marius Müller-Westernhagen, who said he no longer wanted to be associated with the Echos and that he intended to return he seven awards he won between 1992 and 2017. As well, internationally renowned artist Klaus Voorman, who designed the artwork for bands such as the Beatles and the Bee Gees plans to return a lifetime achievement award. “What had felt like a gift to me on the occasion of my 80th birthday has revealed itself to be a big disappointment,” he said in a statement released on Monday.
“Provocation is allowed and sometimes even necessary in order to provide food for thought.” Voormann added.
It’s not just artists, businesses have joined in the affray as well. Airbus chief executive Tom Ender told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he was “shocked” by the award and noted that it reflected poorly on Germany. “That hurts Germany’s international reputation. Is antisemitism becoming acceptable in Germany?” Enders told the newspaper.
Both rappers have said they reject antisemitism. Kollegah is a 33-year-old rapper whose real name is Felix Blume. Farid Bang, 31, is the stage name for Farid El Abdellaoui.