Turkish rap group Islamic Force, founded in 1986, chose that name to provoke the Germans who have a stereotypical image of Islam, not because they are radical Islamists. Not only in rap music but also in the whole hip-hop community, artists have renamed themselves and taken stage names.
Turkish Rap Music in Germany
Fuat Ergin, who has been one of the most influential MCs of Turkish rap music, claims in Tüccar’s (2011) documentary that, in the 80’s Turkish people in Germany were treated as second class citizens and people felt this in everywhere from government offices to grocery stores. Besides his claims, second-generation Turkish youth in Germany were frustrated that they were between two very different cultures, Turkish culture inside their houses and German culture outside and they searched for an exit, a way in between for themselves.İt is the feeling of being subordinate outsiders that creates toughness, gangs, and rap groups within ethnic minority youth as a form of reaction.
One of the pioneers of Turkish rap music Killa Hakan, a former member of the Islamic Force, adds that when they heard the political rap songs of the
80’s from the American soldiers near the Berlin Wall, they liked it as they felt a connection with the African American rappers in terms of the similar problems they face, suggests that hip-hop is a “source of alternative identity formation and social status”, the Turkish youth in Berlin slowly learned the hip-hop culture and rap music with the help of youth centers opened by the German government for the young immigrants and they began to participate and that was the starting point of Turkish rap music in Germany. Kreuzberg is a densely working-class Turkish or immigrant populated area of Berlin, Germany, and it is the birthplace of Turkish hip-hop and rap culture. Also called as Kleines İstanbul meaning little İstanbul,
Kreuzberg, Examples of Graffiti on Walls
Kreuzberg is a place that shows the influence of hip-hop culture with examples of graffiti on the walls and the hip-hop fashion that young people have.As Turkish youth learned the rap from political rappers who were worldwide popular during late 80s and early 90s, contrary to the emergence of American rap music, Turkish rap music emerged almost purely as a political music genre; and it helped the Turkish youth to express their social problems about which, for a long time, they were not allowed to express themselves in any other way. Even though their expressions were harsh against the racism and discrimination, there was no rebel against the governmental authority or an “anti-establishment expressivity” like Houston A Baker Jr. (1993) calls it, not similar to the American political rap.
N.W.A. said “Fuck the Police” while Boe-B from İslamic Force said “There is Injustice” while both talking about police violence. Similar to Black nationalism, Turkish or Islamic nationalism was adopted as a triggering aspect in the lyrics, however, except some examples from some extreme groups that are close to Turkish racism rather than nationalism, it was just a defense mechanism against the violence that Turkish youth was exposed to in Germany. For example, the first Turkish rap group Islamic Force, founded in 1986, chose that name to provoke the Germans who have a stereotypical image of Islam, not because they are radical Islamists. Not only in rap music but also in the whole hip-hop community, artists have renamed themselves and taken stage names.