It’s not, let me start by saying, usual to see me at a hip hop show. Not that I don’t like hip hop. I mean I don’t not like it, but it’s just not something that enters my consciousness enough to consider if I like it or not.
I like Macklemore’s lyrics and I liked Eminem’s attitude. And some of his lyrics. At least before he started doing so much coke that he started using sock puppets to sing about farting on the dance floor. Oh yes and when he came back from rehab and then he wasn’t funny anymore, or really that much fun either.
However, Sunday night I found myself at the Berlin performance of Mr. Eko Fresh, German rapper, friend and collaborator of Bushido, Sedo, you name it. Everything that makes a man a German rapper, he’s it, pretty much.
Something different, she suggested
Here’s how it happened. My indieBerlin co-conspirator Mia said one day words to the effect of, how come we go to indie gigs, we go to indie folk gigs, we go to indie rock gigs, but we never go to hip hop gigs? Something different, she suggested. Shake the cobwebs loose, step outside your comfort zone.
Hence Mr. Eko Fresh
The night started on not the best note. It was a Sunday, it was rainy, it was the onset of autumn going into winter. We got to Bi Nuu and went inside and witnessed the first act.
When you’ve got Money then you automatically get Bitches
I stood there and to be honest I thought to myself, Ah, yes, this is why I don’t go to hip hop events. The man had a baseball cap, he had a hoody, it was hard (at least for me, a non-native German speaker) to understand too much of what he was saying, but one song was about, and I kid you not, Bitches and Money. The gist that I managed to get was that you don’t need to go after Bitches, you should go after Money, because when you’ve got Money then you automatically get Bitches. Can’t fault the logic really, I suppose, but still.
There were a couple more songs about Bitches and I think Money was mentioned. The man seemed simultaneously quite upset and rather satisfied with himself, I suppose because of the above-mentioned logic circle completion.
Then another guy came on, I quite liked him actually, he had a bit of a sense of humour and a bit of life in him, but in the end it had a lot to do with the same subjects.
I liked Mr. Eko Fresh, he’s alright, he is
Finally we got to Eko Fresh. Inside five minutes I decided I liked Mr. Eko Fresh, he’s alright, he is, and I remembered how hip hop can also be fucking good sometimes. His rhyming was quick and fluid, he didn’t growl, I don’t think he mentioned bitches or money at all, although I could be wrong.
Eko Fresh, my sources tell me, comes out of Cologne, in fact out of the ghetto of Cologne, even though I’m not completely convinced that Cologne actually has that much of a ghetto. Somehow I don’t think “Cologne Gangster Life” has that much of a convincing ring to it, but then that’s just me. Eko Fresh has also done an RnB album called L.O.V.E. with his then girlfriend, and he wrote some songs for people, including a number one hit for Yvonne Cattefeld. For better or for worse, he’s collaborated with Bushido and Sedo and various other rap luminaries, he’s done the rounds.
A likeable, intelligent man with a good line in catchy choruses
Eko Fresh used irony, he was subtle, he addressed subjects including honour killings and false Islamism, he had a sense of humour, the pitch of his voice was mid-level, he didn’t growl and he didn’t scream, in fact he came across as a likeable, intelligent man with a good line in catchy choruses and intelligent lyrics.
So there you go. I’m a reborn hip hopper. Eko Fresh all the way. Lots of fun. And a bit of a break from the old indie folk.
Noel Maurice is one of the founders of indieberlin. Originally from the UK via a childhood in Johannesburg, he has been resident in Berlin since 1991. Describing himself as a ‘recovering musician’, he is the author of The Berlin Diaires, a trilogy detailing the East Berlin art and squat scene of the early 90s, available on Amazon and through this site.