Rapper Tashan on sexist German rap: “I feel sorry for these men”

Shirin David, Badmómzjay, Eunique and Haiyti – more and more women are successful in German rap. Swiss Tashan also raps in German, and her second song “Yoga” has just been released. “It’s a sex song,” she says in an interview at Berlin’s Soho House. While there, Tashan participated in Warner Music’s “all-female rap camp”, a workshop and networking format for some of the best female rap artists and songwriters in the world. The goal: to empower, unite and promote women in the industry. This is important, says Tashan, because the list of female superstars in German rap is still too short.

ICONIST: You describe your current song as “love to make song“. Lover is otherwise rarely mentioned in German rap. How?

Tashan: I think a lot of rappers don’t like to show their soft side, especially the male ones. Even the successful women who want to exist and be present do not want to be seen as vulnerable. But I’m just one emotional bitch (laughs).

ICONIST: What is important to you when addressing sexuality in your texts?

Tashan: In “Yoga”, for example, it is about men and women meeting as equals. There is no game of power, no one submits to the other. I do not even think about it when I think about it love think. I remember that people want to feel good and want to indulge in sensuality together. My lyrics need to be about honest, real-life situations that everyone knows.

ICONIST: At one point in the video for “Yoga” you even hold a vibrator in the picture.

Tashan: Yes, the famous Womanizer! I would not show a dildo, but this is an aesthetic sex toy that is very reliable at bringing women to orgasm. Therefore, it worked.

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ICONIST: Some of your male colleagues still use misogyny. How are you feeling?

Tashan: I feel a little sorry for these men. They all have big egos, but also some inferiority complexes. Men who want to shut down women are weak in my eyes. Maybe they had a bad environment in their childhood and youth, maybe emotions could not be shown there. But you can not apologize for that.

ICONIST: What expressions of women would you rather never hear again?

Tashan: All the terms that treat women like dirt. When men rap about “this whore”, I ask myself: why do you say something like that, it doesn’t work anymore! When we women say “She’s a bad bitch” to each other, it’s something else – it’s meant as an appreciation, as a compliment. You’re a cool woman!

ICONIST: In debates about misogynistic rap, one often hears that art is allowed for anything. What is your view?

Tashan: You can not stop anyone from making the music you want. I think that’s right, I do too. But one must be aware that one has some influence and that young listeners take one very seriously. This language is then passed on.

ICONIST: The problem of sexism goes beyond the texts shown by the #deutschrapmetoo initiative and gives those affected by sexualised violence in the rap industry a voice.

Tashan: I’m glad so many girls now dare to speak out. Especially when you are younger, you try to be cool, and you are afraid of being smiled at, so it is easy to say: “She is so annoying.” As a girl, you start to worry that you do not belong. Incidentally, many things have also appeared in Switzerland. I know one of the rappers against whom there are accusations very well.

The initiators of the hashtag in conversation

ICONIST: And how do you handle it?

Tashan: It is hard for me. The rapper is a homie of me, but if it turns out he’s done something wrong, I’ll distance myself. The biggest problem is actually that there is no open talk about mistakes in the scene. Everyone puts it under the rug, no one knows for sure. I think that if there are such allegations, it should be made clear.

ICONIST: Have you had bad experiences yourself?

Tashan: I was already in the studio as a 14-year-old, except for me there were only boys. Fortunately, nothing ever happened there. I was very confident right from the start and also flew to Los Angeles alone to make contacts there. But looking back, I wish maybe an older girl would take me to the studio and check me out a bit. That’s why I can really only advise young girls today: bring your girlfriends!

ICONIST: What really needs to happen for there to be more really successful female rappers?

Tashan: German rap is still very much dominated by men, I notice that too. The men support each other, they have this one bridge code (Rules Among Brothers, Editor’s note). We women must always fight for our place, it is no different in music than in business. Therefore, larger female artists absolutely need to give the female offspring a platform. And men should too!

This text is part of our Small Talk series, where we publish short conversations with interesting people.

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