No matter what German city you visit: you will come across graffiti art on the walls of buildings and underground stations, lampposts adorned with pieces of guerrilla knitting, rubbish bins with cookie monster eyes, and noise protection barriers sprayed with messages. Street artists transform the public realm into exhibition spaces. Of course you cannot simply spray any wall you like as that’s prohibited. Mind you, many municipalities today commission street artists with pieces destined to embellish the cityscapes. And whether their output is legal or illegal, one thing is for sure: street artists’ ideas are highly unusual and “off the cuff”. And quite often they are critical in their works – or say what bothers them.
Social criticism also looms large on the music scene. Most Hip Hop and Rap artists have little in common with their counterparts in the United States. Be it Cro, Die Fantastischen Vier, Fettes Brot, or the legendary Söhne Mannheims with frontman Xavier Naidoo: Rap made in Germany is decidedly witty, has a fine feel for the language and puts people in a good mood. Many Rappers – including those with migrant backgrounds – tend to write their lyrics in German. And German-language music is clearly gaining sway amongst young people: in June 2015 three German-speaking stars made it into the Top Ten album charts – a first in Germany’s music chart history.