Controversial rapper Bushido can again sell his album to minors says court | Music | DW | 16.05.2018
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Controversial rapper Bushido can again sell his album to minors says court

The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons put the album Sonny Black on its blacklist for violent, misogynistic lyrics. But gangsta rapper Bushido got his day in court and the work can be sold to minors.

Victory for Bushido: The gansta rapper's controversial album Sonny Black may again be sold to minors after a ruling by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster.

The judges decided that the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons had not carefully weighed the arguments between youth protection and artistic freedom when it classified the album as inappropriate for minors in 2015. 

In 2016, the Cologne Administrative Court had initially confirmed the classification. Even if the album was recognized as a "work of art," the case for youth protection was stronger, the judges had argued.

Bushido has long caused controversy due to his sexist, racist and homophobic lyrics, his glorification of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, and alleged mocking of Charlie Hebdo victims; he has also spent time in an Austrian jail for assault.

Yet his popularity remains undaunted, with his 2014 album Sonny Black reaching number one on the charts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Indeed, among the collaborators on the album were battle rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang, who have stirred a massive recent controversy due to anti-Semitic lyrics that nonetheless won them the Echo Prize for best album.

Read moreGerman rappers Kollegah, Farid Bang charged with hate speech

Flash-Galerie Prominente Herkunft Ausland (picture-alliance/dpa)

Rapper Bushido has had his day in court and won — despite his incendiary rhymes

'Ironic context' not recognizable

Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons justified the initial classification by saying that the lyrics glorify violence and a criminal lifestyle. In addition, many passages were hostile to women and homosexuals. An "ironic context," or a distancing of the artist from violence and crime, was not recognizable.

On the contrary, lyrics like "Guck, die Ghettokids, sie nehmen meine Lebensweise an" ("Look, the ghetto kids, they accept my way of life") show that he deliberately targeted his messages to minors; and that there was a strong likelihood that young people would adopt the many pejorative terms used by Bushido.

Read more:  Why gangsta rap's aggro style appeals to the masses

However in the Münster court, the 39-year-old rapper successfully argued that adolescents are routinely exposed to more realistic portrayals of violence and sex in today's media than in his deliberately over-hyped gangster rap imagery.

Sonny Black will again be sold to minors once the judgment in the Munster court becomes final.

Watch video 04:58

Gangsta rap stands accused

sb/ct (dpa, afp)

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