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Porn and Gangster Rap

German-language rap has attracted considerable attention in the public and among those concerned with the protection of minors as it works with problematic texts. In their music dealing with porn or mobster issues, rappers such as Sido, Bushido, Frauenarzt or King Orgasmus One comment on all types of feasible and unimaginable sexual practices, rape and violence in a disrespectful and denigrating manner. 

Alongside this type of music, there are also non-commercial forms of rap music produced by young people themselves who put their products in the web. Some of the songs have a high affinity for young audiences and constitute an important part of youth culture. It can be assumed that the singers of such rap music serve as role models and offer a high potential for identification to minors. This trend is considered to be not without problems as regards the protection of minors.

During the last two years in particular, the KJM dealt with a large number issues distributed both via broadcasting and via telemedia which related to the content of rap music. In most instances, it concerned content put on the web in video platforms, or hip hop fora organised by young people themselves. Frequently, users generate images to accompany the music. This is considered less problematic than the texts themselves which in some cases deal with sexuality, gender images and violence in an alarming way. Language thus presents a key element for assessing whether the product has some relevance regarding the protection of minors.

Many songs also include elements of pornography, describing in a crudely attention-seeking manner sexual activities and, in some instances, unusual sexual practices. Women are described as sex servants for men and have to be available for sex at any time. Frequently, sexuality and violence are put into context: The sexual satisfaction of the man can be reached even against the will of the woman – that is the message of some songs. The content of such songs, some of which also have problematic pictures accompanying the music, are thus in direct contradiction to the objectives of education during adolescence: the formation of one’s gender identity and one’s own sexuality.

On the basis of the cases analysed, the KJM in the past repeatedly questioned the impact of texts and images of rap and hip-hop music on children and adolescents. Hardly any research exists for this complex. The public debate increasingly focuses on the issue of the sexual neglect of minors which is also attributed to these types of music. In order to obtain expert positions and scientific assessments for its work, the KJM discussed the relevance of rap and hip-hop music regarding the protection of minors in a hearing of experts.

Notwithstanding the criticism in the debates, it has to be emphasised that the protection of minors does not relate to questions of taste or issues of youth culture. It rather aims at keeping at a minimum those influences from the adult world to which the development reached by children and adolescents does not yet correspond, and at supporting minors in the development of their personality. In keeping with this, when dealing with porn and gangster rap, what matters is striking the right balance between the freedom of information and freedom of the arts on the one hand, and the responsibility vis-à-vis minors on the other hand.