Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi, better known as Bushido, is a self-styled gangster rapper who knows the value of bad publicity. The scandals that have followed the 34-year-old are not even almost too many to list – they are too many to list.
It is as if he and the German media long ago made an agreement that between them they would see how many political-correctness red buttons they could hit. Anti-Semitism, homophobia, gangsterism, misogyny, glorification of violence – you name it, he’s courted it – always with headline-grabbing effect.
Responsible in his youth for such rap lines as “I’ll make an attack like Tel Aviv, listen to my voice, I fuck your mother,” he released an album in 2007 called Number 1 Enemy of the State. It’s a role he seems to relish.
Yet two years ago he was awarded the Bambi media prize for integration – his father is from Tunisia, but he was born in Bonn and raised in Germany.
This prompted protests from other artists, although the prize is awarded by a media group and means little more than a good show in the press the following day.
Early this year he tweeted a map of the Middle East without Israel marked on, provoking further fury from embarrassed politicians.
It was partly in response to that reaction, that Bushido composed his latest sure-now-to-be hit track Stress Without Reason. It appears on an album by another rapper Shindy, called NWA Never Work Again (Nie Wieder Arbeiten).
The censors said the lyrics were “brutalizing, inciting to violence and discriminatory against women and homosexuals.” Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and Free Democratic Party MP Serkan Tören have filed charges after being verbally attacked in the song.
Now the album bearing that song will be on the youth censorship index, meaning it will only be allowed to be sold to adults. The aim, said Berlin’s city interior minister Frank Henkel, was to make it difficult for Bushido “to poison minds and make money from this CD,” the Tagesspiegel newspaper said on Thursday.
It may already be too late – the paper reported that in at least one major Berlin city centre music shop it was already sold out. And it is already high in the sales charts.
It is the first release for Bushido’s partner in the album, Shindy – who would never have received so much attention if it had not been for the help of his friend, the Tagesspiegel suggested.