Rapper Kollegah rejects accusations of anti-Semitism

Rapper Kollegah rejects accusations of anti-Semitism
Kollegah, left, performing with Farid Bang at the award ceremony in April. Photo: DPA
In an interview on Monday, Controversial German rapper Kollegah has rejected accusations of anti-Semitism, saying in an interview that his 'sensibility' towards history has grown.

The 34-year-old said in an interview with the DPA in Munich that “for me, racism or any form of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, colour, religion, or another characteristic make absolutely no sense.”

“In my world, racism and anti-Semitism are something absurd,” he added. “They go totally against my understanding of the world.”

Kollegah caused a huge controversy in April when he and fellow rapper Farid Bang won the Echo award, then Germany's top music award, in spite of accusations of anti-Semitism.

The rapper triggered a new wave of outrage in a recent interview with “hiphop.de”, in which he compared the murder of six million Jews with the situation in the Palestinian region and thus triggered a new wave of outrage. “My comparison referred purely to the deaths of innocent people,” he declared.

However, ever since Kollegah, whose real name is Felix Blume, visited the memorial site of the former German death camp Auschwitz along with Bang in July, he has been reformed, he told dpa.

His “fundamental sensibility towards the Holocaust, as well as comparable events in history,” has grown, said the rapper, originally from Friedberg in Hesse.

An award discontinued

Kollegah and Bang won best hip hop/urban album for “Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend III” in April, which included the line “Mein Körper definierter als von Auschwitz-Insassen” (My body more defined than that of an Auschwitz inmate) in the song “O815”. The pair even performed the song at the awards ceremony.

SEE ALSO: Controversy as 'anti-Semitic rappers' win top music awards

After Kollegah won the award in April, the German Music Industry Association, the BVMI, initially defended the prize, saying that the decision was based on music sales, rather than the quality of the music.

However, following much backlash in which numerous artists returned their prizes, the Echo award itself was discontinued in April after 26 years.

“The Echo brand is so badly damaged that a complete new beginning is necessary,” said Germany's Music Industry Association, adding that the “Echo will be no more.”

The controversy didn't hamper the hip-hop efforts of Kollegah, who on December 7th will release his new album Monument. The rapper, who has said he will not rap any more about the Holocaust, instead has songs taking a stab at authority, with lyrics such as “F#@k the state, I'm the leading figure.”

SEE ALSO: Germany's main music award to be abolished over win for anti-Semitic rap album

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