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Album of the week with Symba: Supersoft German rap superman


Oops, everything is pretty emo here: the Berlin rapper Symba dismantles the hardest German rap clichés on his easy-going debut: »Symba Supermann« is our album of the week. Also: News from Sam Smith and Samia.

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Rapper Symba on the cover of his debut album

Album of the week:

Symba – »Symba Superman«

Cotton balls instead of verbal battles: In this unusual and therefore entertaining German rap debut, it is made clear right at the beginning that things are more emphatic here than with other representatives of the genre: "Write me hdgdl, maybe I'll send a heart then," Symba sings in "Hdgdl « to Afro rhythms suitable for summer hits and funny squeaking noises.

For all older semesters: The abbreviation hdgdl in WhatsApp slang stands for "I love you very much", the heart emoji is a common replica if you like the SMS message very much: Love it.

Even the grandiose cover artwork of his album makes you want to exclaim "Awww!", because the 23-year-old Berlin rapper is wearing a Superman costume and looks as muscularly padded as certain ultra-sexist and macho battle rap colleagues from Friedberg or Düsseldorf, but looks rather shy and dazed from this martial laundry: The eponymous superman Symba is

super sad

- and

the eleven new tracks on his album are presented as

emo .

"Some people carry weapons, other people carry pain," he raps in his laconic, melodic singsong.

His fans have had to wait a long time for an album by the rapper, actor and director who was born Sylvain Mabe in 1999 (including »Bibi & Tina«, »Sløborn«).

Since 2018, the Berliner with roots in Cameroon has already released 21 singles.

In 2020 he had a chart hit with the trap-rap song »Angels Sippen«.

In it, as in other early works such as »PS2« or »Maxi King«, he still acted like a likeable wannabe gangsta, rapping staccato, calling women »Shawty« in line with the genre and flirting with a playboy lifestyle, strolling up and down the Kreuzberg Mehringdamm .

Symba founded the now very popular rap collective Playboymafia in 2017 together with his buddies Pashanim, RB 030 and Abuglitsch.

However, while Pashanim, the best known and most successful of the gang of four, with his latest single "6561" (stands for the old postal code for Wedding and the western part of Kreuzberg) is harder than ever and plays with battle rap motifs, luxury brands and bloke behavior, Symba forms the softer counterpoint.

To soft, elastic beats and sometimes too sweet synth pop, built by arrest warrant producer Bazzazzian, among others, he looks skeptically to amused at the big puke fetishes of the scene.

But he takes a closer look behind the masks of the self-styled hip-hop superheroes: "Four guys in a Mercedes car, I think it'll be a tour bus," he sneers in "Power Ranger", "Zürich,

Instead of Gucci sweaters and Moncler jackets, he wears his good old Nikes, instead of four iPhones he carries a cash register model with him ("I'm on Nokia, not on Facetime") and at parties ("Late time") he thinks about whose Gucci clothes are definitely



Two central tracks make Symba perhaps a prototypical representative of a more thoughtful and emotional new generation of rappers, sensitive to young people's mental paralysis and their fears of the present and the future.

Between the rhymes of his flow, which always reaches into pop, mischievous things often flash out, but it also often seems as if Symba has internalized the credo of all supermen (and superwomen): With great power comes great responsibility.

The power, of course, comes from youth and popularity.

But responsibility?

What else for?

Oh yes, for life!

"Everyone wants this, but nobody does it for it," he sings in "Mama, we're sad" - and closes the eponymous refrain with the postscript: "I don't know why either." only in the transfiguration so before, he knows in the same piece.

But that doesn't stop him from dreaming back to supposedly blissful childhood days with Tamagotchi, "Super Mario" and "Street Fighter 3" on the Playstation.

Grow up?

"I don't even know what that means, Digger," he raps in "Life is Dangerous."

The »world out there can be stressful«.

But if you're always careful, never smoke weed, go over the top or do something stupid,

So Symba wears his sneakers, a pair of 50 (but only five T-shirts), »relaxed« and prances along the Mehringdamm boulevard with his casual style, not on the wild, but on the gentle side.

Anyone who suspects a political message from a black man about racism in Germany in the last track »White« is skillfully lured onto the wrong track.

In the touching pop song lyrics about an apparently lost love, only the precious retro sneakers are radiantly “white”.


Listened briefly:

Sam Smith - »Gloria«

The good news: Sam Smith, UK's newly non-binary ballad star, has felt comfortable in his body since fully embracing his queerness and affirms that he loves and appreciates himself more now than when he was "way too good at goodbyes". was.

Now, dressed in an Abba shirt or glittery onesie, he loudly says hello (to song guests Jessie Reyez and Ed Sheeran) and gushed ahead of the release of his fourth album that this time everything is finally the way he's always wanted it to be .

In advance there were actually new, quite unorthodox sounds from Smith: the oriental-majestic get out of the closet anthem »Unholy« with Kim Petras, which was the first song with the participation of a non-binary and a trans person to top the US charts topped.

And the dancehall-influenced "Gimme," starring Reyez and Jamaican singer Koffee.

The bad news: That's it with the musical innovations.

The rest of "Gloria" offers the over-smooth radio pop and ballad stuff that made Smith famous as a heartbreak singer-songwriter.

Even the best track, the self-assured one-night stand empowerment "I'm Not Here To Make Friends," is disco for domesticated.

Maybe Gloria will be followed by Hallelujah when Smith really doesn't care about losses anymore.

the self-assured one-night stand empowerment "I'm Not Here To Make Friends," is disco for domesticated ones.

Maybe Gloria will be followed by Hallelujah when Smith really doesn't care about losses anymore.

the self-assured one-night stand empowerment "I'm Not Here To Make Friends," is disco for domesticated ones.

Maybe Gloria will be followed by Hallelujah when Smith really doesn't care about losses anymore.


Samia - »Honey«

Nothing beats a good, bittersweet break-up album: »I hope you marry that girl from your hometown/ And I'll fucking kill her/ And I'll fucking freak out«, sings Samia in the first track of her excellent second album »Honey«: Before that, the song's protagonist also woke up with the nightmare of being pregnant from the ex, what a horror - which is beautifully contrasted by the music box cuteness of the music played on the organ.

However, it doesn't remain so sensually balladesque all the time, but also asserts itself with songs like "Mad At Me" or "Sea Lions" with a slight country note in contemporary electropop.

Samia Najimy Finnerty is 26, comes from New York and now lives in Nashville.

The narrative density of their new songs is as impressive as the poignancy

with which she presents her everyday and emotional observations.

Taylor Swift doesn't have to be afraid of this newcomer yet, but with the songs from "Honey", which first sad, then defiantly slide towards new confidence, Samia picks up fans of pop star Olivia Rodrigo as well as fans of fellow songwriters like Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker.


Evita Manji - "Spandrel?"

The musician Evita Manji, who lives in Athens, has been a regular guest at electronic festivals for a while or presents her hitherto rather brightly sparkling hyperpop draft in trendy clubs.

On her new album she deals with the accidental death of her partner, PC music star SOPHIE, and finds a fascinatingly dark depth in her music through the loss.

The word »Spandrel«, which actually comes from architecture, describes a physical feature in the evolutionary biography that has no obvious survival purpose, for example something decorative like the chin.

But to what extent is life decor, like love and partnership, essential, emotionally as well as physically?

Manji creates electrifying industrial-eurotrash hybrids like »Body/Prison«,

wispy techno ballads like »Oil/Too Much« – or build sacred Goth sound cathedrals like »Closer to Midnight«, which in some moments are reminiscent of similar sound-exploring border crossers like Arca.

It never gets too disruptive, but fortunately not kitschy either.

Light and catharsis break through bright, hymn-like melodies and whipping beats into dark shadows and make the weary body twitch: experimental pop... also a kind of spandrel, right?


Complete Mountain Almanac - »Complete Mountain Almanac«

At the end of April, after a four-year break, the popular indie rock brooding band The National will release a new album.

In the meantime, the two busy band brothers Bryce and Aaron Dessner have been involved in a project that deserves no less attention: "Complete Mountain Almanac" is a folk album with the song titles strictly structured according to the months of a year, which the Dessner's sister Jessica conceived with the Norwegian singer Rebekka Karijord: a melancholic-fatalistic meditation on climate change and the inevitability of natural processes;

Karijord once composed the soundtrack to a documentary about Greta Thunberg.

The crystalline and carefully instrumented songs also gain additional depth because

that Jessica Dessner processed breast cancer and a mastectomy in her texts.

As depressing as the themes are, as warm and comforting are the folk melodies and electronic sounds that this extended band family found.

»Nothing to do about it/ Everything happening to me is of the earth«, Dessner sings in »May«, one of the most beautiful and at the same time most oppressive songs: »Has she come to deliver me?« Trembling songs in the hope of healing.


Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2023-01-27

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