Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Maria Stehle

Committee Members

Stefanie Ohnesorg, Carolyn R. Hodges


This thesis examines the construction of identity in German Gangsta rap by taking a close look at the rappers Kollegah and Xatar, who are both using their music for self-portrayal. The selection of those two rappers can be justified by their commercial success in Germany and further by their differences as well as similarities in the construction of their images. The first chapter gives a historical overview of American and German rap. It also analyzes specific features and trends in German rap and describes the current status of research. The focus of the second chapter is on the rapper Kollegah, who is currently one of the most successful rappers in Germany. It analyzes the construction and deconstruction of a range of his images. The third chapter offers a similar analysis of the rapper Xatar and compares his self-portrayal to Kollegah’s. The personas themselves and their biographies are being considered for the analysis. However, the main focus in this paper is on their lyrics, which are being used to construct their rapper ‘images’ as gangsters. The lyrics also help the artists prove and present their authenticity. This also raises questions about authenticity in German Gangsta rap: what is realness in the genre of rap and what exactly makes a rapper ‘real’? Aside from that, political texts are being analyzed in this paper, as the number of rappers using political rap texts to express their own point of view is increasing. This thesis does not focus on the entirety of multimedia merchandising, but rather on text analysis. Finally, this paper considers future transformations of German Gangsta rap.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."