Can you tell us something about Eminem?

Interview with Dendemann : "For me, Eminem is Shakespeare"

Charlotte Roche calls you the best rapper in Germany, the "Zeit Magazin" writes: "Dendemann either did everything wrong or right, because other people had great careers." What did you do wrong?

I've never worked a lot. And maybe put the ego before rational decisions. I was once part of a valuable brand.

From "Eins Zwo", a successful hip-hop duo in the late 90s.

For two weeks when we split up, I felt it was a relief. Until I realized I had to start from scratch again. A management consultant would have said, ask if you can keep calling yourself that. But that would have meant resistance, and I've always been a lazy dog. That had given me the worst civilian job in town, Hemer Lung Clinic in the Sauerland. Anyone who asks too late comes to the intensive care unit.

It took you eight years for your new album. One reason: Until 2017 you rapped for Jan Böhmermann's “Neo Magazin Royale”. Did you learn from television?

The most important thing right at the beginning: a program is not a work. It's a performance in front of an audience that is recorded and broadcast - everything will start all over again next week.

You developed into an astute commentator. As a boy you wanted to be a cabaret artist. Why not just write gags for others?

No, no, that failed relatively early. When Jan said it would be great if you did a one-liner too. For example: CDU birthday, everyone is standing on the table and shouting: “Will the real Wolfgang Schäuble please stand up?” No, forget it, you are too hard for me.

Why did Böhmermann want you on the show?

There is trust between us. Even if I twitched the content sometimes, I knew what he meant. He has incredible emotional intelligence. And with me he didn't have to worry that I would say something that might make him uncomfortable. The foreign shame is limited when one has Dendemann.


Dendemann, 44, is actually called Daniel Ebel and was one of the most important protagonists of early German rap. With DJ Rabauke he founded the band "Eins Zwo" in the 90s and released one of the most influential German rap records in 1999: "Dangerous Half-Knowing". Dendemann has been traveling solo since 2003 and released the records “Die Pfütze des Eisbergs” and “Gone from Vintage”. His album “Da nich für” will be released on January 25th. His tour for the album was immediately sold out in many German cities. From 2015 to 2017 the rapper was the musical sidekick in Jan Böhmermann's late night show “Neo Magazin Royale”.
Dendemann grew up in Menden, a small town in the Sauerland near Dortmund, and moved to Hamburg in 1996, where he made music with Fettes Brot, Samy Deluxe and the Absolute Beginners. More than 20 years later, he is sitting on the top floor of the Universal building. He now lives in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

It is early evening, and Dendemann orders a cup of espresso before the first word. When he is offered water for this, he replies: “For God's sake, no. I need calf cramps to feel myself at night. "

You are known for double rhymes: "I mean, my hip swing is a technical marvel that briefly accelerates the fall like Underberg." When do you think of something like that?

Somebody tells me something, the coffee machine rattles, I get it wrong, it's a rhyme. Or a beat is playing somewhere and it just falls out of my mind, I can hardly keep up with taking notes. I used to believe that writing had to be torture. I refused to use tools to help.

What kind of instruments do you mean?

Some rappers divide their sixteen verse into sections, make a list of vocabulary, with what they want to say, then look for suitable rhymes. Then they do the puzzles.

What is the difference to a good poem?

Doesn't exist. Both work best when they're neatly prepared, straight and flush.

Kendrick Lamar became the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. Who would you suggest for the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Eminem would have deserved it years ago, linguistically. For me that is Shakespeare, the roles he slips into, how he structures songs, his style - unbeatable.

One of your tricks: you modify proverbs. Did your parents screw you up with it?

Partly, yes. The sentences come from terrible times and are not empathic. The early bird catches the worm. How can you say such a thing to a child? Me as a dormouse. I am an advocate of all kinds of naps. I believe they are good for the brain.

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