Mystery, Murder, and Storytelling in the World of German Hip-Hop
Set against Berlin’s hip-hop scene is a music journalist’s dark tale. Insane interview subjects, artist breakdowns, festival freak-outs and, ultimately, a murder. Intrigued? All this could easily be the premise of the next great action movie, but instead, it’s the newest fictional podcast hitting headphones across Germany: Visa Vie’s “Das allerletzte Interview.”
The podcast, which translates into English as “The Very Last Interview,” is a fictional crime story that draws from the experiences of one of Germany’s most highly respected hip-hop journalists, Visa Vie, who knows the German hip-hop scene from the inside out. Now, she’s turned to podcasting, combining hip-hop with one of her other passions: crime stories.
The whodunit tells the story of a loner named Clara who wrangles her way into the role of a head editor for Germany’s biggest hip-hop magazine. However, Clara has a sinister intention. Her goal is to kill Germany’s most popular rapper—but only after their very last interview.
Visa Vie had been formulating the story for quite some time. Although it was drawn from her own experiences, writing and producing the podcast wasn’t easy. "For me, the whole project was one of the biggest challenges of my career," says Visa Vie. "I'm just incredibly proud to publish the first hip-hop crime series in Germany on Spotify."
Though modern German music is most commonly associated with rock or techno, the country’s hip-hop scene has grown since the 1980s, evolving into an equally important part of its musical culture. German hip-hop is home to a diverse range of styles that incorporates voices from the Turkish community, among other ethnic groups, that shape modern Germany. The Spotify playlist “Modus Mio,” a playlist for the German rap generation, has a huge presence on the platform, with over 740k followers.
“Das allerletzte Interview” isn’t the only fictional podcast to garner listener interest and streams. The American podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” has hooked its audience on tense and grisly tales of crime since 2012. It’s perhaps the intimate nature of putting in headphones and immersing ourselves in a story that has made crime and mystery podcasts so popular. Listeners are eagerly tearing through entire series as quickly as they can to uncover the truth and discuss their theories with friends.
Now, more storytellers around the world are writing podcasts. The growing number of people streaming (rather than just downloading stories) has helped to make Spotify the number two podcast-listening destination in the world. It means when people tune in, it’s not just music they’re listening to anymore. "Spotify has evolved from a pure music to an audio platform,” says Michael Krause, Managing Director EMEA of Spotify. “Podcasts and audiobooks are streaming a lot, especially in Germany, and have seen a tremendous upswing over the past year."
Fictional podcasts and other forms of audio storytelling have surged in popularity in recent years. Spotify has even expanded its original podcast offering to help listeners find their new obsession, be it fictional stories, mindfulness tips, or Stanley Cup debates. The allure, says Michael, is obvious. “The fact that we have the hip-hop crime story from Visa Vie on board for the fourth German Spotify Original Podcast is great. Rarely has a thriller been written with so much passion, background knowledge and references to the German rap scene.”
So whether you’re into fact, fiction, or something in between, look out for more and more audio options to take you to a world even beyond music.