A version of this article originally appeared on VICE Germany.
Austria is responsible for some of the greatest musical talents of all time, including Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and, more recently, drag queen and Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst. But today, we’re talking about a less familiar and far more disgraced Austrian artist – a rapper known as Mr. Bond, who shares his name with the fictional British spy and another totally unrelated rapper based in San Antonio, US.
The far-right musician openly hates Black people, Jews, Muslims, women and queer people – anyone who’s not a white, cis, straight man. Some critics accuse him of appropriating hip-hop, a Black art form, to spread his ideology. But the truth is, he’s been stealing from other genres, too – pop, punk, EDM, you name it – to remake otherwise iconic songs into hate speech.
His music, which is recorded in English, helped him become a sort of figurehead for other far-right supporters and neo-Nazis in Austria and abroad. In early December 2021, the Vienna prosecutor’s office filed charges against 36-year-old Philip H. – Philip is Mr Bond’s real first name – accusing him of "having acted in the spirit of Nazism", a crime for which he could be sentenced to up to 20 years. Mr. Bond's defence attorney recently filed an objection, arguing that his client is allegedly not the real author of the texts on which the charge is based. The local court responsible for the case must now decide how to proceed.
Mr. Bond’s origin story starts back in 2016, when he put together his first covers album. His tracks are usually famous hip-hop hits – including many by some of the biggest names in Black hip-hop, like Jay Z, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg – which he re-records, changing the lyrics to neo-Nazi ones. Titles include “White and I Luv It”, a remake of Young Jeezy’s “I Luv It”; “Shady Kikes”, after “Day ‘N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi; and “Pop Some Fags” after Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”. He even turned Jay Z’s classic “99 Problems” into “88 Problems”, a reference to HH – short for “Heil Hitler”.
The irony of an Austrian man declaring his pride for his white European roots by performing in a language and style created by Black people on the other side of the world isn’t lost on anyone. Nonetheless, over the course of the following three years, Mr. Bond released four more of these albums, including two named after Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The cover of the first record shows Hitler in a thick gold chain and sunglasses, posing in front of a limousine and a tank. The second also features the genocidal dictator, this time in a Supreme bucket hat posing in front of an atomic mushroom cloud, a reference to an album cover by N.W.A.'s Eazy E.
In January 2021, Mr. Bond was arrested for distributing Nazi propaganda and sedition. At the time, he was living at his parents’ house. On searching the premises, police found weapons, Nazi and neo-Nazi paraphernalia, hard drives with matters of interest to the investigation – and the lyrics to his songs.
Prior to his arrest, Mr. Bond had been quite active on 8chan (now rebranded as 8kun) and on far-right forums on the dark web. There, he allegedly connected with an international network of far-right supporters. He also met with other neo-Nazi groups in Vienna and had links with the Identitarian Movement, a pan-European far-right party centred around the figure of Austrian politician Martin Sellner.
According to an investigation by the Austrian daily Der Standard, he even helped with the 2018 election campaign of Republican politician and Holocaust denier Patrick Little (Little lost that election and was later kicked out of the Californian GOP convention due to his extremist beliefs). And yet, Mr. Bond had no love for another, famously racist Republican – in his song "Dear Donald," he accused former US President Trump of betraying white America.
For years, Mr. Bond cultivated a following in the neo-Nazi internet scene, all while flying under the local authorities’ radar. That changed in 2019, the year that saw multiple far-right terrorist attacks – the shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 28-year-old Brenton H. Tarrant killed 51 people attending Friday prayer at two local mosques; the Halle shooting, which saw 29-year-old Stephan Baillet attempt to storm a synagogue in Eastern Germany on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, killing a passerby and a man in a kebab shop; and the assassination of centre-right German politician Walter Lübcke, murdered in his home for his pro-refugee stance.
Mr. Bond hailed the assassination, calling the killer “a German hero” on one of the forums he was active on. He also allegedly translated the whole 87-page manifesto published by the Christchurch attacker into German and posted it online for dissemination.
It seems it was precisely these ties to far-right terrorism that brought Mr. Bond down. Inspired by the Christchurch attack, the Halle shooter also decided to stream his attack on Twitch, using a helmet-mounted camera. Baillet then played a song by none other than Mr. Bond for part of the Twitch stream.
Based on comments seen by Der Standard, Mr. Bond initially seemed enthusiastic about the Halle attack and his marginal role in it. However, five days after the facts, he changed his mind. "Now it's official,” he declared online. “The guy shot just two Germans, no Muslims or anything like that. A huge failure.”
Despite his disappointment, the track put him straight on the authorities’ radar. It’s still unclear if the police had looked into him at all before that point; in fact, Mr. Bond’s songs used to be widely available on all major streaming platforms, which was one way he funded his work. (These tracks have now been taken down, so it’s difficult to estimate how many people were listening to him on Spotify, Apple Music and other conventional music services.)
Mr. Bond’s arrest had quite the effect on far-right circles. Fans complained about it on Telegram neo-Nazi groups. One admin commented: "He has shown us a glimpse into a better world where we are unchained and our views are expressed in its entirety", adding: "Let our memories of him never fade from our thoughts."
When we think about white supremacist music, we tend to imagine punk skinhead bands screaming hate lyrics into a mic. That’s not what Mr. Bond was about. Sam Sutherland, a music YouTuber, podcaster and author, dedicated an entire video explaining the existence of white power rap back in 2013. “White supremacists need to keep it fresh,” he says in the clip. “They need a new medium to spread the message about protecting the white race. They need hip-hop.”
By now, the far-right’s remarkable ability to repackage their old school hate in new ways – say, with memes – is pretty well-known. In the 40s, Nazi propaganda billboards and movies were one way of doing it. White power rap is another. As long as fascism can embrace and adapt to pop culture, it will remain as insidious as ever.