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A German Rapper Went Viral on YouTube and Everyone in America Is Confused

“Bro, what? This man is doing cocaine off an iPhone!”
Meredith Balkus
translated by Meredith Balkus
Brooklyn, US

A version of this article originally appeared on Noisey Germany.

One day after it was published on YouTube, the video for Gzuz’s new single "Was Hast Du Gedacht" ("What Did You Think") already surpassed 1 million views and was the fifth top trending video in the US. Album pre-orders for the German rapper’s new LP Wolke 7 (“Cloud 9”) sold out four months before the record was even released, so it was no wonder that his German-speaking fans would eagerly dive into the first single. But instead of airing on 187 Strassenbande’s (187 Street Gang) channel, the video made its debut on WorldStarHipHop—a US video platform that has more than nine million subscribers, which explains why a staggering amount of American viewers wound up watching the Hamburg-based rapper.


While the video racks up more and more clicks, the YouTube reaction videos started popping up. At the moment, there’s almost 40. “Americans reacting to Deutschrap” has been around for some time already, but this time they’re not doing it to attract a German audience—now they’re just wondering who these “Germans” are, why they’re featured on WSHH, and are watching the video without bias. Our colleagues at Noisey Germany sifted through the most recent reaction videos so you can get to know Gzuz through the eyes of Americans seeing him for the first time, all of whom don’t understand a single word he’s saying but still attempt to decipher the whole thing while being bombarded by loaded guns, drugs, and women’s asses. Check out the videos below and embrace the fact that we’re all equally completely lost.

"This man looks crazy as shit. Hell fuck no." —Ashley Deshaun

“Where they at? Gzuz, this does not look like America,” Deshaun says, adding later that he reminds her a bit of 6IX9INE. Sure, both rappers are covered with tattoos and don’t exactly have what you’d call a nice, Sam Smith-like pop voice, but that’s it. 6IX9INE is a slender Latino guy with rainbow colored long hair, and Gzuz is… just Gzuz, Noisey Germany says. Or as Deshaun puts it later: “This man looks crazy as shit. Hell fuck no.”

She doesn’t understand exactly what’s being said, but she estimates that he’s possibly saying he wants to kill the entire nation. She attempts to look up and translate the lyrics, ultimately saying that—while she really likes his voice and wants to see more of him—in terms of content, Gzuz reminds her of regular American rappers.


"I didn't know they did this type of shit overseas!" —Tay and Drew

After they establish that theirs is a very happy relationship, Tay and Drew finally hit play and their jaws drop. While Tay is surprised that trap has also made its way to Germany, Drew looks on with wide eyes and remarks that Gzuz’s rapping reminds him of old 50 Cent vibes. Tay considers Gzuz “someone you don’t want to mess with,” and remarks that she takes everyone in the video more seriously than “American gangsters.” Both agree that the video feels pretty real and that no one is playing games: “If they say they’re gonna kill you, they’re gonna kill you.”

Once the track ends, Drew asks what the heck you’ve just watched. “Some real life gangsters,” answers Tay. He argues that you’d only see something like this in Gangland (a History Channel documentary series about dangerous gangs), concluding that it’s one of the craziest videos they’ve ever seen on YouTube.

"You mean to tell me that shit was loaded and you were still aiming it at the cameraman? Fuck that." —ImDontai

With over 650,000 subscribers, ImDontai is one of the biggest YouTubers to cover Gzuz, and is curious as to why the video has blown up in such a short period of time. The first thing that strikes him is the scene where people snort cocaine off an iPhone, although he doesn’t explain why he finds that so remarkable (would it be any less disturbing if they’d used a Samsung?).


ImDontai also gets the impression that the guys in the video aren’t people you want to mess with, and keeps repeating, “Oh my God.” His skepticism sets in when Gzuz smashes a bottle over his own head—“That’s gotta be some fake blood. Otherwise this [guy] is a psychopath.” (Editor’s note: We know for a fact that it’s actually real blood.)—and he doesn’t know what to think when the video is over. He suggests the video blew up in the US purely because of the shocking images of drugs and violence.

"This is the realest shit I've ever seen." —TalkToBrandon

Because we wanted to hear anything that hadn’t already been addressed in previous reaction videos, we checked out TalkToBrandon, who’s already been responding to the countless Deutschrap videos that his German-speaking followers suggest to him. He doesn’t even realize that the video is running on WSHH and immediately expects that he’ll encounter tons of weapons, drugs, women, and even more weapons. He’s not wrong, of course.

All the content in the video is so criminal that he feels bad for the cameraman. Between the countless loaded weapons being pointed at his lens, drugs everywhere, and women twerking left and right, Brandon guesses that the guy must’ve “not wanted to be associated with this shit” and asked not to be credited for his work. Brandon concludes that this is indeed “literally the realest shit I’ve ever seen.”

So now that we’ve established that Gzuz definitely isn’t playing any games and the video for “Was Hast Du Gedacht” is on an entirely different level, you might be wondering: Who the hell is this guy, and what the heck is 187 Strassenbande? The latter is a Hamburg-based rap crew consisting of mastermind Bonez MC, rappers Gzuz, Maxwell, LX, Sa4 and their producer, Jambeatz. After spending three years in prison for robbery, Gzuz released his debut Ebbe & Flut (“Ebb & Flow”) in 2015, launching him to national stardom in Germany. The album gave the German street rap scene back its edge and took it to a new level of musical diversity. Gzuz and 187 revived the genre and made it authentic—suddenly German gangster rap was cool again, and the crew became one of the most successful and celebrated crews in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Gzuz’s new album Wolke 7 (“Cloud 9”) will be out on May 25.