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Germany's Most Controversial Rapper Talks Islam, Hypocrisy and Charlie Hebdo

One day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, Bushido posted a rather insensitive selfie on his social media. VICE Germany asked him what he was thinking.

This post originally appeared on VICE Germany

Anis Ferchichi aka Bushido aka Sonny Black is Germany's answer to Rick Ross when it comes to scandals, and Maybach Music when it comes to success. One of Germany's most successful rappers and label owners, Bushido is also the most controversial and provocative mainstream star in Germany. The unclear extent of his Islamic faith, his ties to the dubious figure Arafat Abou Chaker, rumours about domestic violence and last but not least, his frequently sexist and homophobic lyrics have earned Bushido a lot of media attention in recent years.

Additionally, German premiere feminist Alice Schwarzer has been in an ongoing beef with Bushido, politicians have sued him over lyrics that sounded like death threats and rapper Kay One was temporarily under police protection after denouncing his former mentor as a "mafia puppet" and "lapdog of the Abou Chaker clan".

Regardless of whether you agree with his simplistic world view and the ambiguous messages of his music, one has to acknowledge the fact that his success, reach and media presence render him a large influence on German youth – particularly young male immigrants with a Muslim background.

One day after the Charlie Hebdo attack Bushido posted a selfie wearing a Nike sweater with a 'Paris' logo and the claim "Things are going to kick-off again soon! #ccn3 #ccn3willtearafewnewones" on his social media. Understandably, outrage ensued and few people – apart from his die-hard fans – believed that all he meant was to promote his new upcoming album CCN3. Once again, Bushido demonstrated a clever – even though not very thoughtful – tactic of manipulating a PR stunt. Reproaches hailed down, claiming Bushido was mocking the victims of Charlie Hebdo, while many fans and even some music journalists identified the outrage as racism, claiming caucasian German rapper Prinz Porno wore the same sweatshirt the same day and got virtually no media attention whatsoever.

VICE Germany long-term contributor Marcus Staiger visited Bushido in his home to talk about the reasons for the inappropriate post and his role in tough gangster rap and Islam. Staiger used to own RoyalBunker—one of Germany's most influential hip hop labels, which turned out to be the birthplace of many of the most relevant German rap stars today.