Turkish Hip Hop: Cartel

A friend recently talked to me about a Turkish Hip Hop group called Cartel. She told me they wanted to be the voice of the minority, the underdog. I looked into them and they turned out to be a very interesting group. Cartel is made up of three groups of rappers: Erci E., Karakan, and Da Crime Posse. They gained popularity in 1995, specifically in Germany (although they’re very well known in Turkey). Their music can be described as having a mixture of hip-hop, Arabesk, and Turkish folk dance music. Interestingly enough, the group has Turkish and German members, as well as a Cuban member. They include Spanish, German, and English into their songs, influenced by Reggaeton and reaching out to their Western audiences.

Their lyrics are inspired by social and political issues around the world to encourage the empowerment of minorities and of oppressed peoples. Cultural pride is a common theme in their songs as well. I’m curious to see what others think of them!

These are two links to their songs, one more upbeat than the other.

The mellow one: “Sen” (meaning “you”)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMbjpgND0gs

The lyrics/translation of the song (with the exception of the Spanish verse!): http://lyricstranslate.com/en/sen-you.html


And “Bir Oluruz” (meaning something along the lines of “equality”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS2D9l_zmxw&feature=relmfu

I couldn’t find an english translation to it, but everyone should listen to it and hear the American music references. Enjoy!

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1 Response to Turkish Hip Hop: Cartel

  1. Kelly Hyland says:

    I found Cartel’s music and appearance both very interesting. I found that, even without the translated lyrics to the second song, the “Bir Oluruz” was slightly comical, as I enjoyed the American music and culture references. Appearance-wise, this group gave off a boyband-like vibe, from the staging in the music videos to the way they dressed (matching black suits with slightly different accessories). I would be interested to know how large of a following Cartel has in Turkey, Germany, and the United States. It is interesting to consider the transnational implications of such a diverse group, as many peoples from different nations may be able to identify with the group members and music. I love the idea of a group standing for “the underdog”, as such a wide range of people can relate to this concept!

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