text by Vincent Lindig
For the German text click here
LMNZ is probably who you would call a “jack of all trades”. Active in the HipHop scene for over
20 years, he has brought together artists from countless countries. For example 76 artists who rap
and sing in 29 languages on his compositions with his 2010 release “Worldwide Rap”.
And on his journey the studied sound engineer has taught himself a thing or two: in addition to his
activity as a rapper and performances in over 20 countries such as Ethiopia and Senegal, he works
as a music and video producer, cameraman, video editor and moreover has held over 1000 music
and video workshops in the field of political education in schools, prisons and refugee shelters.
This man delivers, one might think now. And he does. But there are also cracks in the facade of the
high achiever – and that’s exactly what his new EP, which bears the cryptic name “MG”, is about.
“MG” stands for “Markus Gram”, LMNZ’ civil name – but also for “Mentale Gesundheit” (mental
health), the core topic of the EP. In four songs he approaches the field in an intimate and
deeply personal way – by telling of traumatic experiences of his own life path, tracing the injuries
of people close to him and never loses sight of the social environment in all this. Sexualized and
physical violence, trauma, transience, visible and invisible suffering. “MG” bundles, as if under a
burning glass, the problems that find daily expression in a big city like Berlin.
But the EP also strikes calmer, introverted tones and looks deep into LMNZ’ own inner self.
What experiences make us the people we are? Which hurts make us stronger – and which ones make
us fearful, distrustful or aggressive? LMNZ spares nothing and vacillates between empowerment
and self-doubt on the EP’s songs. You’ve never heard LMNZ this personal before. And there is
another novelty: the entire EP is in German, previously LMNZ was almost exclusively rapping in
English. And it works!
“MG” is a product of the seemingly endless Corona lockdowns that have brought so much
uncertainty – and raised so many questions – especially for self-employed people in the cultural
sector like LMNZ himself. For LMNZ, “business as usual” was simply no longer an option when
everything came to a halt and bills piled up and gigs and workshops became a distant memory. He
interrupted the release cycle of his four-part “Elements-Series”, from which the EPs “Air”, “Water”
and “Fire” have already been released in 2019 and 2020, to step out of his self-made hamster
wheel for a while. With the help of Corona aid for artists, LMNZ was able to take time to reflect
and analyze the past few years, which have flown by as if in fast motion between a wide variety of
livelihood jobs, have conversations and understand the lives of friends better. This resulted in this
EP, which is now released before “Earth”, the fourth part of the “Elements-Series”.
LMNZ created all the productions on the album himself. He did not use any samples and composed
all melodies by myself. Heavy drums meet diverse layers and synths – and above it all LMNZ’ deep
and serious voice.
No light fare, no fodder for the algorithms of the big streaming giants.
But instead a collection of intense, honest and brave songs that fill a gap and bring some soul back
into an overdone, consumer-oriented HipHop scene.