Before German rapper Gzuz even says a word in the video for his single "Was Hast Du Gedacht" ("What Did You Think") we've already seen lean being poured, somebody with their hands above a literal bucket of weed, and guns being loaded. The video, which premiered on WorldStarHipHop and quickly went viral, is a masterclass in how to pack both new and old rap cliches into one three-minute clip.
Gzuz, who is part of the German gangster rap collective 187 Strassenbande, has a new album on the way. The video's 5.6 million views in just six days is impressive, although fellow 187 member Bonez MC puts up even stronger numbers, routinely hitting eight figures on his clips. But "Was Hast Du Gedacht" has reached a massive American audience, many of whom aren't quite sure what to make of the visuals.
Noisey Germany assembled some of the reaction videos that have popped up, with commentators noting that Gzuz reminds them of 50 Cent or controversial MC 6ix9ine. There's no shortage of energy to Gzuz's raspy, menacing delivery, although a look at the track's translated lyrics show that it's mostly hitting the same well-worn topics as the video portrays.
"One funny thing about the German rap scene is that every trend from America’s scene appears in Germany like one or two years later. Many people even copy American rappers completely," they said. "We got a lot of different stuff over here. We guess it’s a similar diversity like in America’s scene; we have lyrical rappers, we have silly rappers, we have gangster rappers."
To that point, the prominence of lean in the video is noteworthy, since many American rappers like Mozzy and Famous Dex have made public comments about quitting the drug. Mozzy spoke at length to Complex about his personal battle with lean and its fraught relationship with hip-hop.
"And the rappers. We, us, as a people — we speak on it highly. How we pour up, and how we can’t sleep without it, can’t eat without it, and we fell in love with it," he said. "I just think as a people we promote it to be something that’s beautiful. And it’s not that."
As far as Gzuz's video, we just hope the cameraperson who had all those guns pointed at him is okay, and that whoever's iPhone they were doing cocaine off of had a quality screen protector. Watch it above and read our feature on the rise of hip-hop from around the world, as well as our list of 2017's best music videos.