photo: Danilo Sierra
The music industry has long been (and in many ways still is) a boys club, but things seem to finally become more open to women, thanks to the pioneering work of people such as The Black Madonna who’ve been especially vocal about the issues affecting women trying to become part of the music world. In Berlin, Salt + Sass is an interesting event series to check out if you want to learn more about these topics.
While our city is well-known for its electronic music scene, clubs and DJs, people tend to forget that Berlin is also home to a lively hip-hop scene, with collectives such as Broke Boys, Blunt’n'Roses, WEBOOGIE, Berries and more throwing legendary events that don’t rely on 4/4 beats. And guess what – women are representing too!
Here are 10 among our favorite Berlin-based female hip-hop DJs:
1. Sarah Farina
Part of the Through My Speakers family, Sarah Farina is among the best-known faces of Berlin’s music scene. She’s played most major venues here and abroad, and her futuristic beats mixed with R&B and UK Funky influences have made her sound extremely recognizable. She’s been on Boiler Room not once but three times and she does an amazing job at connecting hip-hop inspired sounds with bass music, which creates a really fresh sound that’s perfect for the summer months.
D.R.E.E.A is also a fixture of Berlin’s hip-hop scene. On top of being an artist and a writer, she is part of creative collective eVeWithoutAdam, is a DJ and hosts her own show on Berlin Community Radio. Her sound oscillates between rap, trap and hip-hop, but she also plays more club-oriented stuff as well as beats from the global south. She also knows her classics, having written about rap music a lot in the past, and she never forgets to include a few nostalgia-inducing R&B hits in her sets.
3. NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND
When she isn’t dropping some serious bass and UK garage inspired sound for BLN.FM on her own show and as a co-presenter for Fly High Radio, NOT YOUR GIRLFRIEND plays her favorite rap and trap songs, albeit often remixed in a bass-heavy way, at parties such as Blunts’n'Roses as well as other clubs and events throughout Europe. As a true sound digger and music lover, she started off on pirate radio. She also has strong ties to the fashion and design world.
4. Bella Cuts
Bella Cuts run a monthly radio show for Expatriarch, a Berlin-based music platform. She promotes music in a way that aims to fight sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia, and also produces her own music as well as being a seasoned DJ who plays at clubs such as Schwuz, Musik & Frieden, Mensch Meier and more. Catch her this year at YO! Sissy festival where she is sure to get your booty shaking!
5. That Fucking Sara
That Fucking Sara started DJing in 1995. She play using vinyls and she started collecting them when she as 9, so you can bet she knows her stuff! She loves Jay Z, DJ Premier, Prince and more, and her sets are a great crash course in classic hip hop. She has played all over Berlin in legendary clubs such as Cookies, Prince Charles, Südblock and more, and also plays in Switzerland often. Catch her if you can, you won’t regret it.
6. Sick Girls
Sick Girls are a DJ team which started out in 2004. Their motivation to start DJing was to be able to play (and hear!) music that was not techno in clubs and other venues. They’ve played all over the world and have become party organizers too, having booked major acts such as Spankrock or Radioclit in Berlin. They are really inspired by bass heavy sounds as well as dancehall, gangsta rap and more.
7.Dj PAM BAM
She recently played BERRIES, one of our favourite parties focusing on queer hip-hop and future sounds. Apart from hip-hop, rap and R&B, Dj PAM BAM also loves afrobeat and afrohouse as well as grime, and is well known for her catchy sets. You can find her spinning records at well-known Berlin venues such as Soho House, The Grand or Acud Macht Neu, and she also often delivers old school hip-hop sets.
8. White Lie
White Lie aka Whitest Female Hiphop DJ Alive started off as an experiment – in a city where techno music and male DJs reign supreme, could a freshly arrived Swede get herself behind the decks to play some hip-hop tunes? Spoiler alert: it worked! Now White Lie throws her own parties, helps other women she likes to get booked and plays a delightful mix of hip-hop, soul and jazz in various clubs and bars as well as on the radio, be it in Paris or Berlin.
9. Das She Cray
Das She Cray is a DJ collective that focuses on R&B, hip-hop and the most danceable tracks. They’ve played in renowned Berlin venues such as Prince Charles or Soho House as well as famous European clubs such as Razzmatazz in Barcelona, and they will be at Wilde Möhre Festival this summer. Expect a 90s inspired selection, danceable mashups and the occasional French rap track!
10. Berlin Disaster
Please allow me to pick up the crown of shameless self promotion before I introduce myself. Berlin Disaster is my music-making, freelance writing and over-tweeting alter ego. While my DJing project started a (long) while ago at local indie clubs, I am now focusing on this aspect of my career again as I believe there should be way more women behind the decks. I play hip-hop heavy sets inspired by reggaeton, R&B, jersey club and trap, and I like nothing more than making people dance.
I am happy to have been able to introduce you to all these amazing women – if you want more, White Lie and I will be hosting the very first installment of our new party series ‘Hip Hip Hip’ on June 25 at BASE MENT. Our female DJ only line-up will include Das She Cray, White Lie, Berlin Disaster, Bakläxa & ASHUS.
Find more information on Facebook.
Text: Camille Darroux