Queer feminist rapper, singer and producer Finna is signed to the German indie-label Audiolith Records, who gathers antifascist musicians fighting against sexism and racism in the music industry. The Hamburg-based artist told us about body positivity, beatmaking, inclusivity and her upcoming album Zartcore, which will be released on May 20.
How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?
The first time I looked at hip hop in a positive way, was 10 years ago when I heard about queer feminist rapper Sookee and the hip hop collective TickTickBoom. I was totally amazed and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this because they were using hip hop for political messages. So my first single ever was called “Musik ist Politik”s, which means music is politics, and I have tried to live this message until today.
How and when did you start rapping?
I started rapping 7 years ago. I signed up for a workshop at a festival called “Bigger than” in Hannover, Germany with the fantastic rapper Sir Mantis and I totally fell in love with playing with words, rhymes, and beats.
But when I started rapping in a professional way, everything went very fast with the big music industry, and I had a mental breakdown after two years because the pressure was too hard for me. So I’m very glad to be okay today and know that it’s also okay not to be okay when you’re doing music.
You are also a beatmaker. Are you self-taught or did you receive any training or musical education (either formal or informal)?
Yes. I asked everybody I knew to help produce my music at the beginning and learned a lot from YouTube tutorials. But today, I have a very nice network with other fe*male producers in hip hop and can ask them for help and feedback.
For every beat since my single “Overscheiß”, I have worked with a very talented producer, Spoke, who mixes everything and adds some sounds if something is missing. I love Spoke very much for this co-production and teamwork. I think you already interviewed Sorah, whose beatmaker is also Spoke.
When did you create the character of Finna and how would you define her?
I never really created a character. Finna is the name, how everybody calls me also in private and that’s pure me. I always thought it would be nice to have something different or an art figure but that felt wrong for me and my music, because my texts felt like writing a diary. Sharing my personal empowerment and breakdowns, and also being soft and brave are ones of my trademarks.
In 2020, you released the track “Overscheiß” that celebrates body diversity. How can rap be a tool to promote body-positivity?
I think rap is the best tool to say what you think and the best speaking tube for political messages. “Overscheiß” was also my comeback-track after a big break. I knew everybody wanted to comment on my body, but I wanted to say first what I thought about my body and just not let them comment on it.
Also the video was a pure empowering experience for me, because my friends who are also body-positive activists like Magda Albrecht, Saskia Lavaux, Ina Holub and Helene were with me.
Despite the beauty standards operating in hip hop, rap appears to be more inclusive than any other music genres. Do you agree with that?
I don’t know, maybe. But in the music industry, these beauty standards and norms also work in a capitalistic way. Especially with German major labels, I see that there has not been any space for inclusion until now. I really hope that it will change because it should be more inclusive, and hip hop or rap are politically important because of their history.
You just released the track and video “Zartcore”, which has a strong trap vibe. Do you relate to trap or any other rap genre?
I love trap, but sometimes I like to mix it up with acoustic or rock elements. In “Zartcore” for example, we recorded live drums with queer feminist rock drummer Lars Watermann and indie rock queen Saskia Lavaux on E-Bass to spice up the electronic trap production and I love it. These are two genres that match really well for me.
Your album Zartcore will be available on May 20. What should we expect?
It is a soft and brave statement and a completely D.I.Y. album made in a queer feminist bubble. It talks about slut prides, being a mother, how it is to fail, and has many politically messages against patriarchy and songs for the queer community. I really can’t wait to share everything with that album. It took me years to take this big step and now I’m readier than ever.
How do you usually write? Do you have any favorite topics or routines?
I really love to start with a mind map and collect everything intuitive for the topic I want to write about. But sometimes something catches me from the very first second and I just let it flow.
Which of your songs are you most proud of and why?
I think I love “Overscheiß” the most because it took me very much courage to release it and to come back in the music industry. And I love how the whole production has empowered me to go on until today.
What major issues did/do you have to face throughout your career?
I think the major issues are myself. I struggle a lot with my self-doubts. Releasing and showing myself is not always easy for me but I’m very glad about my network who is caring about me and has love for me and my self-doubts.
What are the female and queer rap scenes like in Hamburg?
Really really cute, nice and talented af! Especially our fe*male hip hop collective Fe*Male Treasure is the best and super supportive but also the friends and rappers around Fe*male Treasure are the best. <3
Who are your role models?
How would you define your own feminism?
Intersectional, soft, empowering, fighting, and supportive.
Do you have other upcoming projects besides your new album and your tour?
I’m taking a training to become a sound engineer and my first exams went very well. Now I’m going on and want to become a pro in the studio to support my fav fe*male rappers.
What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?
I love your supportive community and have been following you for a few years now. To be here in this interview is like a dream come true. Thank you soooooo much for having me and support my work with your platform. Please don’t change a thing! <3
© Katja Ruge