A visit with Moses Pelham: Frankfurt native, rap legend, music producer, holder of the Goethe Plaque of the City of Frankfurt – and Opel fan.

“The Car is Freedom:
Hit the Road, Listen to Music”

A grey Insignia Sports Tourer is parked in front of the door of the record label “3p”. The “flagship of the region”, as Moses Pelham calls it in his song “Insignia”. The chorus is: “Boom, this is the tape for the Insignia. Because this was always the first love.” A declaration of love to the big Opel. Rapped – and immortalised on his latest album „Nostalgie Tape“.

A touch of nostalgia also winds its way through the interview we report on here. It was conducted by editor Jörn Thomas of auto motor und sport, who got one of the rare appointments with Moses. Thomas is a fan of Pelham, he grew up with the rapper’s razor-sharp lines, which he still knows by heart.

Popular: The successful producer shows us his Frankfurt, we show him the new electric Mokka.

“The new album has some of the directness of the past again. Directly written. Directly produced.”

– Moses Pelham –

Staying true to oneself and yet changing: This philosophy also connects these two models – the Mokka-e and the Manta A, from which the new Opel face called Vizor is derived.

Accordingly, the interview picks up speed quickly. Moses – relaxed in his chair – explains how it is: with time, the beats and the lyrics. How it all started, with bold, provocative German rap. How success came. The halls filled up. The love grew. How the beats still form in his head today – and how difficult it is sometimes to bring it all together. Let’s join the interview: Jörn Thomas asks Moses how easy it is for him to fill new albums today.

Every album is the the result
of intense brooding

Moses looks at his hands, takes two, three breaths, then answers in a calm voice: “My albums are always the result of intense brooding. I work endlessly on the pieces. With the new album ‚Nostalgie Tape‘ it was less so. But it’s also difficult to let go, to throw out tracks. In the past, we recorded the tracks – and then tossed them. Today it’s harder to get 14 tracks together that all meet my standards. The new album has some of the directness of the past again. Directly written. Directly produced. It has an energy that it doesn’t usually have with me.”

Downtown: Editor Jörn Thomas with the Manta in “Mainhattan”.
A view of the Eschersheimer Turm: „Nirgends so schee wie daheim (Nowhere’s as nice as home)”, is a line in the song „From Frankfurt With Love“, released on the album „Nostalgie Tape“.
A stop in the Westend: Moses was the class spokesman at the Bettinaschule when his first single, “Twilight Zone”, hit the charts in 1988.

Jörn Thomas asks: So it’s still fun? Moses: „I started when I was twelve. I’ve always had fun doing it, but at some point felt it wasn’t going in the right direction. So towards reason and reconciliation. I deviated from that again for this one album. One last time. And that youth centre atmosphere really released energy!“

Remarkable development

Later in the interview, it’s about Moses‘ passion for cars: So would it not be a loss for you if you no longer had your own car, but instead had car-sharing or something similar? Moses: „I would never share a motorcycle, with a car it would depend. A classic car, no, otherwise maybe. But I understand if someone rejects that on principle. For me at my age, it’s a remarkable development, but in my generation you associate freedom with your first car: hitting the road, listening to music, driving around. That mindset is increasingly rare today, as is the social exchange when you drove somewhere with several people.“

Fan meets rap legend: Jörn Thomas from „auto motor und sport“ got one of the rare interview appointments with Moses Pelham.

Manta meets Opel Mokka-e: The Opel Stromer convinces with its handling, its style and wins the „Golden Steering Wheel 2021“.

Today, he likes to drive his Insignia for this experience. Like the song of the same name, an anthem for Opel fans. The video was shot in Frankfurt, the city to which he has remained loyal. He doesn’t keep Rödelheim – his home neighbourhood – a secret. Pretending is not his thing, that becomes clear in the interview. There are no rehearsed sentences flying across the glass table, the answers come from his heart. From a guy who grins broadly and is obliging instead of celebrating airs and graces. He reflects, has an opinion, and is not afraid to address the problems of society in his songs. One example is the song “Fools like you”. In it, Moses raps: “Fools like you are threatening the world, now put on the mask. (…) Because of fools like you, other fools vote AFD.”

Moses shows his Frankfurt,
we show him the Mokka-e

At the end we find ourselves on the streets of Frankfurt. Moses shows us his hood, stations of his life. And we show him the electric Mokka-e – the quiet, stylish, powerful Opel that has just won the “Golden Steering Wheel 2021”. Enthusiasm on both sides. It carries us through the day. A day with Moses. The man from Rödelheim. The rap legend. The music producer. The popular, likeable Opel fan.

Anthem for Opel fans: “Lass die Probleme aus dem Schiebedach” – Moses Pelham’s declaration of love for the “Insignia”. It is the second single from the album “Nostalgie Tape” released in September. Soon the Frankfurt rapper will be live on stage again, his “Emuna Nostalgie Tape” tour starts at the end of January 2022. Tickets for two of the three concerts planned in Frankfurt are already sold out.

November 2021

Text and photos: Dani Heyne