ConVal students win German rap battle in Boston

  • Grace Christensen, a sophomore at ConVal, performs a German rap song that took home first place in a contest held in Boston. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • From left: Alexis Cleary, Margot Kratzenberg, and Grace Christensen, who are all sophomores at ConVal, perform a German rap song they wrote that won first place in a contest held in Boston. Staff photo by Abby Kessler

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 11, 2017 5:35PM

Three ConVal sophomores had just finished performing the German rap song they wrote and were awaiting word from the judges.

The third-place winner at the Boston competition was announced, followed by the second place team.

“And we were like, ‘Those were our favorites, who’s going to get it?’ ” said Grace Christensen, a sophomore.

Christensen’s teammate, Alexis Cleary, leaned over and whispered in her ear.

“She was like, ‘What if we get it?’” Christensen said. “And I was like, ‘We’re not going to.’”

Christensen said she and her two teammates – Cleary and Margot Kratzenberg – have no background in rap. They have never written a rap and none of them even really listen to the genre.

So when the judges called out their team name “Kussecht” (which translates to “Kissproof”) as the first place winners of the Goethe Institut Boston Hip-Hop Battle in Boston, it took a moment to register.

“We sat there for a minute and we’re like, ‘Wait that’s us,’” Cleary said.

They all climbed up on stage. They were laughing, and Kratzenberg even cried a bit.

Christensen said they had traveled to the competition just to have fun, but then they won and they were all a little shocked.

Cleary said originally they wrote the song for five people, but two of the team members dropped out of the group after their song won the competition at ConVal in November. She said the group wrote the rap quickly in class. They titled it the German word for “nonsense.”

Cleary said the 3:20 rap is a compilation of random sentences, inside jokes, and odd book titles that are “smashed together to form sentences.”

The method resulted in rap lines like, “wild swans walk 100 sideways miles”, “bad day for love,” and “five dollar voodoo diary,” all phrases they translated into German and rapped to a generic beat they found online.

Cleary said one of her favorite lines is “an evil duck will chase you.” She said she has a friend who had an “evil duck” that was known for chasing people around, hissing at them, and trying to scratch them. The memory then became an inspiration to include into the rap.

“Most of it happened by accident, but it ended up great,” Christensen said.

Kratzenberg said they paired each sentence in the rap with a prop. As an example, one of the lines translates to “don’t be a fish, be a dolphin that can fly” and one of the group members took a plushie and taped it to a meter stick and swung it around. For the “bad day for love” line they each ripped a paper heart in half.

The group received a trophy, a certificate, and will have an opportunity to film a music video as prizes for winning the rap battle in Boston.

“We all did this to have fun. We didn’t really expect anything from it,” Cleary said.

Winning the competition was just an added bonus.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.