Photo by Delia Baum

    CRO on the go – the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador

    Cro is a phenomenon, a phantom, the masked man 2.0, Germany’s most successful rapper, the rapper with the panda mask. Although everyone between the ages of 11 and 49 has in the meantime something to say about him, relatively little is known about the man in his early twenties. Unintentionally, he is shaping an entire generation with his music and look. He has already sealed his place in music history and has changed German rap for good – and has managed all this independently without a major label behind him. 

    With Raop he has even invented his own genre. In his productions he mixes pop and indie samples with classic rap to create a new, broad and very much personalised sound. The principle is not new, in fact it is as old as hip hop itself and therefore more real than some critics would like.

    But even when it appears otherwise, this is a career that has been built on a lot of hard work. Cro began to make music as a child. Starting with the piano and guitar, he first heard rap at the age of 11 through his elder brother and recorded his first song at 13 years of age. He began producing and writing his own material, and built his first, small studio in the cellar at home. It was here that he recorded his now legendary Trash and Meine Musik (My Music) mixtapes, and his first single Easy and the album Raop. New equipment is of course continuously being added but Cro requires limited resources to conjure up his hits. He’s not only gifted, he’s a musical genius and a multi-talent. Besides music he has an interest in fashion and launched his own small label Vio Vio while in his youth. This in the meantime – just like Cro – has grown and the latest releases are regularly sold out and the shop’s server regularly crashes too. In 2013, for clothing retailer H&M, Cro became Germany’s first musician to design his own collection, and together with Kangaroos and Vio Vio he brought the Hi-Top Skywalker IV sneaker back to life winning with it the German Shoe Prize 2014. He is also a dab hand at drawing comics. Before his music career began, Cro worked as a cartoonist at a Stuttgart newspaper. 

    Photo by Studio Orel/0711