Essentially a German Eminem -- a comparison that extends far past the color of their skin -- rapper Sido ran afoul of legislators, parents, and good taste via graphic lyrics trafficking in misogyny, violence, and sex.
Born Paul Würdig in Berlin on November 30, 1980, he originally derived the name Sido from the phrase "Schieße in dein Ohr," or "Sh*t in your ear." In later years, however, he claimed it instead originated from "Super-intelligentes Drogenopfer," or "Super-intelligent drug victim." Completing his public persona with an omnipresent silver skull mask, Sido signed to the Aggro Berlin label in 2004 to issue his debut LP, Maske. An enormously popular hit, the album sold close to 200,000 copies largely on the strength of the single "Mein Block," which documents urban crime and despair in the Märkisches Viertel neighborhood the rapper calls home. The track "Arschificksong" -- a grim and exploitative portrait of an abusive sexual encounter -- nevertheless brought Sido to the attention of Germany's Federal Office for Media Harmful to Young Persons, although the song was not added to their index of obscene or dangerous materials. The ensuing controversy inevitably vaulted Sido to greater media renown, setting the stage for his sophomore effort, Ich, issued in late 2006. 2008 saw the release of his third album, Ich und Meine Maske. Reaching the coveted number one spot on the German album charts, the release also proved popular throughout the rest of German-speaking Europe. Following the success of the album, and to many people's surprise, Sido appeared as a judge on the 2008 TV show Popstars. With the closure of his label Aggro Berlin in 2009, he eventually signed a new contract with Universal sub-label Urban Records and issued his fourth album, Aggro Berlin. In 2010, Sido became the first German rapper to be featured on MTV's Unplugged series, performing specially composed, stripped-back versions of his hits. The performance was a turning point in his career and was released as the album MTV Unplugged: Live Aus'm MV. After a seven-year beef with fellow rapper Bushido -- caused by Bushido leaving Sido's Aggro Berlin label due to artistic differences -- the pair buried the hatchet in 2011 and released the collaborative effort 23. ~ Jason Ankeny & Rich Wilson, Rovi