Cro - baum (English Translation + Introduction Text)

Martin_Canine As usual when I do these translations, I will start off by explaining a bit about the artist himself, and what this song is and isn’t about (because of course, the song was made within the context of the artist's discography and role in pop culture, and also because no matter how good the translation may be, something will always get lost in the process).

Since his 2012 debut album “Raop” and the hit singles it spawned, rapper-singer-producer Cro became one of the big megastars of the decade in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Like, really huge. His first two studio albums and his live album topped the German charts (as did his third album “tru.”, which features “baum”, but when the song was released, this did not yet happen so it's not relevant for the track), and he got excessive airplay even on stations that usually don’t play hip hop. Cro wasn’t as hardcore and aggressive as his fellow big rappers such as Kollegah, Bushido or Farid Bang, in fact he was more of a singer-songwriter who chose rapping as the form of expressing himself. Also, his production was not as dark, heavy and sinister as usual in German hip hop, having more in common with Kanye’s style from his first two albums “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration”. This gave Cro a polarizing standing in the hip hop community, but earned him a much bigger, more varied fanbase as he appealed to no specific target group (Kollegah and Bushido, the two biggest faces of German hip hop right now, only appeal to hip hop fans, Cro isn't limited to that). To stay anonymous, he wore a panda mask, which also became very popular and actually increased the talk about him as people speculated who might be underneath the mask. We know by now who he is and how he looks like, but the mask remained more famous than his face. The craze about him became immense, it felt like whatever he touched was soaked up by all of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Cro, who is now 27, became extremely popular and extremely rich in very little time at a pretty young age (older than me, but however not very much).

Why do I tell you all of this? Because it’s a key point on the entire “tru.” album, including the song “baum”. The tone of the album is much more personal, meditative and self reflexive than anything he released before. In the past 5 years, Cro simply lived for the moment, and enjoyed every door the fame opened for him to full excess. He became materialistic and megalomaniac, but without realizing it. However, something happened, and he began to question himself. He now sees what has become of him and how he got addicted to this god-like status, and while he can’t lay it down, he deconstructs his mind on the album and is shockingly honest. The story of this song, “baum”, is that Cro crashes into a tree and sees his life flash before his eyes. It captures both his thoughts on what is about to happen and the visions he has the second before the accident happens. The pictures he sees have no connection to each other and are non-chronologically, but they all bear some sort of importance to him. Sometimes they have a harsh contrast, such as being out with friends carrying seven euros (7.7 dollars) with him, drinking cheap vodka in a Volvo, compared to flying on a private jet celebrating his awards with his new clique. Cro comes off as neither the best nor the worst person. He made his mistakes, some of which still tear him apart, but also had so many wonderful experiences that are much less expensive than his luxury, which he now appreciates.
I am fully convinced that all of the things he talks about on the track are his real life memories. His delivery is just so overly emotional (embracing the beauty of the Seychelles sounds smooth, he appears to smile when rapping about his childhood, followed directly by desperate almost-crying when talking about a past relationship he screwed up) that there’s got to be truth in it. It is unknown if the entire accident really happened. But judging by how much deeper and more conscious he got between his second and third album, it is quite possible.


BAUM (tree)

DIALOG (on the phone, Cro is driving and needs to hurry up not to be too late):

Cro: Hello, Psaaaaiiiii…
Psai: How long will it take? Do you have them with you?
Cro: Yup, now don’t say “schick dich, schick dich!” [NOTE: literally “send you”, an intentionally lame pun on “fick dich”, which means “screw you”, meaning Cro should hurry]
Psai: “schick dich, schick dich!”
Cro: “schick” yourself, dude! *both laugh*
Psai: Everyone’s there already.
Cro: Perfect, I’ll be there soon too!
Psai: oh, you have no idea, when you left off, that was -...
Cro: FUQ!!! (car tyres squeal)

INTRO (this is where the song starts in the music video, Cro tries to realize what is about to happen):

(Acapella, spoken)

There’s a tree… Think… Let me out… Too late… It’s over… It’s over!?... Well done…

(Beat slowly builds up in the background, his spoken lines turn into rapping)
You idiot, you’ll see, I’ll get killed because of me
Good, do it fast, I hope it won’t hurt
I am scared, oh no, damn, does it hurt?
Is it over yet? No. But hey, I was alive!

PART 1 (Continuation of the thought process):
Yeah, I was alive, I was on this planet
Had much to tell, that’s a huge privilege
And now? Now I’ll die, will be buried somewhere
And will surely go to hell because I haven’t always been honest
Ey yo, mom, I’m sorry, I promised not to drive fast
But you know how I am, I let people wait so often
That’s why I wanted to hurry so I’ll be back to help cooking
And now I’m staring at an oak in the debris of a car

MAJOR PART (Cro sees several episodes of his life flash before his eyes, non-chronologically, and sometimes in a harsh contrast, showing the huge change of his life)

Full moon - seven euros
Three homies and a bottle of cheap vodka on a Volvo
A completely normal evening with the boys
And what seemed so trivial back then suddenly gains meaning
Private jet, up here it’s quiet
The clique is wildly celebrating my millions and the awards
Humans turn to animals because of drugs, bitches, cash
And I was in between, next to it, but somehow alone

Seychelles, she runs into the sea, teal waves
I’m taking a photo, the most beautiful in the world
See her hair on the Moped without helmet
And the fire red sun crashed into the waves in slow motion
Everything’s fine, we stay in Paris for New Year
And your smile burnt into my memory as you slept
And I promise to myself I will never forget you
Got enough of random bitches and the nights in Berlin

I arrived, I see it clear
My birth, and mama smiles under tears, holds me tight, oh my god, I feel so warm
Finally got a tooth
Four children out-grinning each other
Every VHS tape full of wonderful stuff
Daddy, look, I can ride!
And (back then) I can’t stand girls but still at age 16 I go to bed with Jessie and promise to safe her but instead after several passionate nights I break her heart right before the meal - it hope it tastes good
[NOTE: This entire last paragraph is just intensely emotional. Goosebumps. Every time I listen to it.]

The Mercedes is fancy, athletically designed
So naughty, but elegant and simplistic
And every seat made from suede
I touch it, close my eyes and move against the grain
Oh yeah, I remember it well
Back then in the Rover through the hood like winners
I’m in the backseat, we’re all stoned from the kush
It’s summer and the bass pushes through the stomach into the chest
I so feel like doing this, and feel I also need to
Screw the others, they lie left, right and center
Half of my youth (I was) only in trains and the bus
Was practising, but I never wanted to go on stages, this is nonsense
The time went by so fast, where to put all the money?
Five star hotels, I ordered unreasonably
And I just frequently broke records
God damn, I shot myself straight to the orbit!

FINAL PART (the conclusion of all this visions and how he feels about probably dying now)

I can leave! I have seen everything!
Because I simply dumped the mother funkers that wanted to stop me, simply dumped them!
Have lost myself in all the things that mattered to me, that’s why I always came too late, came too late!
And no, I haven’t just acted as if I didn’t care about anything, damn, I lived it, I lived myself!
And if this was my last message, I would say I’ve seen it before you!

(On the album/single version, we now hear a car crash, followed by some seconds of chirping before we hear a gasp and the sound of a body moving in the car, implying Cro survived. After that, the hidden track starts, which is a psychedelic English language song. In the music video, the music cuts off halfway through the final line, and we see a surreal “rewinding” footage, kind of like a hip hop montage used by Darren Aronofsky. Parts of the hidden track already appear in the music video before the actual song starts)