From rags to riches: Tim Oelrich is living the American dream. The German emigrated to China and lived with ten farm workers in a tiny apartment. Then he made his breakthrough as a rap star.
“I hated my job,” says Scor (born Tim Oelrich). Then he falls silent, leans back in conversation, folds his arms behind his head.
In his voice the serenity of a generation. Who is allowed to hate her job and simply changes. Get a new job. No longer 40 years, then pension, then death.
But it is striking: Another person who does not like his job, who despises what he does and is therefore looking for a big change in his life. It seems either common among expats to hate their job or it’s a sign of the current generation.
Tim talks about this aversion without regret, without shyness, but he has lived this life that many dreams of. Completed studies, a good job in China, in a marketing department. Speak Chinese, promote products, live a privileged life. Eating out, partying, having friends.
But that wasn’t enough for Tim, he wanted more and that’s why he gave up everything. Has terminated. And he didn’t go back to Germany, he stayed in China, although he had no salary and no social security.
“I wanted to be a rapper,” he says, and he knows how that sounds: like a child’s dream. But he means it completely seriously and accepts the crash as a result. Tim became Scor and Scor didn’t just want to be a rapper, but a German who raps in Chinese in China. That sounds not just like a child’s dream, but like madness.
But Scor doesn’t give up. Social decline in China went quickly. For the dream of being a rapper, giving up attention and wealth. 300 euros a month is enough for rent and sometimes food, but what he could buy with the lack of money was time. No distraction.
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The apartment he now lives in, while in a good location, is in terrible shape. A tiny room, a shower over the floor toilet, just enough space next to the bed to do a push-up.
“Actually a large apartment that the landlord converted into three small apartments,” he says. He sets himself up, the walls are covered with soundproofing, the computer is on the desk. That’s all he needs to become a rapper.
The German now lives with Chinese farm workers, with women who talk loudly and share a room with ten of them. In the evening there is noodle soup for the equivalent of one euro.
And then comes Corona, the dream of the rapper, of concerts, of performances, of conquering China with your own music. “Then the loneliness came,” he says. But maybe it was good for something? The isolation gives him even more opportunities to engage with the music, to write lyrics.
Thilo Mischke was born in Berlin in 1981. He works as a journalist, author and TV presenter. He has received numerous awards for his journalistic work, for example he won a Bavarian television award in 2020 and was named “Journalist of the Year” in the “National Reportage” category.
“At some point I couldn’t take it anymore, put on my mask and left,” he says. He didn’t want to get sick, didn’t want to infect others, he thought the quarantine made sense. “The lockdowns prevented the worst,” he says.
And then, outside, outside his first apartment, he records his first hit. He raps about Corona, about the rules, about the lockdowns. Produces a video.
And it’s a small success on TikTok and countless other video platforms. Now everything is going very fast. In China, dissing is the same as it is in Germany. The rules of rap are similar. Offend to be seen.
“The breakthrough came with a diss track about a Russian TikToker who lives in China.” Suddenly, Scor is known to millions of people, and his track is a huge success. TV appearances, ensemble member of a Chinese talent show and the number of views of his videos are increasing.
Scor has made it from the small apartment in China to a German who raps in Chinese and is now recognized on the street. He lives the Chinese reality and experiences the dream that many Chinese his age dream. It’s an all-American wish: from rags to riches.