Mo-Torres, Cat Ballou, Lukas Podolski – Liebe deine Stadt

“Köln, du bist und bleibst der Dom in der Brandung!“ (literally: “Cologne, you are and remain the cathedral/rock in the surf”) Lines like this make “Love Your City” a real Cologne rap anthem. The song is a musical declaration of love from a group of passionate residents of Cologne: the rapper Mo-Torres, the band Cat Ballou and soccer idol Lukas Podolski.

The 31-year-old Podolski supplied the motivation for “Love your City” and produced the song. Why? Cologne is and remains his true love. The world-champion started playing in 1. FC Köln’s junior leagues in 1995 and made it up to the top team in 2003. This is where he started his professional career and competed 169 times for his hometown team. Currently Lukas Podolski is signed with a team in Turkey’s top league, and despite different stops both in and outside of Germany he has never been able to let “his” city go. The idea for “Love Your City” came to this father of two in Istanbul. Podolski says: “I’ve been abroad for the past five years and am always running into people from Cologne. And that is where I recognize how strong the connection to our home is. These people are far away from their native city and still have this love of Cologne inside. This is the reason why I wanted to create a song that conveys this feeling.”

During a visit to his hairdresser in Cologne “Poldi” was introduced to the music of Mo-Torres, a fervent fan of 1. FC Köln and a rapper from the Ehrenfeld district. The soccer star then met with the 27-year-old Mo-Torres, who had become well-known via YouTube and recently appeared at the FC’s season opener, and told him about his idea for a song. “We discussed it and came to the decision that the perfect partner for his hip-hop style would be the band Cat Ballou,” Podolski said. “Then I called the guys and they were immediately on board.”

It’s no wonder they were hooked on the idea as the four guys who make up Cat Ballou are passionate Cologne residents - just a glance at their lyrics shows you that, as they are primarily written in “Kölsch,” the unique Cologne dialect. Oliver Niesen, Michael Kraus, Dominik Schönenborn and Kevin Wittwer were already playing together in bands during their school days and then attracted attention in 2012 with their Mardi Gras hit “There is No Word.”

For the video, Cat Ballou, Mo-Torres and Lukas Podolski worked with a 21-year-old producer from Cologne named Marian Hirschfeld to show a new side of Cologne. “We all know the cathedral and the famous places. But I wanted to give a glimpse into the neighborhoods and show the daily life - Cologne is a colorful, motley place, and that is as much a defining aspect of the city as the cathedral. These are moments where I rediscover myself,” Podolski explains. The result really caught on with fans: Within a week the video had more than a million clicks on YouTube and the song landed in the singles charts as the best German newcomer. And the guys from Cologne are also doing something good: The majority of the song’s proceeds go to the Lucas Podolski Foundation.