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A Glimpse of Hip-Hop Culture in Russia
April 3, 2008 13:45


Kasta

It all started in Russia, as usual, with 10 or 15 years of delay. Sprawl of hip-hop culture slow and sure is encompassing territories of the unbounded country despite many obstacles, among them some racist attitudes, conservatism and subjectivity of the Russian population and the huge territory of Russia.

Break Dance

The first wave of break dance rose in the USSR in the 1980s. It was jazz ensemble Arsenal that became the pioneer of Russian break dance. Its leader Alexei Kozlov resorted to B-boying style in dance parts of concerts and in this way conquered the audience.

The year 1985 saw the first break dance teams spring up, such as Mercury (headed by Kostik Mikhailov) and Magic Circle with future B-People dancing there. In the late 1990 break dancers again flooded Moscow streets. First break dance schools were founded in Moscow back then. In 1998 the famous video 'You Wanted a Party' (Jam Style & Da Boogie Crew) was broadcast on Russian TV; once they started to speak about break dance on TV and radio, crowds of Russian dudes rushed to go in for it.

Rap

In the mid 1980s popular rock musician Konstantin Kinchev (the Alisa band) in his song 'Music Lover' sang the line: “And now I sing another song in style of r-r-r-ap” and so the Russian folks came to know the word “rap”. However, it is difficult and probably unnecessary to define who the discoverer of rap in Russia was.

In the early 1990s Bogdan Titomir, formerly a member of the pop duet Carmen, became the first popular Russian rap performer thanks to Sergei Lisovsky’s powerful producer activity. The image of Bogdan Titomir was partly adopted from MC Hammer – that tidbit and his frequent appearance on TV provided Titomir with exorbitant popularity among the youth.

Among his hits there were 'Delai kak ya' (Do as I do) and Yerunda (Rubbish).

Along with him Russian show business featured some other rappers, namely the Malchishnik band ('Ya hochu tebya' ) and female singer Lika-Star ('Bi bi taxi' ). In the early 1990s the so-called “Russian rap” was also associated with the 13-year old Mister Maloi (translated as Mr. Kiddo) and his hit ('Budy pogibat' molodym' )) (translated as “I will be dying young”. At the same time on TV there flared up the MF-3 project and Christian Ray with the hit 'Do the Bap' . The late 1990s saw appearance of another rap idol for teenagers, namely teenager Detsl (Kirill Tolmatskiy) ('Slezy' ).

 

 
      Those who take Russian rap seriously have singled out several bands, such as Bad Ballance, Legal Business, Derevo Zhizni (Tree of Life), Big Black Boots, White Hot Ice, Master Spensor, and Kasta (Caste) ('Glupo no klass' ).

The well-known alternative band Kirpichi has aptly used rap lyrics in its songs ('Danila blues' ). In the mid 2000s rapper Stas Baretsky, who impressed the public not only with his size, but also with his keen and witty lyrics also deserved to be called a vivid figure of Russian recitative art ('Djaga-djaga' ). The band Krovostok (which can be translated as ‘Blood Flow’) with its tough lyrics on criminal subject matter has won respect of Russian bohemia as the band parodying gangsta-rap and playing the amusing rap game ('Skazhi raz' ).


The first decade of the 21st century saw new names of Russian show business, including Timati, Ligalize, Band'Eros, and Bianka, who are welcome guests on parties in R&B-clubs.

 

 
      Some young bands founded in Rostov-on-Don targeted at the youth fond of chanson music. The bands, such as the already mentioned Kasta, Krestnaya Semya and Yu.G. tell about the things happening round them: about poverty, crime, fights, and about love and hopes of the new generation.

For admirers of the so-called intellectual rap there are other, less pops bands: 2H Company, and Trash-Chapiteau Kach.

A community of self-made rappers generated on the Internet: they independently write lyrics, mix samples, record and upload their works on the web. Russian internet remains the only place, where show business companies, for which rap music is first of all business, stay away from so far. Though one should mention that these companies search for new rap stars on the Internet. Thus, the recent lucky finds made it possible to acquaint general public with St1m, Noize MC, and the girl rapper Mad-A.

Look also: Russian Music

Sources:
 Russian Wiki
 pepsi.ru


Tags: Russian music     

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