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Russian hip-hop struggles its way onto international scene

Published time: March 14, 2011 15:43
Edited time: March 14, 2011 20:31

RT brings you a perspective on what is happening behind the emerging hip-hop scene in Russia.

Rap music may not be an original part of Russian culture, but throughout recent years it has grown into a full-fledged movement with its admirers and critics.

The latter say Russian-made hip-hop is nothing more than flashing your gold chains and diamond teeth.

“Commercial rap is the same thing as pop,” music critic Artemy Troitsky told RT. “Absolutely empty songs. Like pop songs are mostly about love, feelings, craving, dates and partying, commercial rap is more about money.”

It is the style of Russian hip-hoppers that makes critics say they are imitating American trends.

Rappers admit that the Western impact is an important part of their musical identity, but they also say there is nothing surprising or bad about it.

“For me, Russian rap is, in a way, a parody of Western hip-hop style,” musician and producer DJ M.E.G. told RT. “No wonder: it originated in the West. We all look and learn. We really try to be like Westerners.”

One of Russia’s most well-known rappers is Timati, who gained international attention by collaborating with US stars like P Diddy and Snoop Dog.

Timati admits that it is his larger than life image that was important to his success.

“I’m the only one who has this swell,” Timati told RT. “We’re putting Russia on a map.”

Another popular rapper, Noize MC, is known for his controversial lyrics, covering everything from politics to corruption in the country’s police.

Dealing with Russia’s political and social issues, he is credited for giving the expanding genre a national identity.

Although, at present, such performances remain underground, many critics see them as the future of home-grown hip-hop.

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