13 February 2009

Russian Rap Friday: Economic Crisis and Culture

Cultural critic Boris Kagarlitsky thinks that the economic crisis will have profound effects on Russian culture, if one has any sense of history:

During the crisis of 1968-73, [Kagarlitsky] and his IGSD colleagues point out, punk rock appeared taking some of the energy away from earlier rock music. In other sectors, equally dramatic changes occurred. In film, musical comedies gave way to films about the man in the street not only in Hollywood but in the Soviet Union as well.

Given that the current crisis is much worse than most of the earlier ones his group has studied, Kagarlitsky says, “the changes in the area of culture [now] will be more global,” with pop culture and its upbeat motifs giving way to “underground” artists and their very different set of attitudes. One likely beneficiary of that change in Russia, he continues, is rap music.

That is because many rappers “really come from the lower depths of society and [use their performances to] protest against social injustice.” And it is entirely possible, Kagarlitsky suggests, that their popularity will force even pop singers to change their tone in order to “correspond to the spirit of the times."

To which Russian rapper Timati says, "Try again, sucka!"

But in Kagarlitsky's defense, stuff like the clip below is probably what he had in mind:


kg said...

Why does Timati get a tag and Papazz doesn't?
I shudder to think how you found the Timati video. I'm gonna go take a shower now.

Buster said...

Because Timati is МЕГАКРУТ!

Anonymous said...

If you talk to people, you would see that no one is fascinated by the way some guy earned millions, perhaps by some criminal way. But everyone would be interested to listen about a person who could determine temperature of molten steel by a mere look.

That's because the second is the physical reality we live in, while the first is "reality" which exists solely in our imagination and is built entirely on principles of profit and cost.

The rap doesn't reflect physical reality. It's entirely build on principles of money -- just this way "white collars" can feel they learn about poorer layers of population.

Ergo: 99% of the existing culture does not have to do anything with reality and is practically entirely build on the desire to get money from richer population.


nadia said...

People love writing articles like that about the middle east, but I guess they do about anywhere else too; I don't know if it's wishful thinking, nostalgia or an expectation that history perfectly repeats itself but we are obsessed with youth culture. I think it's true in France but elsewhere, I really dunno. Seriously I'm way more interested in the negative impact the economy will have on the proliferation of diy projects over in this part of the world.

That said though I watched this last night and it was pretty good.

daut said...


This is how rappers from the lower depths of society spit it in Bashkortostan.

Buster said...

Nadia, I definitely want to see that film now, but the closest it's coming to me is Montreal in March. While I like Montreal, I'm not sure if I can justify the trip just for one movie. Hopefully it will hit New York again.

Daut, That clip is superb. I mean, I only understand maybe half of it, but what I get is funny as hell. Is that Bashkir peppered in? It sounds a little like Kazakh to me, phonetically, but hell if I know what he's saying... Any leads?

nadia said...

Yeah it's definitely not worth it, in a year or so you'll probably be able to borrow a dvd off somebody. It was just really nice to see a doc on that subject with more of a positive angle and didn't cover the same old things. Montreal is an awesome city tho.

Buster said...

Is that Bashkir peppered in?

Just listened to it again and realizing that "peppered" might not be the right verb at all.

Nadia, Thanks for counsel. Will hope to find it in a few months or so.

daut said...

Actually, it's mostly Bashkir with Russian peppered in. If you could understand half of it that's pretty good. Most Russians only understand Шихан Крепкое, Борис Моисеев - гомосек, Самогонный аппарат, Киндер сюрприз, ОМОН Спецназ Чечня Кавказ, и Хачик which gives you a pretty good idea of what the song is about.

Buster said...

Didn't I also hear: "Хей, Анатолий," "реклама [something something]," "биг бен, биг хрен," "Джордж Буш," and "Мерседес?"

daut said...

haha, yeah, there is that