20 February 2009

Russian Rap Friday: Seryoga Teams Up with Zhirik on “Olya and AIDS”

I’ve blogged before about Seryoga and his idiotic raps about “Chicks” and weird teaming with right-wing populist V.V. Zhirinovsky. Well, it seems that the boys are at it again. On his new album "Chronicles of a Dude from the Gomel’ Streets" (Хроника парнишки с гомельских улиц), Seryoga does a duet with Zhirinovsky that remakes and remixes the post-perestroika disco hit “Olya and AIDS.” (You can listen to the original song by Anons and read the lyrics—in Russian—here.)

A taste of the lyrics, translated:

Olya loves Kolya ever since childhood.
Olya loves Tolya, he lives in the neighborhood.
Olya loves Misha, he’s the butcher at the bazaar.
Olya loves Grisha, he has a guitar.

Sleeps, sleeps, sleeps, sleeps Olya
With whomever she happens upon.
But Olya’s never heard about AIDS,
She’s only heard the advert that says
To use rubbers of the brand ADIDAS.

Look guys, this isn’t all some joke.
Remember guys, Olya’s a prostitute.
The girl’s rich and she lives large,
But someone’ll make sure she gets hers.
Which would just be stupid and not so tragic, if it weren’t for, you know, the very real problem of AIDS in Russia. Why these dudes chose to remake this particular contradictorily upbeat, dark, misogynist song, I really have no ideas (and welcome theories). 1980s nostalgia doesn't seem to fully answer the question for me.


For the record, Seryoga claims to be Russia's best rapper. This is a sad statement, as I don't sense that he's really very much more talented than (nor is his basic attitude very different from) this parody of gopnik rapper 'tude.


kg said...

Что ты хочешь от человека у которого мама русская, а отец юрист? Гремучая смесь...

Also - shocking! But: http://www.evangelie.ru/forum/t33903.html


Жириновский несомненно подонок на котором пробы ставить негде, но надо заметить, что за права секс-работниц (НЕ его слова) он (равно как и Вячеслав Марычев, если не ошибаюсь - http://www.verzila.obninsk.ru/I/Freak/Freak.htm; http://www.newsru.com/arch/russia/26jun2006/marr.html) действительно иногда заступался. To say that something he does or thinks is bizarre is to be redundant, but I do think that in his own bizarre way both he and Seryoga think that they are doing girls like Olya a favor, speaking to the youth of today, and addressing the problem of AIDS and doing important conscientiousness-raising...
To give them some credit, you should have noted that they do refashion the lyrics significantly - the new rap changes the line "pol'zuyetes' rezinkami Adidas" to "pol'zuites' rezinkami kazhdyi raz." And they do say things like "Buy a rubber - help out society."
As for why they chose to remake that particular song - my best guess is that it is, in part, the same reason why those evil PSA fucks chose "Prekrasnoe Daleko" - this is the music with which the youth being addressed might have strong emotional associations and hence might pay attention. Also, there aren't that many songs from the Soviet/Russian pop repertoire dealing with AIDS - they might have chosen the only prior point of reference...
(Also, you should be pleased that Sergey Zverev made the list of Zasluzhennye Freaki Rossii).

Buster said...

Yeah, kg, you're right. I should have given VVZh and Seryoga credit for their "use a rubber" advice. That point still needs to be made, perhaps especially in Russia. However, the use of Olya as a cautionary tale still grates.

At any rate, isn't the main vector of HIV transmission in Russia IV drug use, anyway? Or am I mis-remembering?

Buster said...

Unrelated, but on the weird note: what's up with the final scene of the video? Does it relate to the song in some way that I'm missing?

kg said...

Yup. Резиновые дубинки на презервативы может и переплавили, но толком ими пользоваться пока еще далеко не всех заставили :) (http://borko.livejournal.com/tag/%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B7%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B3%D0%B8).
The answer to your factual question is a quick Google search away. If this summary is accurate, IDUs are the main cause of HIV transmission in Russia (http://the-aids-pandemic.blogspot.com/2007/02/dual-epidemic-hivaids-and-injection.html)
BUT also
"While IDUs comprise the majority of the at-risk population in Russia, the threat to non-IDUs is on the rise. A majority of IDUs in Russia are young heterosexual men. These men have the potential to spread HIV to their partners: commercial sex workers, girlfriends, wives, etc., many who do not have the power or awareness to demand condom usage. In addition, commercial sex work is on the rise in numerous Russian cities, and the overlap between injection drug use and commercial sex work is high."
Obviously the use of Olya as the cautionary tale is not the way I personally would have gone about sending the message. But I don't see any Russian politician, even Zhirik with his antics, staking his reputation on a PSA slogan "Make sure to use a clean needle next time you shoot up!" (Are you may be confusing Russia with Canada? I know it's a common mistake, happens all the time :)).
I agree that it's tragic when VVZh could in any conceivable way be seen as Russia's progressive, enlightened voice on issues of sexuality. May be it's because of things like this that I don't raise my radical hopes too high.
As for your second question - I have no idea why they chose to shoot the video in New York (presumably because that's where all the cool rappers live?) and certainly don't understand what's going on with that gun thing... I'm sure there's a dissertation in there for someone, though.
As an aside, my favorite part of the second video is "будем кушать морковку... с колбасой." He's on his way to five a day!!!

Buster said...

Y'know, it's not that I'd want a "use clean needles" message. It's more that the more accurate version of this song would be "Oleg and AIDS." That's the grating part.

I know, I'm asking too much of this ditty. But especially with those two guys as the purveyors, the misogyny was a little too thick for me.