Putin: Rap Can’t Be Banned, Must Be Controlled

Russia

16 December 2018, 06:50

M.News

Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, the popular music, VOA news reports.

Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.’’

But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will only bolster their popularity.

Putin noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.’’ But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying “this is a path to the degradation of the nation.’’

He said “drug propaganda” is worse than cursing.

Putin’s comments come amid a crackdown on contemporary music that evoked Soviet-era censorship of the arts.

Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Nov. 26, 2018. Some of Russia's popular rap artists got together in Moscow for a charity show in a sign of solidarity for Husky who was sentenced to 12 days in jail for performing on a car. Husky's arrest, however, was hastily canceled and he was released.
Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Nov. 26, 2018. Some of Russia’s popular rap artists got together in Moscow for a charity show in a sign of solidarity for Husky who was sentenced to 12 days in jail for performing on a car. Husky’s arrest, however, was hastily canceled and he was released.

Crackdown on rappers

Last month, a rapper known as Husky, whose videos have more than 6 million views on YouTube, was arrested after he staged an impromptu performance when his show was shut down in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.

The 25-year-old rapper, known for his lyrics about poverty, corruption and police brutality, was preparing to take to the stage Nov. 21 when local prosecutors warned the venue that his act had elements of what they termed “extremism.’’

Husky climbed onto a car, surrounded by hundreds of fans, and chanted “I will sing my music, the most honest music!’’ before he was taken away by police.

On Nov. 30, rapper Gone.Fludd announced two concert cancellations, citing pressure from “every police agency you can imagine,’’ while the popular hip hop artist Allj canceled his show in the Arctic city of Yakutsk after receiving threats of violence.

Other artists have been affected as well: Pop sensation Monetochka and punk band Friendzona were among those whose concerts were shut down by the authorities last month.

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