Cold Crush the Opposition



If instinct alone isn't telling you that Russian hip-hop is cringe-inducingly awful, perhaps this Reuters story, detailing some ridiculous music awards show in Moscow attended by Vladimir Putin, will do the trick. It recounts the Beatles-like reception received by the country's wildly popular shadow president, who lectured the assembled hip-hop fans to stay in school, not to do drugs, and watch out for strangers offering polonium tea. A sample of the awfulness:

"I do not think that 'top-rock' or 'down-rock' breakdance technique is compatible with alcohol or drugs," Putin told cheering hip-hoppers who responded with chants of "Respect, Vladimir Vladimirovich."

The cultural setbacks of Soviet communism are, it seems, worse than we ever anticipated. After saving the youth center alongside Turbo and Ozone, the former KGB agent attracted the attention of blubbering Russian talent scouts, who idolize the hip-hop way in which the former president turned downtown Grozny into a full-scale recreation of the 1970s South Bronx:

Putin, wearing a turtleneck sweater and jacket, went on stage to present awards to participants in "Battle for Respect", a hip-hop music contest run by Muz TV, a Russian rival to MTV.

"It would have been cool to record a joint track with Vladimir Putin because he is a legendary man and our idol," sang rapper Zhigan who won the contest. "Let's make so much noise in his honour that the whole world can hear."

You can watch the president's bizarre performance here, in Russian. As the Putin Youth cheered their idol, authorities in Moscow were evicting two prominent human rights groups, both of whom have sharply criticized the Kremlin, from their state-owned office buildings.

NEXT: Friday Fun Link

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  1. In Soviet Russia, dance breaks you!

    I just thought I’d get that out of the way.

  2. “and watch out for strangers offering polonium tea”

  3. Good thing Americans would never go in for that sort of fanboy devotion to a Leader.

    1. How dare you say this before I could.

      1. This is sarcasm right…?

      2. This is sarcasm right…?

  4. Ha. I had lunch today at Crepe Bistro in Chicago, which is inexplicably Russian. On the television was a bunch of Russian music videos, most of which were hip-hop. One in particular featured a couple of guys wearing parkas over tee-shirts tucked into jeans, awkwardly dancing by a bridge. The crepe was good, though.

  5. So who win in a fight, Putin or Flake

    1. P.S. She’s singing about roses, in case anyone wonders. Roses.

      1. Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko*

        There. STFU, LoneWacko + Godwinning the thread + GTA IV reference. A trifecta, of sorts.

  6. If instinct alone isn’t telling you that Russian hip-hop is cringe-inducingly awful…

    Fixed. Some things are universal.

    1. What happened is that you’ve never heard any good hip-hop. Which is understandable, because the vast majority of good hip-hop is underground these days.

      1. In case you’re wondering, lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the more “mainstream” but still avant-garde stuff: El-P, Busdriver, The Roots, The Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, etc.

        1. Even though Paris is goddamned truther, he still drops some pretty good shit.

        2. What exactly do you think the phrase “avant-garde” means?

          1. It means what I say it means.

            1. After all, I also consider David Lynch to be both avant-garde and mainstream.

              1. I think that’s the combination required to even think about making a Dune movie.

        3. See it all comes back to the difference between Rap and Hip-Hop.

          Those 3min clips of drum machines and shit-talking on MTV are Rap.

          The Roots, Now THAT is Hip-Hop.

          (DeLaSoul, Common, Krs-One/BDP, Blackalicious are some other examples Hip-Hop which demonstrate the difference.)

          1. Good call. Haven’t busted out the Blackalicious in years.

            1. Still got the bump knockin in your trunk, getcha out’cha slump.

              1. If you’re going old school, why not MC 900 Foot Jesus?

                1. Thanks. I haven’t listened to that song in years. Loved it when it came out, but if I recall correctly they took it off the air due to a string of arsons in Baltimore.

                2. You can’t just link nerdcore w/o 2sj, MC Lars…next post



                    …and a forum appropriate Optimus Rhyme.

                    And a you can’t really mention MC Lars w/o YTCracker.

        4. Lest we forget Typical Cats (specifically Qwwl, checkout Fourth Reich of The Rich. written before bank bailouts with a stunning prescience), Sage Francis (although he regrettably turned Will.I.Am.-level obama fanboy), Aesop Rock, Tonedeff, Murs, Mac Lethal, and Del.

  7. I will say this: judging by that pic, Putin has the same personal trainer/workout plan as LL Cool J.

    As for who would win between Flake and Putin in a fist fight: Good question, but I think Putin’s KGB training would give him an edge. That one could be the undercard between a Drago-Rocky-style MMA event wherein Lesnar-Fedor Emelianenko is the main event.

    1. Flake looks like he couldn’t take a punch. Putin already looks like he’s been punched.

  8. That’s not a photoshop from White Knights ?

    1. ben, I guess you’re not aware that one of Putin’s jobs in the KGB was impersonating Baryshnikov. Ballet and all. Greg Hines had no idea.

      Is there nothing the glorious leader can’t do?

      1. Is there nothing the glorious leader can’t do?

        I knew you’d get sweet on Obama eventually.

      2. I’d be impressed by a president who used to dance ballet.

        1. Rahm has fans?

  9. I had lunch today at Crepe Bistro in Chicago, which is inexplicably Russian.

    “Bistro” is Russian for “fast”. I heard that Russian soldiers serving on the Western front in WWI were constantly asking restauranteurs to hurry up. The ones who obliged went so far as to add signs that stated how fast people would be served – hence “Bistro”.

    I’m not a big fan of rap, but Russian rap is utter shit. Dee Dee Ramone (aka Dee Dee King) would have been a good rapper there.

    “It would have been cool to record a joint track with Vladimir Putin because he is a legendary man and our idol,” sang rapper Zhigan

    Jesus. Did he rap about the glory to the motherland of the cosmonauts, too?

    Let me also point out that Lonewacko is an ignorant dipshit. She’s singing about the history of Slavs, especially the Rus. This is where Russia comes from, you microcephalactic cretin.

    1. I thought it originated in 1815-Treaty of Paris and all.

  10. Based on my research of amateur russian porn, they listen to exclusively to american acts.

  11. This isn’t rap, but here’s some interesting Russian music. That’s what they used to listen to before promoting World Communism.

    1. I see your Balalaika quartet and raise you the Wllington International Ukulele Orchestra.

  12. I think this is Russian, but it might be something else.

    1. They’re Bretons, man. It says so right below the video.

    2. It’s Breton, STFULW.

  13. You may be cute, Find Your Russian Beauty Banner Ad Girl, but this is the week of Lobster Girl. Respect.

    1. I think the mail-order brides just need to start kissin some shellfish.

  14. Let’s face it, as leaders of major nations go, Putin is hands down the baddest-ass of the group. He’s also a lawless tyrannical autocrat.

    It’s not too hard to see why the Russians have affection for him though. They were told they were moving toward market capitalism and Western freedom under Yeltsin and what they experienced was the economy tanking, rampant crime and Russia being humiliated on the world scene. Since Putin’s takeover their GDP per capita increased, crime went down and Russia has successfully flexed its muscles on the world scene several times. Sadly many people prefer that kind of thing to, well, say, rights and democracy…

  15. Full bellies, more safety and national pride restored vs. fair elections and civil liberties…That’s why they like Putin…

    My dream is that Russians might understand that you can have full bellies, safety, national pride AND fair elections and civil liberties. Not only is it not “either/or”, they quite naturally go together. But given their exerpeince with what they were told was Western style liberty and economics it’s difficult to blame them for being skittish about that prospect.

    1. Yeltsin had more guts. More vision. More authenticity. Even audacity. More likeable, too.

    2. What a wonderful dream!

      Say, are you busy tomorrow? Because I’m looking for people to help me IrrigateTheSahara tomorrow starting at 9am. Meet me in Tashkent, and expect to be back in the U.S. by 8pm or so.

      Meanwhile, for those who aren’t high, high libertarians, or libertarians, could someone tell me whether this is Russian? I get confused. It sounds like it, but I’m not sure.

      1. Say, are you busy tomorrow? Because I’m looking for people to help me IrrigateTheSahara tomorrow starting at 9am.

        What’s your plan, leave the garden hose running? I hope you’ve got a high pressure hose then, because Tashkent is a long way from the Sahara.

      2. could someone tell me whether this is Russian?

        no, it’s Swedish.

        phonetically Swedish and Russian are worlds apart, by the way.

    3. Silly Russians love those strong paternal figures.

  16. Nothing quite says Bond supervillian like a rapping, ex-KGB agent, Prime Minister of Russia.

    Who is dated now, Matt Damon? It looks like you, you Fannon and Chomsky reading bee-otch!

    Slightly related, this is a site maintained by a Russian acquaintance on music, mostly metal, and art related matters.


  17. Moynihan dropped the ball on the alt text.

    “New Kids on the Bloc”

  18. I dunno – I read an article yesterday about Medvedev which certainly didn’t make him seem like Putin’s little man-pawn. Apparently he gave a speech with Putin in the audience arguing that they’d made little progress in building new technology and infrastructure since the Soviet era (thus implicitly dissing Putin’s entire reign) and stressed the importance of attracting investment and expanding trade. He also talked of the importance of building more democratic institutions. Apparently he was trying to distinguish and distance himself from Putin’s negatives; whether it’s a PR move or whether he actually seeks some good progress is yet to be seen.

    1. It might be wise to not read too much into Medvedev’s little rant, Hobo Chang Ba, this isn’t new for him, just presented as such by US media.

      Russians find it tiring, he talks, nothing changes. They have a little more experience with social engineers than to become all glassy eyed just because some political screw’s sermon topic is “hope” and “change.”

      Putin was looking very bored through the speech, twiddling his thumbs, yawning, looking at his feet, looking at ceiling, staring into space day dreaming about dancing some ballet or playing with his dog, whatever, no one knows, no one cares.

      Some call Putin a black horse because nobody knows what he’s thinking, true perhaps. Nevertheless, his reactions speak volumes about what is really happening.

  19. Russian Rap is just awful, same with the Techno and Pop…are those ever good?

    The Rock, Punk and Metal wasn’t that bad, if you don’t understand the enormous balls these musicians had standing up to the system you miss the whole point. Playing western genres of music was nothing short of dangerous, to say the least.

    Some bands like Rock band Kino (Cinema) weren’t bad. Their domestic hit songs like Spokojnaja Noch (Good Night), Elektrichka (Soviet Electric Commuter Train), Pachka Sigaret (Cigarette Pack), and Moj Drug (My Friend) were all pretty good stuff.

    Rest in Peace, Viktor Tsoi.

    Other notable Rock bands of the era included Mashina Vremeni (Time Machine), Nautilus Pompilius (a species of cephalopod), and DDT (never learned what DDT meant, abbreviation of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane maybe, who knows). There were others but none comes to mind at the moment.

  20. TATU was Russian, right??

    1. I think they were Lesbians not Russians.

  21. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. Regardless of country of origin.

    Why oh why does anyone insist that chanting bad poetry in time with a $2 rhythm machine overlayed with a repetitive 16 bar “sample” of a 1980’s song is music?

  22. America isn’t the only country in a mad dash to make the movie Idiocracy a reality.

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