Russian hip hop

Russian hip hop refers to hip hop music recorded in Russia or in the Russian language in former Soviet states like Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.[1][2][3] Hits by Russian rappers are included in the soundtracks of some PC-games[4] and have formed part of several popular internet memes.

Many Russian rap artists have achieved commercial success, including Detsl, Bad Balance, Timati, Nnewmann, Basta, Centr, Kasta, and Belarusian artist Seryoga.


Poetry is a big part of Russian culture, which has strong influence on earlier hip hop music.[5] Historically Russia had a similar element to today's hip hop such as Chastushka, where two people would take a turn to perform a poem to upbeat music and use satire for a punch line.[6] A Belarusian artist Seryoga, often combines Western rap with the native Russian chastushka.[7] The recording was influenced by the music of Grandmaster Flash and Captain Sensible. These experiments were not generally recognized at that time.


Until the beginning of the 1990s, there were no rap artists in Russia and the Soviet Union.[8]

The pioneers of Russian rap were Mister Maloy, Bad Balance, Malchishnik, Bogdan Titomir. Russian hip hop, just like Canadian hip hop, is inspired by Rastafari music, which hit an upswing during the fall of the Soviet Union.[9]

At the early and middle of '90s appears hip-hop scenes in Moscow (D.O.B Community, White Hot Ice) and Saint Petersburg (DA-108, Baltic Clan).

In late 90s, many new performers, such as Mikhey and Jumangee, STDK, and Detsl, had become popular. Many of them were former members of pre-existing bands. At the end of the '90s and beginning of the 2000s, Rostov-on-Don was considered the center of Russian hip hop subculture, and the most notable representative was Kasta.


In the early-2000s, the most popular performers were Kasta, Mnogotochie, Detsl, and Bad Balance.

In the mid-2000s, underground bands began to appear and became popular in Moscow (like Smoky Mo, Dymovaya Zavesa, 25/17, Krovostok, Money Makaz, Supreme Playaz, Underwhat, Ddrop, Kazhe Oboima). At the same time in Russia and Belarus, new R&B performers appeared (Maks Lorens, Bianca, Satsura, Band'Eros). Also this period was marked by the appearance of interesting musical projects such as jazz-rap band KREC, ragga-rap band DA BUDZ, glitch-hop project 2HCompany, comedy gangsta rap Krovostok.

In the late 2000s, the Russian rapper ST1M received scandalous popularity after production of his single "Я Рэп" (I'm Rap), featuring Seryoga, in which he was dissing nearly all of the most notable Russian rappers, similar to "How to Rob" by 50 Cent.

In 2007 the group Centr became increasingly popular, partially due to aggressive promotion on the internet, and in 2008 they won an award at the MTV Russia Music Awards. The members of the group were Aleksey Dolmatov, aka Guf, David Nuriev, aka Ptaha ("ptaha" means "a little bird" in Russian) and Igor Motylyov, aka Slim. Their two albums, «Качели» (Kacheli/Swing) and «Эфир в норме» (Efir v norme /Ether's Fine) became the one of the most popular Russian hip hop albums). In 2008 it won MTV Russia Music Award for Best Hip Hop Project. In 2010 the group disintegrated because of the controversies among its participants and the each of them continued the solo career or joined the other groups. In the 2016 the group reunited and recorded the new album, «Система» (Sistema / The System).

In 2008 Russian musical channel Muz-TV started a hip-hop show Battle for Respect, which led the winner Ant (Zasada Production) to become highly popular.

In the late 2000s - early 2010s the new notable performers appeared on the Gazgolder Records label, owned by Basta (such as AK47,(gamora) Triagrutrica, Tati, Charusha, Slovetsky and Skriptonit, the DJ from Kazakhstan).


In a 2018 speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced rap music, saying that it would lead to the degradation of Russia and that it rested on the pillars of "sex, drugs and protest."[10] He asked the Council for Culture and Art in St Petersburg to bring rap culture to heel, saying "if it is impossible to stop it, it should be taken over and navigated in a particular way."[11][12]


In recent times, Russian Rap has had a cultural impact outside of Russia, with tracks such as "Tripaloski / Tri Poloski - ТРИ ПОЛОСКИ"[13] in 2016. With the emergence of platforms like TikTok, popular internet memes ranging into the english speaking world occurred, in 2020 Ice by Morgenshtern went viral and in 2021 My head is turning like a screw (Моя голова винтом).[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Russian Rap Taking on Real-Life Issues, Not Bling | Arts & Ideas". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  2. ^ Steven Erlanger (1992-08-23). "THE MANY ACCENTS OF RAP AROUND THE WORLD; Russia: Of Dog Cosmonauts And Leather Jackets - New York Times". RUSSIA. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
  3. ^ "Putin praises Russian rappers on hip-hop TV show". 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  4. ^ "Seryoga-Liberty City: The Invasion". Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  5. ^ Garner, Dwight (2 June 2010). "When Poets Rocked Russia's Stadiums". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Chastushka".
  7. ^ "Russmus: Серёга/Seryoga".
  8. ^ Pushkin, Yuri (2010-04-10). "Russian Rap Taking on Real-Life Issues, Not Bling". Moscow Times. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  9. ^ Osipovich, Alexander (2010-07-24). "NoizeMC, aka Ivan Alexeyev, and Russian Rap Inspire a Movement -". Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  10. ^ Hutzler, Alexandra (15 December 2018). "Russian President Vladimir Putin said that listening to rap music is "a path to the degradation of the nation."". Newsweek. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  11. ^ Bostock, Bill (22 November 2018). "Vladimir Putin really hates rap music — and wants to do everything he can to bring Russia's rap scene to heel". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  12. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (16 December 2018). "Putin on Rap Music: It's the Drugs That Really Bother Him". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Tri Poloski / ТРИ ПОЛОСКИ". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2021-06-13.
  14. ^ "Kostromin's "Moya Golova Vintom"". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2021-06-13.