Analysis Hip-hop Husky

Mini Russian Rap Analysis: About Love (Husky, 2023) Pt. 1

This is part one is a two-part series which will be looking at Husky’s newest track “About Love” and the relationships between music, text, and music video aesthetics. Check part two for “video life,” “collective analysis,” and “final conclusions.”

Buryatian rapper Dmitry Kuznetsov, otherwise known as Husky, released his first 2023 track entitled “About Love” (O Lyubov). In this post, I will conduct a preliminary analysis of the music video, text, and musical of Husky’s new song and musical aesthetics in-line with the theories of multi-semiotic analysis (Baltar et al, 2022), music video analysis theory (Baxter et al. 1985, Cook 1998, Taylor 2007), as well as multimodal discourse analysis, or MCDA (Cara 2017).

Table of Contents [to find each section, use your browser’s search function]

  1. Some Theory
  2. Textual Life
  3. Musical Life

Some Theory

During my Masters education at University of Bristol, I devised a list of components critical to the analysis of the music video from available literature, both historical and contemporary. From that list, some of the pivotal are:

  • Behaviours, actions, emotions of in-video personalities
  • Worldviews and ideologies exemplified through statements, aesthetics, actions
  • Extension of textual syntax through visual and musical aesthetics
  • Intertextual (textual relationships) and hypertextual (extension of texts) allusions and relationships
  • Expressions of experiences both personal and abstracted
  • Meaning creation and “textual semiotic” epistemological creation
  • Extension and comments of sociocultural and political discourses

I am most struck by Suarez (2015) and their focus on linking musical aesthetics and text. They reference the “Goodwin Methodology,” sourced from Andrew Goodwin’s 1992 monograph, “Dancing in the distraction factory : music television and popular culture.” In it, he describes the linkage between the aural image and the internally induced image. This then creates a mental comprehension that conjoins the visual and the aural, thus rendering any differentiation in the process of meaning making null and void.

However, it is what occurs within the spaces of this assertion that is most pressing for the analysis of musical aesthetics and the video medium. Goodwin addresses this quandry, “To be precise, the process is one in which an aural signifier generates another signifier, which is visual, simultaneously with the mental production of the signified. What is problematic here…is the question of which signifier attaches to the signified.”

Others have argued along similar lines, Björnberg (1992, 1994) arguing that the music video is more so governed by the textual syntax of the words rather than the opposite way around. While I tend to agree here, the music video draws out of the text a very particular meaning that audiences are ipso facto expected to agree with as viewers, even if just subconsciously. Suarez proposed an “extratextual analysis” approach, where factors that lead to the decisions made in the music video are studied in correlation to their on-screen demonstrations.

This approach dovetails well into MCDA and multisemiotic analytical approaches by foregrounding the contextual parameters that color both the language of the screen, the music, and the textual substructure.

MCDA, as Stefano Cara notes, takes into account how meaning is created across modes of personification and the ways in which meaning is both socially, culturally, and individually created. Yet, at the heart of the theory lies the conundrum that one discourse (argumentation for meaning and knowledge) is not directly antithetical or independent from other meanings and discourses. Thus, “discourses are always intertextually related to and dependent on other discourses” (2017, pg. 6). How is language and meaning personified across the many layers of musical content? Where is the meaning being created, sustained, or challenged? How do we, as viewers and consumers, buy into the process of meaning that society imbues within us from the moment of birth?

A final element is the multisemiotic nature of musical/visual/textual analysis, and the cross relationship between these mediums. In terms of meaning, the “multisemiotic” nature of music is the places in which meaning can be found, a “semiotic” (sign capable of dissemination something) which can articulate meaning. As Marcos Antonio Rocha Baltar et al. addresses, a song is a highly complex medium of multisemiotic convergences. While aesthetically, cadences, harmonies, tempo, and other musical components provide meaning, a lot has to do with the social and cultural implications. As they write,

With the socio-situational component, it becomes possible to analyze the intergeneric interactions, the multicultural and chronotopic (worldview as shaped by external events, time period, and place) interweavings of the song, which manifest themselves in different spheres of human activity.

Baltar et al. 2022, pg. 8573

With that all being said, let us jump right into the analysis itself.

Textual Life

The track talks about the complexities of love, focusing on an autobiographical depiction of Husky’s journey towards love. His wife, Alina Nasibullina, and daughter Katya, are seemingly antithetical staples in the existentialist and borderline nihilist rapper’s life. Yet, as this track and another one (Song for K) demonstrate, Husky’s worldview is rapidly changing from only two years prior (i.e., Revenge). Verse one talks about an unmet need for love after his mother left, although this is not quite true as he had a strong relationship with his mother before moving to Moscow for school. Nevertheless, “And now I’m looking for it among the salty crowd” denotes that his search for love is doomed from the start, his depiction of mankind as dogs a prevalent and constant symbol for the hedonistic and self-centered nature Husky sees in the human race.

The chorus is a testament to Husky’s newly renovated worldview, seeing hope in the conception of devotion, he triumphally and humbly beckons us to believe in love. The chorus’ most formative line, “Without love, life means nothing at all. Come to me, don’t be afraid, I won’t eat you,” showcases this dangerous/sensitive duality that lies at the center of Husky’s entire image. A trusting yet forever temperamental demeanor, the selfless core and interiority of Husky’s personality bubbles to the surface. A career plagued with controversy and antagonism, this track exemplifies a new side of Husky that fatherhood and married life has seemingly gestated from within. Turning another corner, Husky’s texts usually never talked about love and yet here we are, at the precipice of a revitalized sense of purpose and self.

The second verse echoes the track’s autobiographical nature. However, instead of pure love, what it does is contextualize the entirety of Husky’s musical and philosophical persona. The first few lines, “Manual cutting knife, Nurturing resentment, I was looking for revenge,” speak to the reason why most of his oeuvre is so caustic, destructive, and violent in tone. He was looking for absolution by fire, retribution for something that the world had taken from him, anger at the God who caused him harm. Yet now, he has reflected and let go of his original raison d’etre and become a, if you will, reborn individual with a refreshed purpose. He had come to Moscow in search of something, first as a journalist then a rapper, yet in the process had become hooked on payback. This forced him into many a dark corner. As the conclusion of the verse reads, “So in search of love I found myself in a war…So I was looking for love, but I woke up in addiction.” This concept of love then is a synonym for fame and success, or perhaps revenge itself. Revenge against the rich, a coopting of affluency in order to dismantle it from the inside out. But he got distracted and instead got hooked on something else, returning only much later to his true intention, his real self mired by external excess.

Musical Life

The track’s musical life is relatively typical for Husky. That’s to say, simple but consistent construction featuring an intro, chorus, usually two verses, and an outro. This is significant because the predominate trend now a days is to not use an outro or introduction but rather have an abrupt beginning or drastically downplay the formal construction of a rap track. Evidence of this can be drawn from the trap genre which tends to operate around an ostinato which is then built outwards and given a flimsy beginning and endings. Artists who use this form tend to be from the younger generations of rappers, predominately the “New School” including those from Big Baby Tape, Yanix, Obladaet, Morgenshtern, FACE, and MAYOT, among MANY others. Further, the track uses many signature elements found within Husky’s aesthetic vocabulary including a constant ticking sound, a syncopated boom bap texture (famous in the Old School tradition), melodies and countermelodies, as well as a very distinctive chorus juxtaposition much like Oksimiron, Noggano, and the group Triagutrika. When it comes to the rap flow, Husky excels at modifying the voice’s timbre and pitch in order to convey meaning and point the listener more towards the meaning or the emotion depending upon the situation.

The track is in the key of A minor, a common key in Husky’s musical output. Generally speaking, most rap tracks are now in minor with exceptions being in major. The existentialist, often nihilistic, orientation of rap tracks use minor in order to encapsulate the listener into this sense of dread, despondency, disillusionment, and general fear of the unknown. But here, I think the A minor is in reference to something else. If one checks the symbolism of key as proposed by Schubert (1806), one sees that A minor is the key of tenderness, sincerity, fidelity, and….love. While others keys like Bb major, G major, and A major denote the joyous sides of love, it is A minor that speaks to the sanguine realism of love’s true nature. Instead of something to exclaim celebration about, love is hard won and something that is as fickle as it is stalwart when found. Husky’s usage of A minor echoes the more Nietzschean perspective of love, something that forever straddles animal eroticism and the disintegration of authentic friendship. Yet, Husky never endorses this but instead is working against this idea, instead seeing love as a restorative, clarifying force for good. Love, in the words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, is something that brings both great fulfillment and great sacrifice. Something not separate from suffering but not all around futile if truly worked for throughout one’s life, “To love is to suffer.”

I want to point you in the direction of two other components in the track of significance due to their placement and aesthetic identity. Firstly, during the introduction Husky uses a more liturgical, sacred-styled choral voice texture. Other rappers like Oksimiron have used female chorus textures in their songs as well in order to invoke a very particular meaning. In Oksimiron’s “Oida,” Oksimiron uses a folk-styled chorus in order to draw him more towards the Russian people, the narod of the pre-Imperial Russian lands. Here, Husky uses a quasi-religious choral sound to potentially harness the sacred theurgy of love, echoing the Symbolist’s conception of love as a spiritually purifying force for the cleansing of one’s soul and reunification with God. Love was also a way of overcoming death itself, purging oneself of all that made them human as to transcend the fabric of the earthly domain and enter into the majestic realm of the spiritually enlightened. Love as sacred service and ultimate selflessness. He also uses a circling A-B-C-E motif during the outro, perhaps an allusion to the wheel of fate or Rota Fortunae in Latin philosophy. A constantly ensnaring, destructive, restorative, regenerative, dispassionate force that does not care one way or the other. A force that binds everyone, who gives both mercy and punishment. The giver of life and the taker of life.

Hip-hop Research Russia

The Curious Subgenre of Russian “Thrash Rap”

I came across this rap-based subgenre during some research for another conference paper and it got me thinking about its presence in Russia. Are there thrash rappers in Russia and if so, what kind of music are they making and what is their history? To answer these questions, in a somewhat, simplified manner given the time, I will first define what thrash rap as a subgenre is and then its presence in Russia.

What is Thrash Rap?

Thrash rap can be understood as as the convergence of thrash metal (a harder variation of rock) and rap. Thrash metal is identified in its high levels of aggression and fast tempi, with excessive usages of riffing and virtuosic displays of technical prowess. There’s also an emphasis of the bass register and the downbeat, meaning lots of drums and bass-focused instrumentation. From a scalar point of view, chromatic scales and lots of semitonal movement is used as a way to increase the tension/resolution feel, although it’s mostly connected with the atraditionality of the metal genre. It’s one of the more technical subgenres in the metal universe, and when coalesced with rapping, becomes something very interesting.

Thrash rap is but one element in the larger genre of rap metal. Finding its roots in the 1980s, tenish years after the emergence of DJing thanks to DJ KoolHerc in the Bronx, metal was picked up pioneers of rap including the Beastie Boys, Cyprus Hill, and even Run-DMC. Rap rock was already a thing by the time but thanks to innovators like Urban Dance Squad and then more commonly Rage Against the Machine, rap rock was getting harder as a genre. Towards the end of the 1980s and early 90s, rappers like Public Enemy and the group P.I.D formalized the rap/metal synthesis. The golden era of rap metal, however, is the twenty year period from the 1990s to the end of the 2000s. During this time, rap metal had successfully entered the charts and become a desired genre. Groups like Rage Against the Machine were now joined by other groups and artists like Faith No More, Biohazard, Sepultura, and even Kid Rock (a major influence on the rap metal scene at the time). Towards the end of the 90s, the genre of rap metal began to change a bit as teen pop and nu-metal started to gain traction.

Starting in the 2000s, genres like pop punk and alternative metal were changing the scene entirely. Nevertheless, rap groups like Cyprus Hill used metal textures alongside their ‘Old School’ rapping (Skull & Bones). Other rappers like B-Real and Sen Dog also split off to make their own rap-metal/alternative metal groups, further cementing rap’s influence in the metal and rock space. P.O.D would release their 1999 album, “The Fundamental Elements of Southtown” to critical acclaim, while other groups like Linkin Park and Crazy Town shook up the scene with their nu-metal sound. The former’s albums, “Hybrid Theory” and then “Reanimation,” were instrumental in showcasing the potency of the rap/metal convergence. By this time, however, there was genre splitting all over the place and any attempt to given an accurate reading on one genre is to do a disservice to them all. Nu-metal had shaken up everything and come the 2010s and 2020s, the lines between rap, metal, and rock are as unclear as they ever before. The Suicideboys and even Kendrick Lamar are accredited with using metal in their sound[1].

Following the 2000s, the emergence of many subgenres were seen:

  1. Trap metal
  2. Punk rap
  3. Emo rap
  4. Soundcloud rap
  5. Industrial hip hop
  6. Digital hardcore
  7. Crunkcore

Russian Thrash Rap

Without more research, I won’t be able to say for certain when thrash metal began in Russia nor how the genre of thrash rap ultimately came about. Such topics are for a separate research project but what I can say is that there are numerous artists who are accredited with being thrash rappers. Some names include Daboor, Chevy Baby, Klara Unitasova, Lil Angel$, and Kapitan Demo. One basic plot point is the year 2009, the year that (at least notes) is the beginning of Russian thrash rap.[2] As they note, the reasons why rap became so popular during the 2000s and in to the 2010s was the accessibility of the genre among youth. While rock needed a large amount of knowledge and expertise in order to make a song, rap was a low-tech art form. In their words,

“much lower threshold for entering it: to play rock, you need to at least acquire a musical instrument to record rap – a microphone is enough”

Coming out of this ease of access thinking was the genre called childish rap (or patsansky rap). However, the way Russian thrap is thought of, it is more synonymous with childish rap than a stand-alone genre. Several names belong to MC Anyuta, the group Bad Boys, Sland, and Dan-B. It must be stressed that whether Russian thrash rap can be identified or not, it was a child of digitalization and the supremacy of the Internet in mediating cultural communication and subcultural development. Rather than blossoming from the musical world, Russian thrash rap is more so a byproduct of the mainstreaming of rap and the continued accessibility of the genre and the lifestyle via online portals and community infrastructure. What’s even more interesting is that the pop rapper Morgenshtern is considered in this article to be a thrash rapper, leading to a need for closer interrogation of what it means to be a Russian thrash rapper at all.

Apparently, there is a Russian thrash rap series, “Bonus.” Whether it really is thrash rap who knows but the quality is associated with it regardless.


Hip-hop Research

Rap/Graffiti Connections: Miss-T and Basket

In my research preparation for a conference on the role of girls and women in popular music (my theme being women in Russian rap), I remembered that I had found out about a connection between the first famous Russian graffiti artist (Basket) and the rapper Miss-T.

In short, Miss-T was part of a 2000s girl group called “Distant Light.” However, I suspect at some point Miss-T wanted to go solo. But at this point she had received help on lyrical skill and technical points from Master Sheff who then pointed her in the direction of rapper Legalize (husband to female rapper Simone Yori Makanda). However, somewhere the relationship didn’t quite work and soon she needed some more help. Reaching out to (now well-known) graffiti artist and then member of the group Bad Balance, Miss-T asked Basket (or in Russian Баскет) for help in shooting a music video. In this post, I want to explore some of these details and illuminate myself on what this famous collaboration really was.

The Important Part

Miss-T’s journey to rap is not the traditional way. Rather, after having visited American, she became incredibly interested in the Russian hip hop scene. Sometime after, she connected with someone named Trek (not sure who this is). Nevertheless, after some communication Miss T and her group were sent to a training course to learn about breakdance, rap, and the art of hip hop. Here is where Miss T’s connection to Basket comes in. Miss T was sent to the “Bad B Hip Hop School” which, if I understand correctly, just means that she studied with the members of Bad Balance. According to her old website, she learned how to graffiti with the laissez-fair style of teaching by Basket. As the website notes,

” She bombed the walls of Moscow with graffiti, for which she got into the police. Basket just showed the walls, gave out balloons [cans of paint], and in the morning checked the result.”

What she actually learned, I’m not entirely sure. A search for evidence of this bombing (or illegal spray painting one’s initials or insignia on trains, walls, etc) gives you nothing. So this relationship is all but a memory for those involved and her art may still be there somewhere in Moscow to this day. However the relationship between Basket and Miss T goes a bit deeper.

Recording a Music Video

After having gone through this training of sorts, Miss T went back to Sheff and said that she still needed help with lyrics. So he pointed her towards Legalize who, although a notable rapper in his own right, didn’t quite make texts that were mutually enjoyed. What these were I have no idea although Legalize’s 2003 track entitled “Dr. BLEFF calls her out in overt detail. It can be assumed that their relationship was not a good one, and soon after she was pointed in the direction of Basket.

The video was aired on the television show “12 Angry Spectators,” although I’m not sure what the video is called. More research is needed to uncover what the track was called but the process inspired Miss T to finally branch out on her own. She would soon release the track, “I am Miss T,” and her name would forever be imprinted within the annals of Russian rap history. The track was even recorded on the compilation album, “Hip-hop info No. 8” (2001).

That’s all for now. While small, the relationship is historically important for the legacy of female Russian rap!

Russki Rap Review

Russki Rap Review: Guf and Princip’s “Sobriety” (2023)

Coming from the “second wave” of Russian rap (i.e, 2000s onwards), rapper Guf (Aleksey Sergeevich Dolmatov) has become a well-known staple of the Russian “Old School” sound of rap. Having begun in the now closed Rolexx group back in 2000, rap sound/looked much different than it does now. Best known for his work as the co-founder of the group Centre (2004-2016), going on to collaborate with other esteemed “Old School” groups and semi-underground figures like Basta, Slim, Smoky Mo, the Baltic Clan, and Murovei just to name a few, Guf has cemented himself as a historical figure in Russian rap history. He’s also worked with the “Old School,” Azerbaijani duo Caspian Cargo (2000-), a favorite of mine.

Having consistently released music and music videos since his beginnings in the early 2000s, Guf has already released the track “About the Poodle” and has been featured on Smoky Mo’s latest album, “Alpha.” This latest “Old School” release in collaboration with Princip (Nikolai Nikulin, fellow co founder of Centre), the track entitled “Sobriety,” is a reggae/rock inspired ode to the tribulations that alcoholism brings and each rapper’s journey in reclaiming themselves and their post-alcohol identity. The track harkens back to the “Old School” with a more mellow ambience and slower tempo, inviting listeners to ponder on what’s being said instead of pure aesthetic pleasure like other genres like trap and EDM. There’s no rushing, and both rappers invite listeners to really mesh with the melodic comfy-ness of the track while also internalizing what’s being talked about. Life is hard, sobriety takes work, freedom isn’t guaranteed, but you can’t forget to smile when shit hits the fan. With a twanged-out guitar, somber but steady bass drums, and a reggae sway to the beat, a sense of lull and relived nostalgia washes over you. But it’s artificial nostalgia and soon, the lofi push and pull begin to corrode your better judgment and the masculine safety exuded by Guf and Princip tricks you into submission. 

By the conclusion, as the twangy guitar, keyboard, and drums begin to fade away you’re left alone with the sounds of the past and you’re own experiences, the realization of the “Old School” and its fall from the spotlight, and the memories of a closed chapter of rap music history. It was good while it lasted I suppose, and now the present must be embraced. As one commenter on YouTube said, “The topic strengthens, gives revelations that I am not the only one such addict.” Rap is such a special, people-oriented genre in that it gives struggling people a voice.

Guf and Princip have given them a voice. 


commentary Hip-hop history

Rap in Rusia Began In 1978, Not 1984 and Here’s Why!

Conventionally, scholarship on Russian hip-hop has agreed upon the emergence of the disco-funk group Rush Hour (Chas Pik, 1984-1986) as the primordial beginning of rap’s presence in the (then) Soviet Union and future Russian nation. However, my research has uncovered a track that invalidates this claim. Rather than Alexander Astrov (Soviet DJ) and his personal involvement with the group being the catalyst for the Russian rap scene, a small inclusion in a 1979 patriotic song may have served as a the original catalyst. In this blog post, I’ll explore the song, “My Country” (Maya Rodina) by the singer Sofia Rotaru (1947-) and how its conclusion could be considered the true beginning of rap in Russia.

As part of a larger research project I’m currently working on, Sofia Rotaru is but one of the many hidden women of Russian hip-hop culture who have been overlooked by scholars. It is the job of scholars to find these figures and demonstrate their centrality to hip-hop’s legacy in Russia.

A Bit of Context

Around the late 1970s, aesthetics were rapidly changing and the constitution of late-Soviet popular culture was undergoing a massive restructuring thanks to the continual influence of Western culture (both legally and illegally).

The long and the short of it is that while Soviet rock culture was still heavily popular, its cultural centrality was slowly being rivaled with that of the burgeoning Soviet discotheque culture (thanks to Artemy Troitsky’s famous involvement in the mid-70s) and more radical forms of rock including punk, heavy metal, hard rock, and everything in between.[1] Further, hip-hop culture was slowly beginning to make its way into Russia at this time as well through the mediums of clothing and skate-boarding,[2] although the larger culture of hip-hop was not yet a thing.[a] Moreover, as the drip of Westernism gradually became an underground torrent through the illegal channels of cultural trade (fartsovka) and the boom of Soviet discotheque culture (their influence was potent and their presence ubiquitous[3]), by the late-1970s there was little Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) or his contemporaries could do little to stop the fate that was coming.

However, the controversial 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics would prove to be a monumental step in destabilizing the Soviet Union and eventually setting the groundwork for the emergence of a Soviet/Russian hip-hop culture. Boycotted by many countries around the world, the 22nd Olympic games came to be the premiere venue for not only the proliferation of breakdancing (one official arm of four-armed hip-hop culture) into the country[4] but set the tenor for what was to come (in 1985, some of the first hip-hop related films would enter the country although we can assume that American hip-hop culture was already in the minds eye of Soviet youth thanks to b-boy and b-girl culture).[b] For the 1980 games, there was huge pressure on the Soviet Union (Russia) to show how good Socialist living was in the country, how advanced Russia could be without the West, and how developed its culture had become after its negation of Western influence (although such negation is a fallacy of the highest order). One antonymous commentor noted as much.[5] While more research is needed to confirm this, given the Soviet Union’s track record of leaders and ideological thinking (i.e., Stalin’s Socialism In One Country policy or Socialist Realism and the infamous Zhdanov Doctrine), it is not hard to see how this could have been a very possible reality. One that could have gone so far as to cultivate a cultural presence. One that could have gone so far as to adopt the aesthetic modes of the West for their own gain.

Does this sound familiar? This happened in the 19th-century with a group called the “Mighty Five” (or the Balakirev Circle), a nationalist group of composers and idealogues who sought to define the ‘Russian’ musical sound, thereby negating Western (i.e., German) influence upon their own cultural development.[6] With this being said, let me bring in the main element of our discussion, the song “My Country,” accredited with being the first rap track in Russia,[7] although not by academics (at least yet).

“My Country” (Моя Родина), 1978

Let’s say that a country is trying to promote itself on the world stage, and that at this time a style of music is becoming intensely popular to the point that miles and miles away its presence can be felt (albeit tangentially). What do you do? Do you ignore its presence or do you find someway to subsume its style into yours without polluting your own but also bolstering the usage of the foreign culture in a way that doesn’t feel overly supplicative or deferential? That is, at least what I argue, happened with Sofia Rotaru’s “My Country.”

I won’t go into too much detail about the details on its publication, those will be saved for an actual article itself. However, what I will say is that this track was made and then quickly put on the shelf of history, and I speculate that it was because this track had a very clear teleological purpose, one intimately connected to the 1980s Summer Olympics and the image (then) Soviet Russia was trying to convey onto the world stage. It is also incredibly poignant to note that just a year after this release, Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” was released, although in the years leading up to 1978 the aesthetics of disco-funk and funk-rap were producing tracks, artists, and groups of incredible cultural potency. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, as well as Afrika Bambaataa were all among the earliest pioneers of the hip-hop genre,[8] and if breakdancing and disco were beginning to show their face in Soviet Russia there’s no reason to believe at the higher levels awareness was absent.

The song itself is relatively melodic, with the “rapping” only coming in at the final 30 seconds of the song. However, despite its brevity the aesthetic nature of the “MCing” (rather than rapping) can be understood as a very early (or rudimentary) attempt at copying the language of American MCs which, at this time, were still using a more melodically-oriented style. The rap itself only consists of 10 lines of consonant-heavy rhythmic speaking. There isn’t really “rapping” going on insofar as we use the American model as a touchstone. Rather, it is rhythmic speaking which is contrasted by Sofia’s singing style earlier in the track. Here are the words she’s says:

you (informal ты used)
Together the
whole country
Together a
friendly family
In the word we are a
hundred thousand – I

If the track is making a political statement, then it is that the Soviet Union is a community, a unified collective where we all work together to thrive. Of course, the Soviet Union was a horrendous time for many citizens yet, in private conversation with some Academics, the 70s and 80s were a time of great richness and opportunity. This, more rose-colored, reading is what Sofia is promoting in this track. By capitalizing on the newly emerging style of rap, but make it red, the Soviet Union was arguing for its rightful place and the table of cultural modernism a la the Western ideal.

We are just as modern as the West, listen!

Take a Listen!




a. At this time, hip-hop culture in America was just beginning and in its first wave thanks to DJ Kool Herk and his parties in the Bronx, New York.

b. Films like Courier and Dancing on the Roof would enter the country (officially) in 1985 as a result of the 12th World Festival of Youth and Students. This highly politicized and curated event was designed to promote Socialist activism and ideology among global youth populations.

*The spelling of hip hop is not the same as hip-hop. See Iglesias and Harris (2022) for more.