Vladimir Putin is known for his steely, hard-line stance towards almost anything and everything, but his latest bout of ferocity appears to be directed towards something a bit more on the social side of the spectrum: rap music.
Speaking to cultural advisers at a meeting in St Petersburg, the Russian president stated: “It’s all sex, drugs and protest, which will lead to the degradation of the nation!”
More intriguingly, he then went on to say: “If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”
Flashes of Putin donning baggy trousers, a backwards cap and microphone spring to mind, but one wonders if he has something a little more subtle in mind. Undoubtedly, there are many who would agree with his declarations, especially when listening to the bombastic rumbles of the likes of Lil Wayne, 50 Cent or Rick Ross where degradation to women and the glorification of drugs is commonplace, or even the mellower side to the genre where some lucky lady is treated to the following serenade from R Kelly, the creatively-named “Pregnant” which at first sounds truly romantic and amorous until you lean in closely and listen to the actual lyrics:
“Girl, you make me wanna get you pregnant
Girl, you make me wanna get you pregnant
Lay your body down and get you pregnant
(Knock you up!)
(Knock you up!)”
Just what every girl wants to hear, no doubt. But despite the flocks of people across the globe who may agree with Putin’s war on rap, there are many who argue that rap music is a way to communicate globally, and attempting to put an end to it is to open the door to resistance, which could lead to all sorts of rebellion in the country. It appears President Putin has taken these words to heart, for his tactic seems to be one of a puppet-master behind the scenes as opposed to open warfare.
“How to do this?” he said to his advisers, who were no doubt as clueless as he. “How to take charge and guide in the necessary direction? We must discuss this in the future.”
This bee in Putin’s bonnet has already resulted in the cancellation shows of several rappers in Russia as well as the arrest of popular rapper, Husky. President Putin’s feelings for the genre are a far cry from his previous attitude to rap where in 2009 he handed out awards on Muz TV to honour the “phenomenon” of rap. Perhaps over the last decade he’d had enough of hearing about ‘booties’ and ‘bitches’ being blasted out of cars while taking his evening stroll, but whatever the reason for his u-turn, the Russian president is determined to take action against it and find a way to keep it under control. How he will succeed in this remains a mystery, but one which will no doubt unravel with time.