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Does your textbook still talk about Alla Pugachyova (А́лла Пугачёва)? I mean, she was big in the 80s, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a person under 30 who still finds mainstream Soviet artists relevant or lists them among their favo(u)rites. Here are three up and coming Russian artists to update your playlist with.
Yelizaveta Gyrdymova (Елизаве́та Гырды́мова), better known as Mochetochka (Моне́точка, little coin), became famous after sharing her debut album titled «Психодели́ческий клауд-рэп» (Psychodelic Cloud Rap) on the Russian social network Вконта́кте (Vkontakte) while still in high school. Her songs make numerous allusions to Russian pop culture and are full of satire. Mochetochka’s popularity has since soared, propelled by her YouTube channel, new album, and late-night TV appearances.
The video below is from Ivan Urgant‘s (Ива́н У́ргант) show, where Monetochka sang “Ка́ждый раз” (“Every time“). This song features a clever twist on the “If I had a dollar for every time X happened” maxim:
Е́сли б мне плати́ли ка́ждый раз,
Ка́ждый раз, когда́ я ду́маю о тебе́,
Я бы бомжевала во́зле трасс,
Я бы ста́ла са́мой бе́дной из люде́й.
(If I was paid every time,
Every time I thought of you,
I’d be begging for money by the highways,
I would be the poorest person.)
Note her use of the slang word бомжева́ть (to beg, be homeless), coming from бомж—a not-too-polite way of referring to a homeless person, a “bum.”
Russian rapper Oxxxymiron (real name Miron Fyodorov, Миро́н Фёдоров) has had a interesting life. Born in St. Petersburg (Санкт-Петербу́рг), Leningrad (Ленингра́д) at the time, Oxxxy, as he is known to his fans, moved to Germany, where his father received an academic position, at age 9. At 15, he followed his family to England and ended up going to Oxford University.
Oxxxymiron holds the record for the most watched rap battle on YouTube—10 million views on the first day and currently 32 million views (explicit language in the video!). Oxxxy has also battled in English. The song below is “Колыбе́льная” (“Lullaby”), one of his cleaner songs that criticizes state violence and repressions.
Мальбэ́к (Malbec, like the wine) started as a project of two former classmates who wanted to make music videos—Roman Varnin and Aleksandr Pyanykh (Рома́н Варнин и Алекса́ндр Пьяны́х). They ended up expanding into making music, and in 2016 Suzanna Abdulla (Сюза́нна Абдулла́) joined the group. The singer was born in Russia to a dad from Ethiopia and a Russian mother, moved to Ukraine at an early age, and had already participated in a few talent shows on TV by the time she joined Malbec.
The band defines their genre as urban pop. Below is one of Malbec’s most popular tracks—”Равноду́шие” (“Indifference”).
Do you keep up with recent developments on the Russian music scene? Who are your favo(u)rites?
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