From cool to cold, we’re in Russia for the latest stop on our European Hip Hop Tour.
Population: (2012 estimate) 143,100,000
Currency: Russian ruble (RUB)
Old places of interest
(For the sake of geographical argument, we will only cover acts originating from the area now called Russia)
While under Soviet rule, hip hop wasn’t a very popular genre, considering its origins. It wasn’t until 1991 that things really kicked off, thanks to a group called Malchishnik (Мальчи́шник, Russian for “bachelor party”). Initially producer and manager Alexey Adamov had plans to form a commercial boy band, planned as a Russian version of then-popular New Kids on The Block. However, it wasn’t until 1994 that hip hop became fully recognised. Bad Balance and their album Naletchiki Bad B was released that year. Originally formed as a breakdance crew under the Iron Curtain during the 80s in Saint-Petersburg by students Vlad Valov (SheFF) and Sergey Krutikov (Mikhey), the group switched to rapping and recorded their debut album Vishe Zakona in 1989 for Gala Records. Critically acclaimed DJ Vadim released his debut EP Abstract Hallucinating Gases in 1995 and has been popular ever since (more on him later). Also worth mentioning: Detsl, Kasta and Basta.
Current places of interest
As mentioned above, since his debut in 1995, DJ Vadim has gone from strength to strength, with high profile remixes of artists such as The Cure, Erykah Badu, Alice Russell, Paul Weller, Prince and CL Smooth. He’s also the DJ and producer of Spanish hip hop group 7 Notas 7 Colores (we spoke about them during our Spanish visit a few days ago). A lot of the original groups are still going, like Malchishnik and Bad Balance, but some of the newer ones, Noize MC (2003), KRec, Smokey Mo (2004), Centr and Guf, are making moves.