Drone shots of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazakh countryside, and a remote Russian village. I will have infographics on screen giving some hints about what’s to come.


Yanix (real name Yanni Badurov) is one of Russia’s most popular trap rappers. Born in 1993 to a family of doctors. His lyrics have many similar themes to American trap, fashion, parties, sex, popularity. He has 80k followers on youtube, 280k followers on Instagram, 180k followers on twitter, and 209k followers on vk.


Misha Mavashi aka tsel razgrom is one of the main figures in Russia’s health rap scene, a genre specifically about healthy living and an anti drug lifestyle. The rapper, born in Kazakhstan in 1985, primarily talks about cultivating a strong body and mind in order to protect his homeland from influences such as drugs and corruption. He is an orthodox Christian. He has nearly 150k followers on vk, and 3k followers on YouTube


Oxxxymiron (real name Miron Fydorov) was born in 1985 and is currently one of Russia’s biggest rappers. Born to a Jewish family, he moved to Germany at age 9, then to the uk at age 15. He studied at Oxford university, but his studies were interrupted due to bi polar disorder. His songs cover a wide range of topics, such as alienation, self realisation, and music rivalry. He has 1m Instagram followers, 770k followers on vk, and 780k followers on YouTube.


Scriptonite (real name Adil Jhalelov, born in 1990) is one of the biggest, if not the biggest rapper in Kazakhstan as well as one of the biggest rappers in Russia. His lyrics are usually about relationships, and are quite explicit. In 2014, he was signed to Moscow label Gazgolder, which has a YouTube following of more than 860k, and a vk following of over 1.8m. In 2015 he released his first album ‘House With Normal Phenomena’, the only album to beat it on the Russian iTunes chart was Adele’s 25. He has 501k followers on Instagram, and 581k followers on vk.

Баста/ Ноггано

Basta/Noggano (real name Vasiliy Mikhaylovich Vakulenko) was born in 1980 and is a popular rapper and radio jockey. He went to music college but didn’t graduate.  As Basta, his songs are usually about love, strength, and faith. His alter ego is Noggano, where he is more of a gangster rapper, talking about criminals, sex, and drugs. He’s married and has two kids. He is also on the label Gazgolder. His vk has 386k followers, as well as 1.5m Instagram followers.

Intro Text

The past 20 years has seen the former Soviet Union undergone great change.


Songs and visuals play on screen, with infographics and artwork.

Songs I’ll use

Yanix – Хайпим


Oxxxymiron – Песенка Гремлина


Скриптонит Выпить тебя до дна


Баста ft. Тати – Хочу к Тебе


ЦельРазгром – Империя зла






This segment is about the research I have done. I talk about a few examples of foreign hip hop and their place in the western world. I explain who/what they are and how they’ve gained a following here. I’ve used the examples that I have, because they’re somewhat varied and demonstrate various ways of gaining a following. My intention with this research was to find examples of products similar to what I want to do in the future, and have knowledge of how I could popularise mine too.


The rest of the research is about the topics and artists I’ll include in my film. I’ve found articles from various sources and summarise what they talk about. This research has given me a better understanding of hip hop, and a better understanding of hip hop in the Russian context. I have a better understanding of the cultural shifts that Russia has experienced and how it has birthed an underground of many talented musicians heavily inspired by western artists. I also talk about its popularity now. This has given me a better understanding of what Russian hip hop is rather than just how it sounds.

Research/Foreign music in the western world: 88rising


88rising is a New York based culture company, founded by or believed to have been founded by Sean Miyashiro, celebrating Asia across music, fashion, art, food, and more. 88rising is currently solely social media based. 88rising has exposed many Asian artists to the western world, such as Higher Brothers from China, Suboi from Vietnam, as well as others. The comments are quite varied. 88rising has content from many Asian countries, so the fans of the channel are from all over Asia, as well as the west. 88rising has some Korean rappers who already had an established western audience, such as Keith Ape and Okasian. this helped 88rising to build a western as well as an Asian following very quickly. The Higher Brothers are from china, but they have their own specific dialect. Their comment’s section usually consists of Chinese people saying they can’t understand anything being said. Unlike the songs above, I like a lot of the music from 88rising.

Research/Foreign music in the western world: Timati


Timati and Snoop Dog. Timati is a Russian musician and businessman. He has lived in America for 3 years, as well as other countries besides Russia. He has collaborated multiple times with western artists, such as Snoop Dogg, Flo Rida, and others. Timati raps or sings in English in these collaborations, but uses Russian in his solo work. The comments are mostly Russian. In my opinion, his music is often completely awful.

Research/Foreign hip hop in the western world: FACE


Russian hip hop has already had some exposure in the west. This is a song by a rapper known as “Face”. The uploader is Cole Bennet, an American director/editor who is quite well known in the American underground trap scene. People have reacted quite favourably to the song. The comments mostly consist of people inquiring about the lyrics, jokes about Russians, and Russians talking about Russian stuff. I personally don’t like the song or the rapper. However, it appears to have had a warm welcome. Likely because it has a similar sound to many American underground rappers.

Research: FACE



This article (written by Brody Ford) establishes some similarities between the Russian rappers, FACE, Pharaoh, and Boulevard Depo and American rappers such as Lil B and ASAP. With FACE, the writer describes his beats as “bassy cloud beats”. This refers to cloud rap which is a subgenre of rap, popularized a few years ago by the Swedish rapper ‘Yung Lean’. Key features of cloud rap are it having a dreamlike and ethereal feel, paired with unusual lyrics. The writer says it is reminiscent of the type of music made by American rapper ‘Lil B’. The song being written about is named ‘Gosha Rubchinsky’ after the Russian fashion designer. FACE compares himself to the well-known designer, saying “Gosha Rubchinsky is my best friend. Gosha Rubchinsky, I’m like Gosha Rubchinsky. Gosha Rubchinsky, I’m like Gosha Rubchinsky.” I agree with the writer when he says this is reminiscent of Lil B’s music. The writer also talks about the pride that FACE has to be Russian.

Gosha Rubchinskiy is a very popular designer in the West. FACE has been able to latch on to this popularity, and has now a small western following. His song has been shared on Highsnobiety, an American site focusing on fashion, music, art, and culture, with a very large social media presence.

Research: Youth culture and hip hop in Russia



This article written by J.L. Sirisuk for Vice features photography by Sonya Kydeeva. Her photography documents the grim reality of modern Russia and youth culture in the country. She discusses the changing cultural shifts, and talks a bit about hip hop also.  In this article, she displays some of her work, and talks about the music and her documentation. She photographs the rappers Скруджи(Scrooge), and Скриптонит(Scriptonite), as well as some other people that I don’t know the names of.

She talks a bit about the lyrical themes, saying they are not much different to hip hop from anywhere else. She elaborates, saying that the rappers need to be responsible for what they say to their listeners. She talks a bit about crime, saying that it isn’t possible to fake an image or talk about you doing anything criminal as it could get you arrested.

She also talks a bit about how the labels work. She says “Each label in Moscow was a main label until another one came along, and then another and so on. Everything is built on a hierarchy and every rapper has his own niche.” She mentions some labels, two of which are commercially successful.

Research: Trap in Russia




Trap in Russia


This article discusses (written by Andrew Friedman) the similarities Between USA and Russia that have helped trap rap become popular.

Key features of the genre are frequent ad libs, streamlined/simplistic lyrics, frantic hi hats, and distorted 808s. Gucci mane is considered to be the godfather of trap music. Other notable rappers are Juicy J, Migos, Future, Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa, Travis Scott, and many others.

The article discusses how Russia is a natural fit for this genre of music, noting how the crime, isolation, and lack of opportunity is similar to the level in the USA when trap was establishing itself(2000s). The writer compares the bush administration’s coddling of the super rich, and distain for the underclass to the corruption in the communist times, and Putin’s military plutocracy.

Russian trap rappers have a similar sound to American trappers. Yanix, one of Russia’s most popular trap rappers, often makes references to many western fashion brands. In his music video for ‘Хайпим’ he is seen wearing Hood By Air, and Air Jordans, both American brands. He’s also wearing Billionaire Boys Club, a Japanese brand, as well as some others that I can’t identify. This all illustrates how borderless music can be.

Research: Battle rap in Russia



This article written by Chris Mitchell for hiphopdx.com discusses the popularity of battle rap in Russia. It features a Q&A with Rapper ‘Oxxxymiron’. Oxxxy is one of the most popular rappers in Russia he regularly plays sold out shows for large audiences, has nearly 750,000 YouTube subscribers. His most recent album, at the time the article was written (June 30th 2016), was number 1 on the Russian iTunes chart for 2 consecutive weeks.

The article discusses battle rap, among other things, but it discusses one rap battle that became the most viewed rap battle on the internet. It gained about 5 million views in the first two days it was released, it has gained 16.8 million views since it’s release on June 19th 2016.

Oxxxy talks about the popularity of battle rap. He talks about how Russian battle rap is filled with A, B, C list rappers. Many of the competitors, such as himself, are among the most popular rappers in the country. Versesbattleru (the YouTube channel posting the rap battles) has grown to be one of the biggest entertainment platforms in Russia, with nearly 3 million subscribers.

Project proposal

Level 3 Diploma

Unit 13 – Project proposal




Name Alfie Holmes
Project Title Flight
Section 1: Rationale (approx. 150 words)
To me, “flight” means a flight of fancy. A flight of fancy is a far fetched and extravagant idea. The first idea that popped into my head when I heard this definition was a product about popularizing Russian hip hop to a western audience. This seemed very far fetched to me for multiple reasons. For starters, Russia and the west have always been opponents, so the idea of anything Russian being popular here is very unlikely. Also, foreign music acts rarely gain popularity in the west. So, my idea for this project was not to make a product about the meaning of flight of fancy. I had a flight of fancy, and I am molding this idea into a product. I also hope to work on this project more in the future, so this product is acting as a starting point of a longer enterprise.







Section 2: Project concept (approx. 200 words)
My project will be a documentary about Russian hip hop. I will explore the history of it, illustrating how and when it came about, how its changed since its inception, and how western hip hop has influenced it heavily throughout the years. I will talk about a variety of different artists, comparing their sounds to each other and to some western artists that have a similar sound. I will talk about the lyrical themes of some artists, which range from the typical lyrics you would hear in American hip hop to lyrics with a uniquely Russian theme or even a nationalist theme.  Will also talk about the imagery in Russian hip hop, this will include music videos, logos, how the artists look themselves. I will talk about the various elements by having text on screen, ill also have music in the background. I’ll insert videos and images when talking about the visual aspect of the genre.







Section 3: Synopsis of Idea (content, genre narrative)

Russian hip hop

History of the genre

Analysis of artists, lyrics, visuals

Comparisons to western hip hop

Section 4:  Format (film, website, photography, documentary, animation)


Section 5: Who are your target audience? identify their demographic not age
My target audience will be the western hip hop fan base. Some people will be unwilling to experience it, but I feel that enough people will be interested in it just because of the intriguing and surprising nature of the term. I also hope to appeal to some of the Russian hip hop fan base. It will be in English so it wont appeal to many Russians as many Russians don’t speak English. However, I hope it does appeal to some Russians who are interested in seeing how their countries’ music is perceived in a different context. I also hope to appeal to Russian people in the west.
Section 5: How will your project meet the needs and expectations of your target audience?
The audience needs a well made product that clearly shows what Russian hip hop is, so I will give them a well made product. Many people seem to be unaware that Russian hip hop even exists, so most people wont have any expectations of it other than it containing a lot of Russian profanity.
Section 6: Evaluation of skills needed to meet requirements (approx. 150 words)
I will need research skills. I will need to research lots about the genre. I have been listening to Russian hip hop for a couple of years, so I already have a good knowledge of the genre and know a lot of artists that are very varied. However, I will need to research further into the genre and the artists. I will need to research their lyrics and backgrounds in order to give the music more context. I will need to have a rough idea what they are talking about and why, so I can include it in my documentary and give my audience a better understanding of the genre. I will also need to do more research into the genre itself. I need to find out who the first hip hop acts were in Russia, when they started. I also need to talk about how the genre has changed over time, and especially how it has been changed by western influence. I need to do some research about hip hop’s status in Russia today. I need to find out how popular it is, how many fans there are.







Proposed research sources and bibliography (Harvard format)