Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Oh, how many copies were broken in the battle for such a controversial and strange genre of music as Russian rap! Someone considers it unworthy even to be mentioned, someone cannot wake up without rocking rhythms in the car, and someone finds witty and very intellectual expressions in the texts. But even the most ardent debaters agree on one thing – it is simply impossible to be indifferent to Russian rap.
The only question is, who to listen to? There are a lot of performers, but the really talented ones can be counted on one hand. And that's why we have compiled a rating of the 10 best rappers in Russia.
Rating of the best rappers in Russia
|Rating of the best rappers in Russia||10||L'One||4.1|
|1||Basta (aka 'Noggano' and N1NT3ND0)||5.0|
10th place: L'One
L'One – by the way, this stage name was formed from his real name Levan – one of the most controversial rappers in Russia. Published and produced on the well-known Black Star label, with his compositions he either fell into the interests of the target audience, then suddenly moved into the wonderful world of lyrical and romantic reading.
It is the pen of L'One who owns the sensational at one time compositions 'All dance with their elbows' and 'Tiger' (yes, the same one, about a bro). And this is just the quintessence of music from the Black Star label. But, simultaneously with the 'rocking' and – let's say frankly – meaningless tracks, he releases 'Ocean' and 'Dream' – compositions about sincere love, which also become hits.
Some critics speak of Levan's work extremely negatively, calling him a 'rapper for girls'. And there is some truth in their words. L'One tracks are music for modern youth who literally need pleasant emotions, which can be given both by an evening on the dance floor and a romantic date. And no negativity.
9th place: Noize MC
Noize MC (Ivan Alekseev) started out as a freestyler – and achieved some success in this 'business'. Although, of course, some critics claim that he cheated, rhyming with verbs and a square. However, all this is in the past, because it is the modern work of the singer that is of greatest interest.
Starting from about 2013, Noize MC began to insert acute social overtones into their compositions. One of the most popular tracks of 'those times', which is known primarily for its criticism of the realities of the lyrics – 'Goy esi' (performed, but not released). In addition, Ivan makes rap intellectual, either basing entire albums on ancient Greek myths ('Hiphopera'), then inserting excerpts from Brodsky's work ('No comments') into compositions.
And one of the rapper's most popular compositions – 'Everything is like people' – is entirely composed of criticism of modern power. It was released in August 2019, during the protest period, and in the lyrics, the rapper talked about the actions of the police and the actions of the country's government.
Noize MC is that modern rapper, whose work you can and should follow. But it is worth considering that he is able to 'rise' on any hype. For example, in 2017, he released an almost meaningless fit with a 'coin' – and thus gathered a horde of fans.
8th place: Guf
On the eighth place of our rating – this is like the ninth, but one higher – one of the first rappers in modern Russia. Guf, aka Aleksey Dolmatov, began his creative career in the early 2000s and since then has practically never left the information field.
Guf is an amazingly stable rapper in terms of lyrics. As twenty years ago he wrote about drugs, crime, promiscuous sex and the hardships of the life of an ordinary guy from the area, so now. Perhaps the problematic has changed. Now Guf is not a 'simple guy from the neighborhood', he is quite a successful Muscovite with a corresponding lifestyle and style.
The work of this rapper is hardly suitable for deep reflection. This is music meant to rock the X's. But if you suddenly want to listen to how rap sounds from a successful person who understands his social position – well, there are always tracks from Guf and Slim!
7th place: Oxxxymiron
Oxxxymiron (Miron Fedorov) is known primarily for rap battles. He took part in a huge number of 'competitions', and his duel with Purulent became one of the most talked about events of the Russian alternative scene in 2017.
But he has not so much solo creativity. There are only two full-length albums, and the second one (called 'Gorgorod') was released in 2015. After its release, the artist focused on developing his own booking agency, which he left in August 2019.
The lyrics of Oxxxymiron are characterized by 'academic' – the rapper's Oxford higher education affects. He is not shy about using rarely used words and referring to classical cultural phenomena. The rapper's lyrics can be called topical – but he is not ironic and sarcastic about the situation, but simply as if stating the facts.
6th place: Face
Face (Ivan Dryomin) is one of the most prominent representatives of modern new wave rappers. Inheriting the western style of cloud rap and transferring it to Russian realities, adding the popular “swinging” trap basses and samples, he instantly became the idol of a huge number of listeners.
However, listening to 'Early Face' is not for everyone if you are over 18-20 years old. Yes, this is exactly what the male penis compared to a burger in his composition. And you are already tired of hearing this very track from Bluetooth – students' speakers.
And in 2018 – just three years after the start of his creative activity – the rapper dramatically changed both his image and musical style. This is no longer a 'cloud for schoolchildren'. Now Face is doing political rap. Like other musicians who decided to 'hit' into acute social creativity, in his compositions he regularly refers to the classics – for example, he quotes Mandelstam. However, it's still cloud rap with trap bass.
5th place: Feduk
But here is really a rapper who performs music for young and romantic girls. The most popular composition by Feduk (Fedor Insarov) is 'Rosé wine', a house with a recitative about passionate love.
In principle, almost all of the rapper's work is simple lyrics about love and other affection, set on a minimalist house beat. Therefore, many music critics do not treat him very well. For example, the album More Love, released in 2018, is called luscious and boring, although they recognize the melody of some compositions.
On the other hand, hip-hop doesn't always need to be countercultural and highly social. Feduk is a representative of a new generation of Russian rappers who focus directly on listeners of popular music. And in his work, the line between traditional hip-hop and youth stage is practically erased.
4th place: Mot
Mot (Matvey Melnikov) is another graduate of the Black Star label. Before working with Timati, he was practically unknown, although he had feats with L'One and other eminent rappers to his credit.
After switching to Black Star, Mot changed the direction of the music a little. Of course, he still recitative, but the compositions themselves are more pop and club tracks than traditional hip-hop. But this does not prevent Motu from being very popular among young people at all.
Mota's music can be summed up in just two words – 'light commerce'. These are not songs that will sink into the memory, causing the desire to understand the deep meaning of simple words. These songs are written for the radio rather than for Bluetooth – schoolchildren's speakers on the bus. And therefore, a lot of his tracks are used in advertising and as a soundtrack for movies. You have heard them, you just do not remember them.
3rd place: Aljay
Aljay (Alexey Uzenyuk) is another representative of the new wave of Russian hip-hop – focused on mass character, on the popularity of tracks, on sounding from every iron. Moreover, surprisingly, he is not a graduate of the Timati label, but a completely independent artist with his own publishing house.
Mass popularity came to Aljay, who adds recitative to minimalist electronic house music, in 2016. Then he released the single 'Minimal', which, in the wake of the demand for deep, quite liked the audience. In 2017, the song 'Rose Wine' was released, recorded together with Feduk, and it only emphasized the popularity of the artist.
At the moment, Aljay is one of the most famous and popular Russian rappers. He dubs films, gives concerts all over Europe, raises millions of sales on every single released. The lyrics, of course, are completely 'toothless' and about nothing (he can't even tell about feelings normally), but apparently this is the kind of music that modern youth need.
2nd place: Timati
A man whose name is literally associated with Russian rap. You can talk a lot about him, but it's better to just walk from the Arbat and to Gagarin Square, where you can slap a burger for Sobyanin's health.
Timati is not only a rapper, but also a very talented businessman. When he did make music, he was sensitive to the mood of the very stratum of society, which is derisively called the “electorate.” Is society beginning to love and respect immigrants from the Central Caucasus? 'Lada Sedan Eggplant' comes out. Is rap becoming popular with female audiences? Here's to you, 'Hey, why are you so cocky?'. In 2006, in the wake of the popularity of 'new pop music', he came out with a fit with the group Uma2rman.
But now Timati is known not only for music – although the track 'Moscow' will be remembered for a very long time. He is the founder of Black Star, which is now more than just releasing music and producing (albeit rather 'growing') rappers.
The Black Star Inc. includes a music label, a clothing manufacturer, an electronics manufacturer, a fast food chain, a car wash, a beauty salon, a radio station, an electric go-kart, a video game club, a barbershop, a tattoo workshop … In general, Black Star is now focused on lifestyle rather than music production.
Timati is also known for a rare public position among rappers. He is a confidant and ambassador of the President of Russia. He also has the track 'My best friend, this is President Putin'.
And yet, 'finally'. In 2016, Timati starred in an advertisement for a cough medicine. Two years later, he released the song from it as a separate single.
1st place: Basta (aka 'Noggano' and N1NT3ND0)
Basta – aka Noggano, N1NT3ND0 and Vasily Vakulenko (real name of the artist) – is one of the founders of the Russian rap movement. She began performing back in 1997, when this genre was mainly represented by Detsl and therefore was not taken seriously. Basta was able to change the attitude towards hip-hop by releasing the track 'My Game', popular to this day.
Basta is a very versatile artist. When he performs under the main pseudonym, he performs rather calm and even lyrical compositions. 'Mom', 'Slow', 'Our Summer' – these tracks are calmly perceived even by people allergic to hip-hop.
Under the pseudonym Noggano, he releases comedic and utterly serious gangsta rap. If the first album contained funny tracks, then the subsequent ones are already thoroughly saturated with crime. Noggano does not know how things are done on the streets from films – he grew up in Rostov-on-Don in the 1990s.
And finally, N1NT3ND0 is a hardcore gangsta rap. In addition to harsh, bloody texts about crime, it is also distinguished by uncomfortable music composed of disharmonious electronic samples.
However, Vasily Vakulenko would not have been himself if he had not commercialized each of his projects. From Noggano the track 'Insure' went to the people, from N1NT3ND0 – 'Olina priest'. And this is a rather peculiar approach. The person who listened to 'Olya's priest' includes one of the following tracks – and there are drugs, attempts to hide evidence, a ransom demand and other criminal romance.
Basta is not only a musician. He has his own label Gazgolder, which before Black Star was one of the main publishers of Russian rap and hip-hop. He regularly appears in commercials, becomes ambassadors of companies (at the moment he represents Bank FC Otkritie and sports club SKA). In general, Basta is a rapper who has grown from the criminal Rostov-on-Don into one of the most successful Russian alternative brands. Should I listen? Yes. This is the very Russian rap, from start to finish.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.