Vladimir Putin Says He's Fearful of Rap Music, and That it Should Be Government-Controlled

Russian President Vladimir Putin applauds during the concert marking the 80th anniversary of Soviet and Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov at Saint Petersburg Conservatory on December 15, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Putin is looking for a way to control rap music, saying he's fearful the music genre is degrading his country. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to devise a plan of controlling rap as the music genre becomes more popular with his country's youth.

According to the Associated Press, during a meeting with Russian cultural advisers on Saturday Putin said that rap music is "based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest."

He has a history of suppressing protests. But he stated that his biggest issue with the music is themes of drug use and abuse, noting to his advisers that listening to rap is "a path to the degradation of the nation." The genre's "drug propaganda" is worse than the expletives used, Putin said.

The comments came amid a recent crackdown on contemporary Russian musicians. Last month the rapper Husky was arrested after he put on an impromptu performance after his concert was shut down in Krasnodar, Russia.

Husky's music videos have been viewed by over 6 million people and his lyrics address poverty, corruption and police brutality. When he was being arrested, the rapper told his fans: "I will sing my music, the most honest music!" Husky was originally given a 12-day sentence but it was later cancelled the court and he was released.

Along with Husky, two other contemporary artists have been getting shut out of venues as club owners have been pressured to not let them perform. The duo group called IC3PEAK was on a Russia-wide tour when six of their 11 shows were cancelled.

One of the members of IC3PEAK told the Associated Press that while they haven't received any "official statements" telling them not to perform, being turned away by venues and owners "are just ratty methods of fighting against art."

Another rapper, called Gone.Fludd, recently announced that two concerts were being cancelled. The reason behind it was pressure from "every police agency you can imagine," they said. And hip hop artist Allj cancelled a performance after getting violent threats.

During his meeting with advisers on Saturday, Putin noted that banning rappers from performing would only increase their popularity. Plus, the crackdown evoked a Soviet-era censorship of music and art. And much of the television and cable services in Russia are still state-owned and operated.

The Russian leader added that if it is "impossible" to stop rap music and its growing popularity all together, then government officials "must lead it and direct it."