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A Russian court has banned gangsta rap


A court in Yaroslavl has ruled that song lyrics written by the rap group Krovostok are illegal in Russia, ordering federal censors to block the group's website, where the lyrics can be found.

According to local anti-drug officials, who brought the case to trial, a team of linguists analyzed the group's lyrics and concluded that Krovostok’s songs “may serve as the basis for aggressive, antisocial, and negative behavior, and may also encourage the formation of personality traits such as cynicism, lack of self control, and a false value orientation.”

The experts warn that Krovostok's music contains "a large amount of foul language and slang terms for drugs," and "popularizes non-medical psychoactive narcotic use, random sexual relations, illegal actions, and violence.”

The court's ruling has yet to enter force.

If an [appellate court] stands by this ruling, the [rap group's] website will be blocked. Krovostok will have one month to dispute the verdict, or the group will have to change the content. Roskomnadznor [the federal government's media watchdog] will monitor the implementation of the ruling.

Krovostok formed in Russia in 2003 and is considered to be an “artistic gangsta rap” group. The group has released five albums, including one earlier in 2015. Krovostok’s lyrics usually focus on the biographies of young men who grew up on the city outskirts, who sometimes succeed in life and sometimes meet an early death. The people featured in these songs typically enjoy drugs and sex, and police officers are generally depicted unflatteringly. One of Krovostok’s most famous songs is called “Biography."

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