Eye & Ear Thing: Russian Rap Humpday w/ Kasta

April 22, 2009

Kasta has been around the Russian rap scene for a long time, but I’ve never been much of a fan.  The mumbly delivery, understated melody and sparse beats always felt like a weak version of The Streets. (Compare Kasta here and The Streets here.)

But in their latest release, Вокруг шум, the sound is beefed up and the video production is slick.  And someone took a big bite out of Eminem’s style.

Lyrics in Russian.



  1. It’s kind of great that he aspires to “conquer the world the way Bach did.” Also, the paintings in the background (the four landscapes) are not actual Shishkin works (near as I can tell), but they look damn close (esp top left). Which is just strange… Is this a jab at 19th c salon painting? Bourgeois love of toothless/respectable art? Nationalism as expressed in landscape painting? I just don’t understand why they would pick those particular ones – Shishkin is pretty universally beloved, he gave us the “mishka” of “mishka kosolapyi” candy wrappers, for crying outloud! (Even though he didn’t actually paint the bears). There was, interestingly enough, a big Shishkin retrospective at the GTG last year… Any ideas?

  2. Any ideas?

    First idea: you are over-thinking this video.

    Second idea: wouldn’t it be grand if in that first line, диссит meant “to write a dissertation?”

    Third idea: I really liked the little room of sketches in that Shishkin exhibit.

    Random tangent: You know the story about when my Moscow roommate explained to a certain respected philologist that her dissertation dealt with 19th-century Russian realism and he replied, “Дурацкие медведи?”

    Final answer: here’s what the explanation appended to the YouTube clip says:

    Но новый клип, на трек «Вокруг Шум», впечатлит даже верных поклонников. Напряженное, тревожное видео, в котором Каста выступит в роли возмутителей мещанского быта. «Вокруг шум» снимался по канонам кино, без оглядки на легкий развлекательный характер музыкальных каналов даже в задумке клип сильно отличался от главенствующих на ТВ жизнерадостных картинок, и эффект вышел настолько впечатляющим, что MTV-Россия предложили Касте эксклюзивную ротацию. (Emphasis added.)

    Not that that answers your question, nor should it stop your speculation.

  3. 1. “Overthinking”? What’s that? (Esp in light of them making it “по канонам кино, без оглядки на легкий развлекательный характер музыкальных каналов.” Christ, that’s wooden language).
    2. Where would he get it from? A Ph.motherfuckerD. from Institut Asskickologii?
    3. Didn’t go see the Shishkin show… Why’d you like the sketches?
    RT: OMFG, that’s awesome.
    FA: I think you’re totally right. “Meschanskiy byt” is the key to the puzzle. (Random tangent: Do you know the etymology of that word?! Slovene (and Polish still too, I think) preserves its original meaning of “city dweller” (someone who lives in “mesto”), I’ve heard it used!)
    Speculation: I wonder what art Kasta would think is edgy enough. Sinyi Nosy, probably… Or a nice Rembrandt, to go with his Bach Kantatas.

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