Why Putin is learning to love rap

Husky has also been sharply critical of Putin’s long rule, despite expressing support for Kremlin-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine — a political stance that is not unusual in Russia.

Authorities have not clarified exactly what they deem to be “extremist” about his music, apart from, bizarrely, allegations of “promoting cannibalism.” (One of his songs, “Poem about My Motherland,” includes the line: “Remember when you died/and we ate your flesh/that smelled like a mummy/forgotten in a mausoleum.” The lyrics were widely believed to refer to the collapse of the Soviet Union.)

Rappers aren’t the only ones being targeted in the new crackdown. Ic3peak, which performs a distinct form of dark electronica, has been repeatedly harassed by Russian authorities and even detained on their ongoing Russia tour. The trouble started after it released a video to a macabre track called “There Is No More Death.” It begins with the group’s vocalist, Kreslina, pouring kerosene over herself on the steps of the government seat in Moscow, as she sings: “Let everything burn/The whole of Russia is watching me/Let everything burn.” The song also contains references to being detained at opposition rallies.