Krovostok

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With its criminal persona and uncensored wordplay, Moscow's Krovostok ("the Bloody East") captured the imagination of the Russian public, blurring the line between rap parody and the genuine article.…
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With its criminal persona and uncensored wordplay, Moscow's Krovostok ("the Bloody East") captured the imagination of the Russian public, blurring the line between rap parody and the genuine article. Far from gangsters themselves, the group's founding members are artist and poet Anton "Shilo" Chernyak and writer Dimitry "Feldman" Fine. Distributing their music free of charge on the internet, the two college graduates quickly found a fan base in intellectual circles as well as in the very gangster enclaves so verdantly imagined in their raps.

Krovostok went public in 2004 when eight tracks were posted to the website krovostok.narod.ru. The two founding members, Chernyak and Fine, had met two years earlier at the Pushkin art cafe in Moscow. Their online demo quickly caught the attention of the music industry and the tracks were released as their debut album, Reka Krovi ("River of Blood"). Besides brutal rhymes and the ever present Western muse, the album was notable for its monotone delivery, something novel to the Moscow scene. Because of their frequent use of obscenities, the duo was often mentioned in the same breath as shock-rock group Leningrad. The group built hype by performing in private venues in front of handpicked crowds. By fall of 2004 they graduated to larger Moscow clubs, where audience members noted their understated stage presence which helped mark the seriousness of their project, more a tribute to gangster rap than a mockery. The graphic content of the rap was something new for Russia, and a good fit for the corrupt and perilous state of post-Soviet society.

But bloodthirsty followers were disappointed by a second album, 2006's Skvoznoe ("Through"), which showed a marked toning down of violent imagery. Near the beginning of 2007, a new crop of songs sprouted up on the website, this time produced by Fantomas 2000. The subsequent album, titled Gantelya ("Dumbell"), was released in January of 2008.