It’s been a whirlwind tour, travelling from Almaty to Shymkent, Pavlodar to Astana… Kazakhstan is a beautiful, ethnically diverse country with a lot to offer in terms of hip hop. Based on the community rap performance we held last night with 20+ local rap music groups blessing the stage at the House of Culture, Pavlodar has proved to be one of the strongest and most dynamic hip hop scenes in Kazakhstan that I’ve experienced thus far.
When I ask young hip hop heads who they listen to artists like Eminem surface to the top as one of the most popular while there also seems to be a passion for many Russian and Kazakh artists (still trying to learn their names). Dance is probably one of the most well represented elements of hip hop culture in Kazkhstan, perhaps tied to some of the very strong dance traditions deeply embedded in the national cultural traditions.
In terms of music, many young people I’ve met have compared emceeing to traditional forms of music such as ‘Aytis’ played with a Kazakh string instrument called the dombra. It usually involves 2 people going back and forth, improvising a conversation, banter, even discussing politics, I was told by one young man.
More updates and pictures to come—stay posted!