Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Час Пик - "Рэп" [1984]

Artist: Час Пик
Title: Рэп
Genre: Rock'n'Roll, Funk, Old School Rap
Country: USSR
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Дискотека
  2. Суббота
  3. Рэп
  4. Потанцуй
  5. Проходит время
The average Soviet listener was first acquainted with rap (which, of course, was far from its current form back then) due to Sergey Minaev's 1987 album "Radio Abracadabra" and a tape compilation "Disco-7" released the same year. A more or less consistent Russian rap scene appeared only by 1991-92, but there was one act that recorded some rap with lyrics in Russian as early as in 1983.

It started in the city of Samara (Kuibyshev back then) which had a powerful disco movement led by quite open-minded people during 1982-86. Annual DJ competitions were held there, and one of the most prominent participants of these competitions was Alexander Astrov, a DJ at a disco called "Canon". In 1983, he got his hands on a 7'' by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - one of the leading hip-hop acts of that time, and the "Wot!" EP by Captain Sensible. It left a big impression on him, and after doing a research on hip-hop culture he decided to do a rap-style disco program for the next DJ competition. In addition to his DJ activities, he was a soundman for a local rock band "Час Пик" ("Peak Hour"), with whose members he recorded a 25 minutes long disco program during one night before the annual DJ competition in 1983.

Among the members of the jury was Olga Opryatnaya, an employee of the USSR Ministry of Culture who'd later become a manager of the famous Moscow Rock Laboratory. After the performance, she asked Astrov for the recording, which was handed to her and returned to the musicians of "Час Пик" an year later as a proper mini album, titled simply "Rap", which made a sensation in the underground rock circles of Moscow. It slighly shocked them because no one of them took it seriously when it was recorded. Of course it sounds quite naive nowadays, but 30 years ago it was a breakthough release. The video above contains the whole recording in a pretty good quality.

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