Iranian Hip-Hop is Being Censored

Soroush Lashkari is being censored in Iran. Most people know him as Hichkas—his name means “nobody” in Persian—of the rap group 021. According to his Facebook profile, his songs are about social issues in Iran. Earlier this week, he was profiled on the BBC.

“[Nobody’s] banned from performing: forbidden to leave the country. The authorities regard his rap as Western and decadent though it’s about God and nationalism, as well as social comment. This musician represents the desire of many young Iranians to be more in touch with the rest of the world, something which frightens the Conservatives.”

After traveling around the world and seeing how hip-hop culture has been used as a tool for social change (and, to keep it real, so to speak, as terrorism against communities during conflict and war), I’m not surprised that there’s a thriving underground rap movement in Tehran. In an ideal world, international hip-hop will inspire mainstream Americans artists to balance out the themes in their own music. I mean, how many tracks on  a single album  have to be about being a gangsta, an N-word, or a “ho.” Surely, we can find other topics to rap about.

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