‘How the fuck is it possible?': Russian rapper releases anti-war album

Screenshot of YouTube video of the album “February Lasts and Lasts”

“No excuses, no, we are burying ourselves more and more,” sings Vladi, lead singer of the popular rap group Kasta (Caste), native to Rostov-on-Don, a city close to Ukraine's border with Russia. The band stated its opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the very day it started, February 24, 2022. Band members had to flee the country, and their concerts are now prohibited in Russia.

On December 9, Vladi released a new album, “February Lasts and Lasts.” In the first song, he says it is February 312, meaning that, for him, the February invasion has changed everything forever — it never ended. He described the album's meaning and mood in a tweet:

Well. This is what we are living through. We lived, grew up, ennobled ourselves inside, cultivated externally, but it turned out that our lives are fucked up and not needed. And what is needed is so-called ‘greatness.’ Why is it and what to do with it, no one knows. It just needs to be.

In the track “Burying ourselves,” he reflects on those who support the war or believe that “things are not so clear.” In “Picture of the world,” he describes the colonial past and present of Russia, asking, “How did we become the largest country? Do you think it just grew together by itself?”

Perhaps the track with the most piercing anti-war statement is “How the fuck is it possible?,” where Vladi describes how incomprehensible and horrifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine is, with lyrics that juxtapose activities people were “engaged in” before with the present reality of death and war:

Не разбрасывать мусор мимо урн?
Не устроить в подъезде перекур?
Не ругаться при детях без купюр?
Да все, блять, хуйня была, абсурд!
Можно жечь города из всех бандур,
Разрядить, блять, в людей весь Байконур,
И на мир пиздеть из своих конур.
Она посреди ночи вскакивает с криком
«Как это блять возможно?!»

Do not throw garbage past the bins?
Do not arrange a smoke break in the entrance?
Do not swear in front of children?
Yes, everything, damn it, was bullshit, absurd!
You can burn cities from all the banduras, [Ukrainian string instrument]
To defuse, damn it, the whole Baikonur into people,
And fuck the world out of our kennels.
She jumps up in the middle of the night screaming
“How the hell is that possible?”

The release of the album generated many comments on Twitter and YouTube, as well as reposts. One Twitter user, @mediciam, said:

I'm not a big fan of Kasta. I know only a dozen of their tracks. Before the release of this album, I did not know any of the solo tracks of the guys.

The strongest album that describes everything that we feel inside while February last.”

A member of the opposition media, DOXA’s magazine editor Armen Aramyan, was, however, critical:

A powerful album, but I can't help but notice now that it's all written from the perspective of some conventionally “creative class,” which is so wonderful, and who doesn't understand how to write poetry and make films after February 24.

Most users, however, reposted the album with a single line from the most “emotionally charged” track:

How the fuck is that possible?

Some comments under the YouTube video seemed to be from Ukrainians. For example, this user Alexander said:

Харьков. Пол жизни мечтал попасть на концерт, купил билеты на 24.02 как подарок себе на день рождения, в 35 лет. Видать не судьба. Спасибо вам пацаны.

Kharkiv. Half of my life I dreamed of getting to a concert; I bought tickets for February 24 as a gift to myself for my birthday, at the age of 35. Looks like it's not the destiny. Thank you guys.

Kasta was supposed to perform in Kharkiv on February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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