Oksimiron is back. Now for real. The album “Beauty and Ugliness” combined 22 new tracks and demonstrated both the trademark intellectual slickness and helpless self-flagellation.… Izvestia listened to the new lines of one of the main artists of the era.
According to the precepts of Kanye
The return of Oksimiron can go down in the history of Russian show business as a bright PR adventure – a whole special operation, thought out to the smallest detail… Rapper first released a ten-minute track and video “I killed Mark”, making people start talking not only about the future (not yet announced) album, but also about their past… An extremely frank story about a ten-year-old conflict with Roma Zhigan and subsequent emotional throwings generates a wave of replies – from Zhigan himself, from Oxy Shokk’s comrade-in-arms. Miron’s ex-girlfriend, who told about his abuse, and Slava KPSS (Purulent), who did not miss the opportunity to abuse his most famous sparring partner, also entered the chat. For several weeks the whole country has been discussing the creative image and personal life of the “eternal Jew”.
Meanwhile one after another, hints of a future LP appeared… It’s huge at first billboards “When the album” in nine cities of Russia… Then – hazy quote from “The Lord of the Rings” on Twitter of the hero himself: “Wait for me with the first ray of the sun. I will come on the fifth day, from the East. ” By the fifth day, everyone understood, of course, on November 5, but on that day they heard only one more single, but a week later the full-length recording “Time of Troubles” was also released.… Which is a surprise! – turned out to be just a mixtape, that is, a collection of old tracks created since 2014.
“What is this howl coming from the swamp, Barrymore?”
“Oksimiron fans got the mixtape instead of the album, sir.
A wave of indignation and disappointment simply swept over the Web. Although in the chorus of skeptical and mocking voices, no, no, and there was a suggestion that Oxy left a trump card up his sleeve.
And so a week before December, the rapper announced the album, and in the morning of the release day he published the tracklist and cover – it was drawn, for a second, by Boris Grebenshchikov… Truth, the drop itself lingered until late in the evening, when fans had almost lost hope. But the artist, apparently, decided that breaking the boy’s word would be too much. Oxy is not so “turned”.
Otherwise, there is no doubt that this whole campaign was born at least not without taking into account the recent hype around Mr. West’s Donda (let’s not forget that in 2020, it is extremely rare for Oxy to post something to retweet a YouTube show with an analysis of Kanye’s activities). He also arranged Santa Barbara from his personal life, and then for a long time mutilated fans with announcements and postponements of the release. As it turned out, the emotional swing is a welcome not only for the Harrasers, but also for hip-hoppers. Kanye presented Donda at the stadium with a full house – and everyone extolled him. But the release was delayed, and the waves of the hate rose. Then the cycle was repeated. In the end – still a happy ending. Compare with Myron.
Affirmation, ragweed, appropriation
PR, but all these tricks would not make any sense and would not work without strong material… And in “Beauty and Ugliness” he is. Only not in all tracks and, alas, not in music.
Beauty, naturally, in a delightful play on words like “In the velvet of privates / primates flounder” or “A and B, sitting on a media needle, / received a salary from the AP for IP”. Beauty is in the fan of allusions, references, contexts. The average rap fan will have to go to Wikipedia every minute, and sometimes even to online translators – phrases and words in English, French, German, no, no, and they will flicker in cascades of no more understandable, but still Russian rhymes.
Oksimiron refers to Diaghilev and Kuryokhin’s Pop Mechanics, to Joseph Beuys and Marcel Duchamp, to Norman Mailer and Slava Zizek, to Dmitry Merezhkovsky, foppishly calling him “the husband of Zinaida Gippius”. But the heroes of the modern information field are here as news: Lil Nas X, Post Malone, Dugin, Morgenstern, Girkin, Damna Gvasalia. History, culture, philosophy are built into the agenda, and it is not clear where the conversation is serious here, and where is the juggling of meanings for the amusement of intellectuals.
“Imagine Hitler did. / Oil painting. / On it are the Wachowski sisters / and the Strugatsky brothers. “
But along with such Oxymironism, there is also a completely insipid track “Ulet”, apparently dedicated to that very former lover.
“I was wrong, honestly, without the” but “/ The last chance is just a letter / To say: this train will leave / Without you, the edge, you just fly away.”
If you do not know that these lines belong to the author of “Gorgorod”, you will never guess. But most importantly, they are sung to the most banal guitar strumming. And then the suspicion creeps in that this is no accident. Deliberately refusing in his penitential grammar from literacy – literary and musical, Oksimiron either demonstrates his sincerity, or, on the contrary, puts on the mask of a “simple kid”, so ridiculous for an Oxford graduate.
There is also enough emotional striptease and zeal for revelations in other tracks: half an album is like a confession. The line “I killed Mark” was continued in full. Miron constantly reflects on his six-year pause, sneers about returning, modestly comparing himself to Bob Dylan and promising to pay tribute to the rap that once saved him (read: save Russian rap)… But this is just done with the trademark chic and flaunting words like affirmation, abmrosion and appropriation.
So, the function of the ugliness declared in the title is performed by a single lyric number?
Review and recursion
Music, however, is weak here almost everywhere… In this, Miron is clearly not interested in following Kanye, who remains primarily a musician in his tracks. The few places where he tries to sing are just awkward, and the beats look five years old.… Oxy gave an answer to criticism without waiting for the actual criticism – in the track “Review”, a session of ironic self-flagellation.
“But the flow is all more unmusical / This is pseudo-intellectual hip-hop”, and further: “Nobody expected rap for hookah bars, drills and pop / But not to notice how the sound was changed with the Kents Travis Scott / At close range, this is at least a mysterious ignore” …
This is the whole Oksimiron: realizing the weaknesses of the disc, you can list them yourself, having mocked in advance possible claims. By the way, he also foresaw this reproach:
“But the saddest thing is track 19 / And in it is a review of its own album / In fact, it is an attempt to justify a weak release / In this way, ahead of someone else’s analysis / It’s not at ease, how much it’s a well-worn trick / At the end, a penny postmodern”.
Review review review review – why not recursion? She is the one, Oxy agrees. And he summarizes: “The author is not sure of himself, leaving at the expense of recursions.”
And all this combination of beauty and ugliness is in fact a convincing portrait of time and oneself in it.… The ambivalence of meanings, values, truth and quality criteria, the ambiguity of the protagonist himself, and this disc, first of all, about Miron, of course, is more eloquent than impeccability and artistic ambition.
True, this conclusion would be incomplete without expert commentary. Therefore – the floor is given to Yuri Loza.
– I haven’t listened to the album and I’m not going to. I don’t listen to rappers. Once, three or four years ago, I received a call from several editorial offices and said that the most significant event of the year, in terms of likes or views, I no longer remember, was the battle between Oksimiron and Purulent. And then I wrote a small article about it, and this was the end of my acquaintance with Oksimiron. He’s not a singer. He is a rapper. If he sang, I could talk about him, but he does not sing. And this is not poetry. Talk to any rapper, he will tell you that rappers do not write any kind of rhyme there. Rappers rhyme. They don’t stoop to your fucking notes, they read. Do you know how much show-off they have? More than Mozart had, ”the author of the hit“ Plot ”told Izvestia. – I tried to talk to them, and the most frequent phrase from them was: “Who are you!” I heard someone compares him to Tsoi, but of course not. He must first die in order to become such an iconic idol as Tsoi. To do this, he must fall from a great height or get hit by a bus. No one living has a chance to become as iconic and iconic as those who died early.
But Oxymiron is alive.