Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Social Capital of Zaqatala

One of the first things my Az5 site mate Donny [link] told me when I arrived in Zaqatala was, "We've got a rapper."

I remember saying, "Okay. Cool?...", and secretly thinking, "um...so does Americastan..."

However, fast forward a year later and the first thing I told my new Az7 site mate [link] was, "We've got a rapper."

Weird how that went full circle.

Anyhoo - it seems like a weird thing to boast, but you have no idea how cool it is that we've got a rapper. I could go on and on about the homogeneity of Azerbaijan, but for now we will just say that it has got to be difficult to be the counterculture in this country.

The Zaqatala rapper has had it rough, from his own words, people think he is a joke. For him, rap is not only his art, but also his sense of self - his take on the world - his voice. I cannot tell you enough how impressed I am when he freestyles or when I see him walking down the street in his baggy jeans and NY Yankees hat. To be him in the land of skinny jeans and page-boy caps takes some guts.

Anyway, check out his videos. I know you probably will not understand a word he says (I barely understand his songs - my Azerbaijani is not that good), but it still is pretty cool.

PS Replace all present tenses with past. Yesterday, our rapper moved to Russia...