The Symphonic Juncture

A [Symphonist]: "The one who is not afraid to raise the primal force."

- Boris Asafiev (1917)

Хаски 2020: The rebirth of Russia's Pushkin of Rap

He went silent after his January Christmas Miracle Show, only to re-emerge in the Spring releasing his album 4PMP, a reference to an undisclosed subject source not yet made public. Strangely, the album was taken off his official Spotify and Genius profiles, replaced with his latest album, Хошхоног / Hoshhonog, thus indicating that perhaps the creation of this album was that which was being referenced, although one cannot say for sure. Later, on July 8th, he had one feature on Everthe8’s album, Not by Recipe, which depicted Husky’s experiences in his homeland of Ulan-Ude in the track, Оазис / Oasis. He was then interviewed on July 22nd on length for a Vice Investigates video and accompanying article, where he opened up about his feelings of personal isolation, his homeland, his musical journey, and his personal beliefs on various subjects. As a taste of what was said, he had stated that the act of reading is beneficial for all, no matter the content, a sentiment I share in theory. However, just nine days later, another short-form documentary was released about Husky and his creative/personal endeavors entitled, Кто подставил рэпера Хаски? / Who framed the rapper, Husky? In September, Husky became extremely busy once again, performing and releasing music in quick succession, September 3rd being featured during the Summer Sound concert, while simultaneously releasing the very first solo track of 2020, Аферсит / Gambler, from his then-unreleased album. September 10th, Husky released another single off the album Бесконечный магазин / Endless Shop, and two days later he performed at Симферополь. It was really towards the end of the month that Husky started to release loads of work, on September 24th, releasing a single-track Album, Lucifer, which would eventually make its way to the larger album, Хошхоног. He released single-track albums for three of the songs on his album, Lucifer, Swindler, and Endless Store.

Accompanying the release of his one-track Lucifer, he performed at Roof Place in St. Petersburg on September 24th, and the day after, accompanying the release of his new album, also released a three-remix album entitled, это все ху, featuring the stylings of Dirty Move Beats. Just two days ago, on September 25th, he released the first, of hopefully many, music videos accompanying his new album. The track, Никогда-нибудь / Ever, was treated to cinematic Husky-ness, depicting scenes of literal human slaughter to symbolize the destitute nature of human existence and Husky’s feeling of living out his fate without being able to change its projected course, using an insect stuck in amber as a metaphor within the track, but not within the music video. The music video, according to an video-recorded interview documented on the Genius website, was filmed as early as September 4th and this means Husky’s rebirth was planned well in advance and now the fruits of his labor are unfolding with firm momentum. Number wise, his Spotify account is growing at a consistent pace, on September 18th his monthly listener statistic clocked in at 379,776, but just 6 days later it had grown by 26,223 listeners. That is not a number to scoff at, and even Spotify knew that, releasing a brand new playlist featuring the best of Russian rap which included Husky’s new songs entitled, Hip-Hop Puska / Cannon. Why is this important? Because prior to this, the playlist that was created by Spotify featuring the ‘best’ of Russian rap had not featured Husky at all, except for one track at times. As it stands on September 27th, Husky’s follower count is 308,307, a two-thousand plus growth from only two days prior, and so one can make the assertion that Husky’s fame is not only established within Russia and European circles of influence, but quickly becoming global, even though he has not ventured outside of Russia to perform as of yet. Just like in 2018, Husky has a two-month tour planned, with one concert exception happening in February of 2021, spanning over 32 locations, from Minsk and Perm, to Kazan and Saratov. We shall see what occurs during this tour, but from the onset, Husky has come from his soloist and performance 'hibernation' with strength and determination.

Armed with new music and a revitalized image, complete with dark brown hair instead of a shaved head, rugged yet tailored stubble, and strong proclivity for blood, guts, and obscurity, the Husky from 2018 has developed and taken on a rawer, more introspective voice, both narratively and vocally, although this is not to say that his music has become primarily 'soft.' He utilizes the same expressionary genuineness, but concurrently experiments with new musical instruments and inflections, at points using jazz overtones and sax synth, other times toying between lofi and rap, although at other times creating complex textures of voice, backbeat, synth, and inflectionary rhythm. Husky knows how to use the voice, consciously manipulating his flow to the intense emotion being extolled while never confusing variety with distasteful rap banalities, i.e., non-stop screaming, non-stop flows, no rhythmic/musical variation. The new album is heavy on electronicism, using boosted bass ostinatos, complex rhythmicity, and auxiliary percussion and sounds to fill the sonic space. But at no time is Husky’s voice overrun and ran amuck, but quite the opposite. His rap declamations remain prominently displayed, down to each individual whisper, grunt, moan, whine, and plea. Subject wise, the bleakness fans have come to love has not gone anywhere, but has been reimagined using elaborate, poetic symbiology and enigmatic imaginative verbiage.

His commentary on the staleness of human existence, his pervading wish to escape, and the inescapable existence of a rapper in Russia faced with dogmatic tyranny and societal scorn all seek to further Husky’s fight for something perhaps unattainable in anyone's life, that being total emancipation from hardship. Many of the tracks use references to classical Russian literature, religious iconography, personal experiences, and political matters, all which point to a discernible difference of Husky’s poetic inclinations from others in Russia and abroad, except for some. Husky doesn’t make tracks, he makes mini-documentaries depicting at times factitious, at other painfully real physical circumstances, never once sugar-coating his battered inner psyche for the sake of popularity. His use of drugs to escape reality, his scorn for God’s inaction, his contempt of those out solely for worldly pleasures, his inability to escape his eventual fate, these images pervade the 16 track album like a plague of its own kind. If this is the road Husky is choosing to take, then those willing to re-evaluate their own primal existence are gladly welcomed along, just don’t expect Husky to wait up for you.


A brief analysis of each track will be released and the track will be added so you can follow along with the words and analysis. Due to the dense and complex nature of Husky's verses, to understand them, one must recognize the images being referenced and why they are being referenced. and their commenter's do a wonderful job in formulating reasons and conceptualizations of Husky's elegiac interpretations of the world around him and thus, my starting point is always there. Due to Husky's education and love of literature and film, his songs are cinematographic in coloring, and use pictorial language that induces mental imagining, furthering the categorizing of Husky's music as 'temporally and spatially non-bound.' A person in the US and a student in Russia can both 'see' and feel Husky's plight, align themselves with it, and consequently have their conception of the world in which they inhabit radically altered. Yes, Husky's poetry is important, but the sheer power of his interpretational voice is strong enough to reflect the sentiments of the text, which is why I believe he is beloved on a global scale. He presents himself as himself, even going so far as to disavow his existence as nothing than a mere bug in amber, an inconsequential figure, trapped in an endless moment in time, that has happened to make more sound than usual.


Photo Credits: Igor Klepnev

New Album can be heard here

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