Husky could be considered an enigma, both within the Russian rap locality, and within the global hip-hop spectrum, as he traverses both a fatalistic, defeatist mentality, while simultaneously turning against that for which he criticizes and scorns. He does not perpetuate factory-produced idealism or facsimiled presentations of standard thematic tropes, i.e., money, fame, wealth, sex, drugs, nor does he transform sorrow at one's distresses into an identity. He is painfully transparent, ready to tell the listener his truth at every possible opportunity, regardless of what that may be and if the listener is prepared to absorb his statement. Consequently, this makes his music unappealing and downright 'stupid and immature' to some, but the fact remains that he is one of very few rappers who could be considered 'changeless artists,' both in image and character. Eminem, Lil Darkie, and IM3PEAK fill the ranks alongside Husky as unshakably authentic, despite success coming to them in varying degrees. In a 2016 interview with The Village, Husky divulges an abundance of information on who 'Husky' is and the perspectives which crafted his artistic vision. In the section delineated as About Journalism and Work, Husky describes what he views as 'the worst thing,' false prestige, and the desperate attempt to cultivate an image and reality around the constructed, imitational persona. He pronounces that a prostitute's self-autonomy is more admirable than one who slaves away in an office every day for the same result, money. This poses a dilemma, one that many commenters on the Interview picked up upon, that is, the prevalence of contradictions in the speaker's opinions and ambiguous origins of truth from stated opinions. Husky despises those corrupted by the illustrious attractiveness of capitalistic gain, yet acknowledges the necessity to participate in the 'rat race' of society in some capacity, here through the lens of prostitution.
He states a myriad of profundities, more than can be mentioned within this article, but one that stands in distinctiveness is his philosophy on his political views, "I feel something, that's all." This singular statement, reminiscent of Magda Arnold's appraisal theory, with its notion of individualistic emotional responses to events, houses within its pitfalls of misreadings and misconceptions of precisely what Husky means. Despite the possible reading of Husky as a brainless reactionary, his political mentality is not without description, as prior in the Interview, he said that although the line of 'the Left' and 'the Right' are formless in today's culture, he operates from the position of an artist, and identifies with those views he 'sympathizes' with the most. Of course, ruling by pathos alone can lead someone to be infected with the bug of emotion, but Husky is much smarter than his public persona perhaps permits him. This 'Gopnik' persona, with his shaved head and love of tracksuits, Adidas sent him some and lead to readers calling him out on yet another contradiction, classifies him in some viewers minds as nothing more than a low-brow wannabe-rapper, but Husky himself would be and is the first to denigrate his personality in any given situation. On numerous occasions within the Interview, he self-deprecates himself by calling himself: "ridiculous and wretched," these comments pertaining to his performance practicing in his room back at MSU, one who cannot be called passionate like those who indeed 'are' passionate, trapped in Moscow (due to legitimate reasons of lack of Russian development), and a fool when talking about labelist political identification. He also calls his music, which is mostly geared towards his experience of Russia and his position in the societal framework, as 'nothing new,' and perhaps that is indeed the case.
Nevertheless, what is the case is that he fundamentally aligns himself with the working individual, who persistently wakes up every day, forces himself/herself out of the house or wherever they live into a world uncommitted with fixing problems related to the singular perspective, but rather the 'global' unknown. The person is overlooked for the whole, thus leading to a whole section of society who feel betrayed by those who are supposed to represent them and fight on their behalf. Husky expresses his views on his birthplace in palpable sincerity, saying that he would like to venture home when the opportunity arises, but as it stands, he cannot due to high plane fare and justified fear of becoming 'lost in life.' Take from that what you will, but his comfortability with the Tajiks who, employed as guest workers who live in Moscow 'squats,' land arbitrarily 'claimed' and lived upon with no actual claim to such land, were present and around while Husky engaged in his night walks, showcase his commonality with those 'forgotten' by mainstream society. Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, does not seek to glamorize nor romanticize the working and proletarian class as symbols of 'real Russia'; instead, I speculate that he sees them as embodying everything that Russia has done wrong or has yet failed to do for her people. What I find curious is how he characterizes himself and his role as 'friend,' saying, "I have not done anything good to anyone," implying that he is undeserving of friends and those who wish to be around him and associate with him. I have never personally met him, but on the internet, where his presence is virtually non-existent, I tend to not fall into the line of thinking that pins him as 'doing nothing good.' Instead, I would classify him as one of the main pillars of contemporary Russia who, despite being jailed and heavily censored, still makes his oppositional voice heard and known.
In Part 2, I will be discussing and analyzing Husky's fifth song from his 2017 album "Любимые песни (воображаемых) людей," and I will be tying in many details not mentioned here about Husky's view on concepts of self, state, and other. This track tells the metaphorical story of Husky as the gun, not the shooter, a detail which will be elaborated upon further, who shoots 'himself' with a bullet of the truth of a painful world, where sexual appetites are forever ravenous and 'daddy,' an allusion to Putin's paternal image, and his children, the citizens and supports located within Russia, specifically Moscow and main urban areas. (Continued in Part 2...)
Picture Source: Vladimir Putin is declaring war on rap music (2018)