Iran declares war on rappers

Oh, Iran. When will you learn to loosen up and not interpret everything coming out of the West as a threat? This week, the Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance began a campaign against rappers, announcing that illegal studios would be closed and artists “confronted.” Normally, musicians in Iran who want to record an album ...

597868_070925_ahmadinejad5.jpg
597868_070925_ahmadinejad5.jpg

Oh, Iran. When will you learn to loosen up and not interpret everything coming out of the West as a threat? This week, the Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance began a campaign against rappers, announcing that illegal studios would be closed and artists "confronted." Normally, musicians in Iran who want to record an album or stage a performance have to apply for permission from the government. But as the hip-hop movement in Farsi has continued to grow, driven by links between Iranians and exiled Persians in places like Los Angeles or Paris, many rappers have chosen to bypass official protocol, choosing to distribute their music on the Internet instead. 

If only Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other power brokers in Iran read FP. Then they would see that the globalization of hip-hop isn't evil; it's just the continuation of a long history of youths using music and poetry to express themselves.

Oh, Iran. When will you learn to loosen up and not interpret everything coming out of the West as a threat? This week, the Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance began a campaign against rappers, announcing that illegal studios would be closed and artists “confronted.” Normally, musicians in Iran who want to record an album or stage a performance have to apply for permission from the government. But as the hip-hop movement in Farsi has continued to grow, driven by links between Iranians and exiled Persians in places like Los Angeles or Paris, many rappers have chosen to bypass official protocol, choosing to distribute their music on the Internet instead. 

If only Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other power brokers in Iran read FP. Then they would see that the globalization of hip-hop isn’t evil; it’s just the continuation of a long history of youths using music and poetry to express themselves.

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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