Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday said rap in the country should be regulated, not banned amid its growing popularity.
“If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it,” Putin said of rap to a meeting of cultural advisers in St. Petersburg, the Associated Press reported.
Putin also claimed that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest,” emphasizing that drug rap “is a path to the degradation of the nation.”
The president’s comments come as Russia has begun to crackdown on musical expression and rap in the country is growing in popularity.
Several rap concerts by prominent artists have been cancelled this year, including Gone.Fludd, who cited “every police agency you can imagine” and Allj, who claims he has been threatened, and IC3PEAK, who have been arrested at several venues during their tour.
Last month, viral sensation Husky was arrested during a show in Moscow protesting another show being cancelled.
On Thursday, the Russian parliament announced a rap contest to quell concerns that they were targeting the genre, but made the competition limited to lyrics about traveling the country.