Sun, Nov 14, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Iranian Authorities Continue Crackdown On Rap Music
Members of underground rap groups arrested in Tehran.
Earlier this week, Tehran Province police chief Hossein Sajediniya reported the arrest of several young Iranians belonging to underground rap groups. He said that intelligence had made it possible for the public safety police to track down and capture the group members. He noted that the youngsters had routinely gathered in demolished and abandoned buildings to evade the police, and sometimes had even broken windows and used dark curtains to conceal their activities. The detained group members were both men and women. They used Western musical instruments, recorded their music on CDs and DVDs, produced video clips, and distributed them online and on satellite TV networks. Sajediniya also reported that alcohol had been found during the police raid on the groups’ gathering spots.
Speaking about the rap music created by the youngsters, the police chief said that they had been using inappropriate street talk that showed disregard for the law and for moral rules. He noted that those groups posed a tangible threat to Iran’s young generation by spreading moral corruption and improper Western conduct, alienating young Iranians from Islamic culture, offending Iran’s dignified music, encouraging inappropriate relations between men and women, negatively portraying the social situation, inciting the youngsters, and disrespecting the religion and the nation (ILNA, November 7).
Original Persian rap music has gained popularity among young Iranians in recent years. The themes of rap music include politics, society, and even sex. Several songs recorded by rap artists were approved for distribution by the Islamic Guidance Ministry; most, however, are distributed on the black market and the internet. In recent years, Iranian authorities have stepped up the fight against this type of music. For instance, the authorities closed down studios where rap music was recorded, while the internal security forces raided underground concerts featuring rap artists. Early in his tenure, Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, the Islamic Guidance minister in Ahmadinejad’s first government, announced that he intended to deal with all types of music that contradicted, as he put it, the values of the Islamic republic, including rock and rap. He called on musicians in Iran to create “meaningful music.”
Listen to Iranian rapsong “Mehrdad X2” (Shakh Shekan):