The Godfather of Russian Rap, (continued)

Backstage at Moscow's Russian Television Station before their scheduled performance on the "Whose Side?" talk show, Pavlov and the three female dancers he calls "my girls" are going over a few final details. Their act is loose and funky, with Pavlov rapping in an oversize suit and green-tinted sunglasses while the three dancers strut their choreographed stuff. The show has a feel at once polished and laid-back, which was not easy to come by at first, according to Pavlov.

"At first, when we were trying to find dancers for the group, we made the mistake of thinking that all black people have good rhythm. So we would ask black girls to join our group, but a lot of them couldn't dance at all," he says with a shrug. "I think about 99% of the black people here are really white inside."

MD&C Pavlov's rap songs are a lyrical mix of English, Russian, Sanskrit and a healthy smattering of nonsense words thrown in for their rhythmic value. "Who cares what the words say?" he asks. "The important thing is: do they sound good together? The words for me are just a phonetic instrument.

"Rapping in Russian sounds stupid," he continues, "but I'm writing songs with a mix of English and Russian now. Nobody here understands it if I rap only in English. For them it's like I'm from the moon or something. They don't get the music, the rhythm or the words." Which means, as even a spiritual person like Pavlov must know, no cd and tape sales.

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