Russian Version of Lil Pump, But Even Wilder. How Did the Popular Morgenshtern Transition From YouTube to Rap?
He got kicked out of university for filming a vlog where he offers sex to a girl at school. What was his journey like from YouTube to the top of the rap scene?
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Can you imagine Lil Pump being born in Russia? Most likely, he would meet very similar characteristics as the 23-year-old rapper Morgenshtern, whose real name is Alisher Tagirovich Morgenshtern.
He started as a YouTuber, but today he is one of the most famous and successful Russian artists on the music scene. In his controversial videos, he likes to flaunt luxury, money, expensive cars, houses, jewellery, but also setting bombs off. "I don't consider money as something important. It's just a piece of paper that you can exchange for emotion," says the rapper.
We're going to the other side of the globe for a change, to look into the rapper with a satanic symbol 666 tattoo above his eye. His songs have reached the world charts and mainstream TikTok users. Meet Morgenshtern and his path to success.
- Why is he nicknamed The Russian Lil Pump.
- What did the first song, recorded at the age of 12, sounded like.
- What video did he get kicked out of university for?
- Which rapper he despises of.
- Who is the only known American rapper who featured with Morgenshtern.
- Which of his tracks became viral on TikTok.
- Why did he get the satanic symbol 666 tattooed on his face.
From YouTube to the top of the rap scene
Alisher was born on February 17, 1998 in the Russian city of Ufa, deep in the middle of Bashkortostan. He was into music from an early age, and his mother, who made a living with a flower business, has fully supported him in his hobby. His father was a successful businessman, but he left the family before the birth of his son.
Morgenshtern had only seen his father a few times before he passed away. His mother brought him a more advanced studio microphone from a business trip when he was 12. His historically first song was recorded on it in 2010, under the pseudonym DeeneS MC.
A video was made for his debut titled Мы выше облаков (We're Above the Clouds), with his friend Sasha (stage name Biely Ap) is on the feat. You can see them both rap in various places in Ufa - in the park, on the playground or on the streets - and although the quality corresponds to their age and almost zero experience at the time, the beginning of their future potential is already apparent in this act.
Morgenshtern used the microphone from his mom symbolically as a tribute until recently. Since his upbringing was modest, he tried to make money in multiple ways next to high school. He had courier or car wash jobs for a while. He also played acoustic guitar on top of that and earned some money busking in his hometown.
During his studies at high school, he dropped a few more melodic tracks, on which he accompanied himself on the guitar. These were mostly satirical tracks with vulgar lyrics. Some small earnings started coming in, so he finally decided to give up his side jobs and decided to give it a shot and try to make it with his own brand.
In 2013, he started a YouTube channel, on which he initially published vlogs for the most part. He found a sizeable liking for his controversial personality and his videos were increasingly getting viewed. Mainly the series of videos called #EasyRap, where he showed how easy it is to create a rap hit nowadays. On one of them, collaborating with the well-known Russian rapper Face.
He was expelled from university for profane vlogs
As a teenager, he experienced a relatively intense period. He changed his official surname, Valejev, to artistic Morgenshtern. Although he managed to successfully join a university, the Faculty of Education to be specific, he didn't stick around for too long.
The rector expelled him after a while. The reason was said to be his "excessively open activities" on YouTube. He uploaded a video from one of the Ufa schools, where he was doing an internship as a student and upcoming teacher. In a scandalous vlog, he openly described his feelings about the school and even offered sex to tone of the girls at school.
The video made it all the way to the university administration, which immediately got him expelled from school. At the time, he was already a relatively popular YouTuber, and the vlog, in which he described the details of this event, has gained more than 6.8 million views in a short time. He focused more and more on current music and trap in his videos. Or Russian rappers, whom he often publicly criticized for their bad taste and despised them. He even dissed the famous Russian rapper Pharaoh from the group Dead Dynasty.
"YouTube has given me the opportunity to motivate people and bring something positive into this gray world," Morgenshtern said of his YouTube career.
Russian Lil Pump
At the beginning of 2018, Morgenshtern's YouTube channel was followed by more than a million fans. It was this year that he decided to fully devote himself to rap music. He released his first EP called Hate Me, which contained six songs. Later that year, his first album called До того как стал известен (Before I Became Familiar) saw the light of day.
On his 20th birthday, he embarked on his first official tour with an EP, with stops in thirteen Russian cities. His transformation from YouTuber to rapper was quite natural and expected. With a fairly large fan base, it was easy for him to quickly find loyal listeners as well.
Morgenshtern calls himself a young Tupac, but the musical public compares him to the American rapper Lil Pump. For his controversial performances, crazy lyrics and, last but not least, a similar flow and style. "Esskeetit" is the only known American rapper who appeared on a feature featuring the wild Morgenshtern.
It's a song by Watufuk, which was released towards the end of 2020. Although without a video and only displaying caricatures of both performers on the visual, it has gained tens of millions of views nevertheless. After its release, Morgenshtern began to create more and more buzz overseas . With his elaborate music videos and high numbers, he could easily fit into the elite of the American rap scene.
Breakthrough year 2020
Morgenshtern began to record his first major worldwide success in 2020. The album Legendary Dust (Legendary Dust) was released this year, and it literally dominated the charts. It became his most successful album so far and gained a million streams on the well-known Russian VK platform (VKontakte) in the first half hour after its release.
During the first two days after the release of the album on VK, he got more than 21 million listenings, which is a breakthrough record for this particular social network. However, even more successful than the album were his solo tracks, which saw the light of day during the year of the pandemic. The biggest hit was the song Cadillac, on which he raps with Allj.
The video for this single already has more than 112 million views on YouTube at the time of writing this article, making it Morgenshtern's most watched track in his career. Other hits such as El Problema, Novyy Merin, Me Pokh or Cristal & MOËT are getting close, number-wise. Each of them has around 100 million views.
Aside from the Russian charts, though, his name and especially his music began to resonate all around the world. His song Ice has become so viral on TikTok that we can honestly say, without any exaggeration, that if you have ever opened this application at least once in your life and spent more than five minutes on it, there's a ninety-nine percent chance that you have already heard the song. Even if you're (maybe) reading about the artist for the first time today.
In his music videos, Morgenshtern likes to show luxury, money, expensive cars, houses, jewellery, but also girls. Although, as he says, because of music and YouTube, he has absolutely no time left for a serious relationship.
"When thefirst major income popped up on my bank account, I immediately bought a car. Feel free to invest. I don't consider money as something important. It's just a piece of paper that you can exchange for emotion. I came to this world to have fun, and I still get paid for it, " he said of his life credo.
This month, Morgenshtern donated 666,666 rubles (approximately 7,500 euros) to the Bashkir Foundation called Our Children, which helps abandoned orphans. It is said to be the largest donation in history to a non-governmental organization. The symbolism of the satanic number 666 is tattooed above his left eye. Allegedly he had the number tattooed as a teenager so that he'd never have to work in his uncle's office.
Despite of his controversial personality, he is currently one of the most successful Russian artists, boasting many platinum and gold singles. However, we think that he is still just getting started, and we believe that we will be hearing more and more about him in the future.
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