‘People Were Waiting for That’: Protest Rap and Public Mood in Bishkek
Europe-Asia Studies, 74, 7
This essay investigates the mechanisms that led to a wave of protest rap in Bishkek in the first half of 2020. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork, it draws on interviews and observation to include the perspective of the musicians themselves. It finds that the protest songs were facilitated both by a context of social mobilisation and by shifts in the rappers’ terms of bargaining that eventually led them to release the songs.