Iran cracks down on rap music

Authorities outlaw genre due to 'obscene' lyrics

BAGHDAD- Calling the lyrics “obscene,” Iranian authorities vowed to crack down on artists and studios associated with rap music.

“There is nothing wrong with this type of music in itself,” an official at the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, Mohammad Dashtgoli, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

“But, due to the use of obscene words by its singers, this music has been categorized as illegal,” he said.

“In coordination with the police, illegal studios producing this type of music will be sealed and the singers in this genre will be confronted,” he added.

Dashtgoli said a number of illegal rap singers have already been “identified.”

Officials in the Islamic republic continually complain about a “cultural invasion” by “decadent” Western music, especially rap, which has become highly popular among young males in Tehran.

With its explicit lyrics embracing social, political and sexual themes, rap music is an underground phenomenon in Tehran, where the culture ministry has to endorse concerts and give permission for the production of albums.

However, the black market offers a wide choice of rap albums by local artists inspired by the Persian-language rap of Iranians living in Los Angeles.

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