The Iranian government has issued a country wide crackdown on rap music, according to a recent BBC report.
The government’s Ministry for Culture and Islamic Guidance is leading the charge, issuing a statement saying rappers will be “confronted” and “illegal studios” will be shut down.
Like their United States counterparts, officials deemed the genre to be “vulgar” and like American fans, rap in Iran is popular among young males and carries messages concerning political, social, and sexual themes.
Rappers are not just restricted to recording music, but also performing it as well. Any artist wishing to hold a performance must get prior permission from the government. A handful of songs manage to get approved by the ministry, but the majority of the music is distributed through underground channels.
Iranian officials are also seeking a way to control music distributed on the Internet as well.
The crackdown is part of a larger measure to crackdown on “decadence” and also includes certain films, drugs, and alcohol. In addition, the measure seems to be another way for the government to keep “western” values out of the country.
“Iranian rappers are inspired by the Iranian exile community in Los Angeles – one of the main [centers] of American rap,” the BBC report says. “Young Iranian singers are trying to replicate the accents and subject material used by many US artists.“
While rap music finds itself under the microscope in Iran, women who wear makeup and hats and not the traditional head scarf have also been targeted. Hundreds of women have been arrested in the last six months for their fashion infractions.