Crime, alcohol and drugs feature in most popular songs among the youngsters, Macedonian influencers are careful about what they are promoting


“Zbog nje valjo bi ko Pablo, samo da joj kupim sve” (For her, I would sell drugs like Pablo Escobar, only to be able to buy her everything)

“Jedva stoji na nogama, svu noć miješala alkohol je sa drogama” (She could barely stand on her feat, as she was mixing alcohol and drugs all night long)

These are some of the lyrics of the most popular songs in North Macedonia’s neighborhood, which are also popular in our country. The lyrics in the first example are part of the song titled “Pablo” by the duo “Buba Koreli, Jala Brat and Milan Stankovic”. As can be seen from the title itself, the song mentions the Columbian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, known as the most powerful drug dealer in the ’80s and the ’90s. It is a less know fact that murders were his ways of solving the problems he came across and as a result, he is responsible for the murders of several thousand people, among whom are numerous policemen and government representatives. But this fact will not prevent his glorification in this song, which in a matter of several days reached over 9 million views.

The new pop-rap, but trap music as well, in its videos also promotes a certain dress code, behavior, fast driving, drinking alcohol and use of narcotics. The songs’ videos that arrive from the country’s neighborhood have even tens of millions of views on YouTube. The videos can be accessed by anyone who has access to the Internet. Even though part of this content is banned for anyone younger than 18 by YouTube, still, anyone can access them with a false profile with a fake date of birth i.e. anyone who will introduce himself as an adult.

Therefore, the video clips and the lyrics are easily accessed by teenagers. Furthermore, this type of music dominates in young people’s musical choices, but their behavior, as well. In the period before the night clubs were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, during the weekends, in almost every city in Macedonia this type of music and choruses could have been heard.

Во видео-записите се промовира одреден начин на облекување и однесување / фото: скришот од YouTube

In search of how this music genre has become dominant and most listened among the young generations, including the social impact the values promoted in the songs and the videos can have on young people, Meta.mk spoke with several people who are known among the youngsters and have a certain influence in their everyday lives.

Darko Jefremov, who is known on Instagram as @darkovlogs at the moment has 90.000 followers. According to him, even in the past, there were songs that promoted alcohol and drugs, but back then, that music was a matter of choice, while today the listening to this music is inevitable. He says that this is very damaging to good performers and good music.

@darkovlogs / фото: лична архива

“When I was younger I used to listen to Eminem, D12, 50 Cent, SAF, Chista Okolina, Urbana Dimenzija, Spirt, etc. Even then there were songs about drugs, women, and money, but back then, that was considered underground, they were recorded on tapes and later were transferred to mp3 versions to avoid paying the full price of the original CDs by American rappers. Listening to this style of music was a matter of choice and if you wanted to listen to it, you had to make an effort to find the tracks, which is completely different from as it is today. With YouTube and some advertising, now anyone can become famous” said Jefremov for Meta.mk.

When it comes to music, you don’t have a choice, Snoop Dogg is old and boring, and now we have 6ix9ine and his controversial videos, where the popularity and number of views arrive from children who have full access to the internet. These children watch these videos 1000 times because it is cool to watch someone pretending to be a mobster with money, drugs, and women, while we, the elders want to watch the “porn movie with good music only once,” said Jefremov.

He said that this is the way how these types of songs are becoming more popular, and the remaining artists are trying in vain to succeed with excellent work since, as he said, the youth find it boring.

Youtuber and influencer Ivan Ajnštajn agrees these sort of themes have always been of interest in rap music. According to him, the Internet can be used positively in a case such as this, because the young who have Internet access can easily inform themselves what behavior is considered as bad or as good.

“As a rap artist, I’m especially glad that rap music has finally managed to find a way to be heard by the general public. Maybe it will take some time more to be understood completely, but the main difficulty has been overcome. I’ve been listening to rap music since a very tender age when I even couldn’t understand what music is. This is the way I was brought up and I am a witness to this genre’s evolution in order to arrive with a “perfect” style that will be liked by a large number of people. I always put myself as an example. Here are some of the lyrics from my youth:

Instead of one gram give me white mountains with a snuff tube so I can snuff them whole ( SAF – Miss Stone )

These themes were always popular in rap music, he said. The kids today, because of the Internet, are far better informed than my generation and can easily find what is good and what is not, said Ivan Ajnštajn.

Ivan Ajnstajn
Иван Ајнштајн / фото: лична архива

He said that the artists should enjoy the freedom of expression when creating and that they shouldn’t be blamed for the kids’ bad behavior.

“If you prohibit an artist to work freely that would be as if his arm was chopped off. The artists are those that choose how they will compensate for eventual better placement of their creation. During each publishing of any type of content on YouTube, it is obligatory to select whether this subject was made for children or not. If one chooses it is suitable for children and yet it features inappropriate issues, YouTube is implementing appropriate sanctions. I agree that the parents have difficulties when upbringing their children in a society such as ours, but I think they have no right to interfere with the ways artists earn for a living” explains the young influencer.

Sašo – Drunk and Young ; Vlado Janevski – Black Tikveš Wine ; Novi Dečki – Unlimited Fun, are just part of the songs that were popular when I was a teenager, stresses Ivan, and they obviously promote alcohol.

“Nobody back then was raising hell for the music’s potential bad influence on the youth. The whole difference is that so much emphasis is given to music and the music itself is seen as a primary educator because it is easier to blame someone else,” said Ivan.

Instagram and YouTube are the “most frequented” applications where the youngsters spend most of their time. These are the very places where these values promoted in these songs and videos are becoming a trend. Jefremov thinks that despite the vile content that can often be seen in these applications, there are Macedonian influencers that are concentrating on promoting true values, but the problem is how can the young recognize them.

“I will tell you that there are plenty of influencers in Macedonia that act informatively and in the right way towards their audience, for eg. @doctor.goran knows how to make you laugh and knows how to explain medical issues professionally. The same goes for @annstojanova and her fitness plans which she uses to motivate the girls to live a healthy life, and there are others that act positively when it comes to their followers. There are other influencers as well that a building up their audience by force, by copying other famous personalities, by playing and pretending they know everything about life and these are the “influencers” that have a damaging effect on the younger audience” stressed Jefremov.

He says that the elder generations can immediately recognize the personalities that are characterized as influencers, unlike the youngers, who rely on the number of followers that the influencers have.

“I am a truck driver, I don’t consider myself an influencer. Through my lifestyle that it’s presented through the stories, I try to provide the young people goals in their lives. I am a type of a character that has hit the bottom many times because of the society and the circumstances, I had to toughen up and have moved forward for a better tomorrow for myself and my closest ones or simply put if I have made it, so could my followers” said darkovlogs.

Ivan Ajnštajn agrees that people should be careful what is published on social networks where the differences and creativity are expressed.

“Each social network has its own rules of what is allowed to be published and isn’t. As long as everyone adheres to these rules, none of the stuff that is published should have a bad influence on anyone. Therefore, each artist is presenting their own products on any of the social networks they find appropriate for them and their target audience. I always try to be original, creating works that different people might interpret them differently. For me, that is where the beauty of art lies,” said Ivan Ajnštajn.

The persons who are popular on social networks have an enormous influence on the development and the personalities of young people, consider the experts.

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