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“Dead inside in blood, whitefish Marlboro inside”: who is Shadowraze

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April 22, 2022

Text: Erdni Kagaltynov

As a niche rapper with tracks about the dot, he became one of the main phenomena of the beginning of 2022, and his grandfather is an insider.



Recently released on Flow text about “grandfather of insiders”, a subculture of depressed teenagers who play dota and love anime. It turned out that the tastes of followers of the buzzer emo movement are based not only on computer games and Japanese animation. In early 2022, Spotify (when it was still available in Russia) featured rapper Shadowraze, so much so that he managed hold out in the first place in the top of domestic performers for 14 consecutive weeks. Let’s try to understand who Shadowraze is and how he managed to become the voice of an entire subculture with niche tracks about dot.

There is not much information about shadowraze: according to social networks, the rapper is from Yaroslavl, and this year he turned 21 years old. Such scanty information about the artist is hardly correlated with the wild popularity that began to grow rapidly in 2021. IN public The artist’s first track appeared in 2019. The song is called “Mode: alohadance”. Alohadance is a nickname for the player in Dota 2 of Natus Vincere. The text is filled with game lexicon, and the track has a simple cloud-trap instrumental.


Until 2021, shadowraze songs were more of an example of amateur creativity for Dota 2 fans. track “Ice”. Quality information and tools, aggressive presentation and witty punchlines stuffed with dot text have become part of a sharp jump in popularity.


Trying to understand the gaming terminology, mostly related to the game Dota 2, is not so easy if you are not immersed in the context. Here is an example of the first verse of the track “astral step”: “I throw step, I fly straight up / My red set killed them all / They have one preset in the head”. Surprisingly, such a niche product collects millions auditions on streams, overtaking the usual hip-hop new school, which requires, perhaps, basic knowledge of modern hip-hop culture.

The reason for its popularity seems simple: Shadowraze tracks have become popular on the tick thanks to memes about the zxc subculture, a “cowardly” branch of insider grandfathers who struggle with posers in their environment. Knowledge and understanding of the lyrics of Shadowraze songs has become a litmus test among zxc followers, determining who is a poser and who is a real grandfather of the inside, who understands the terminology of dota and adheres to the unofficial code subculture.

This may seem trivial, but firstly, the numbers speak for themselves, and secondly, the newcomer has already noticed the mastodon Newcastle rapper Morgenstern, who accepted the challenge of Shadowraze to meet him in a duel in Dota 2. It all looks like a seed for fita, but in 2022 the rapper has released only one solo track “Showdown”. The song plays viral tick-tock memes related to the game Brawl Stars, and the interlude includes a voice message from the streamer zxcursed, one of the main ideologues of the zxc movement, which is now in Ukraine: “Bro, this is a difficult situation, all borders are closed. ..> Well, we just go closer to Lviv, but in Lviv, too, n ***** began… “

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Shadowraze managed to find a balance between a niche, almost unique product and viral popularity with just seven tracks on streams. Honestly, it does not seem that it will last long, although the exploitation of elements of modern culture looks quite an attractive creative model.

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