Feb 25 2010, 1:30pm

In generally liberal places, like the States, paranoid douchebags put rappers under FBI investigation for rhyming "gun" with "fun." But in Iran you can't even rhyme "fun" with "sun" or "honey bun" because rapping is strictly illegal. Their Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (how Orwellian does that sound?)—in charge of approving any publicly released music, book and film—see rap as rude, inappropriate and pointless. They even accuse it of making you grumpy and bitter and have all kinds of silly reasons for banning it, like rappers having shaved heads or that an instrument is too loud. This might all sound like a harmless rap but really it's just a nicer way of saying, "We'll close down all studios that produce rap music and arrest every rap artist." So good luck releasing a rap record in Iran, unless you're willing to give Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's ass a big wet lick, like Yas (the only Iranian rapper given the exceptional permission to release a rap album since Ahmadinejad became president in 2005 for his 100% pro-government lyrics).

Still, there are some Iranians recording rap music, and their CDs and MP3s are spreading like wildfire across the country's black market and online. Some of them even have the balls to play live. Like Ghogha, who also defies the regulation against female solo artists. I recently saw her perform in Stockholm, on her first show outside Iran which might cause her some serious bad vibes with the government. Unlike Iranian "rappers" like Erfan and Khashayar who also rap about stuff like girls and panties, her rhymes are all about philosophy, politics, women's rights and pleads for change. And change sure is on the horizon considering how rapidly rap music is infiltrating the Iranian society, whether the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance likes it or not. Iran has one of the world's youngest populations; unimaginable 65 percent are under 25(!) and they've grown up under strict authoritarian rule, all while having access to cell phones, MTV and internet. There are even reports stating there's a 90 percent chance of hearing rap music pumping out of the car next to yours in Iranian traffic jams. Now that's what I call an underground movement.

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