‘I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin’: Watch Hit Video By Putin-Loving African Rappers

“I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin” was a surprise hit song in Russia in 2014 and 2015, and with the renewed focus on Putin and Russia due to Donald Trump and numerous members of his inner circle expressing admiration for Putin and even engaging in business deals with Russia, the rap track and the bizarre video that accompanies the song have seen a resurgence in popularity online in recent weeks.

But perhaps the most surprising element of the video would be the artists themselves.

In a country of more than 143 million with only about 40,000 people of color, and where according to one study 41 percent African expatriates have been the victim of racially motivated violence, the unabashed Putin tribute rap is the product of two native Africans.

Watch the video for “I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin” below, on this page.

Calling themselves Architects Music Group, or A.M.G., Zimbabwe native Kudzayi Victor Matinyarare — who goes by the name K. King — and his rap and songwriting partner Beni Manici, originally of Kenya, emigrated to Russia in 2000 to study at the University of Volgograd.

I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin, rap video, Architects Music Group, Russia, Russian rappers, Donald Trump
Rappers A.M.G. view Vladimir Putin (above) as role model for young Africans, which inspired them to create their rap hit, "I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin." (Image By Dmitry Astakhov/AP Images)

In 2007 they both relocated from the city formerly known as Stalingrad to the Russian Federation capital of Moscow — and neither say they have ever experienced a racist incident in Russia.

Seven years later, they came up with their song “I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin,” which they say was designed to inspire other Africans by holding up the Russian political strongman as a role model.

“It’s most definitely a tribute,” King told the Vocative pop culture site.

“You see, in black culture, in Africa, most kids grow up without a father figure or a hero. And so we grew up on legends of real living people. If people from where I grew up in Zimbabwe know my history, they would say, ‘I wanna be serious like K.King.’ So we were thinking, ‘We wanna go hard.’ But like who? Like Putin!'”

Watch the video for “I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin” below. But use caution. The song contains lyrics that could be considered offensive.

In another interview, King praised Putin for his “authoritarian way” of running the country.

“We want this song to speak to all blacks, not only those who live in Russia. Beni Manici and I both come from countries where the presidents know how to rule in an authoritarian way. I personally think that we need more emblematic leaders,” King said.

While the song took Russia by storm, allowing the duo to embark on a concert tour that took them across the entire length of the vast country, the song was not as warmly received by their fellow African expatriates living in Russia.

“I don’t really understand these rappers’ motivations, unless they want to win favor with the Russian authorities,” one Guinean immigrant in Russia, who declined to use his name, told the French TV network France 24. “The fact that the rap addresses ‘blacks’ and tells them to ‘work hard’ reflects the negative stereotype that ‘blacks don’t work hard.’ It will only reinforce xenophobia.”

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While the A.M.G. rappers say that Putin presents a strong role model for other people of African descent, the Russian leader has also become a hero to white supremacists in the United States.

I Go Hard Like Vladimir Putin, rap video, Architects Music Group, Russia, Russian rappers, Donald Trump
American "alt-right" leader Richard Spencer, who believes that whites and blacks should occupy separate countries, praises Vladimir Putin's Russia as the "most powerful white power in the world." (Image By David J. Phillip/AP Images)

For example, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has said that Putin’s Russia “holds the key to white survival,” and white nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach calls Putin “the lead of the free world.”

[Featured Image by Architects Music Group Publicity]