“This is my new routine, my new routine is war, I can either lay here in the ground dead or ready to spit bullets every day”. War rap by OTOY explains what Ukraine has been through in 2022.

World-class songwriters often recommend making songs about things you know the best. In 2022, war became the key topic for Ukrainian artists. One of the most noticeable pieces belongs to a rapper OTOY called ‘Околофронт’ (pronounced ‘Okolofront’).

Vyacheslav OTOY Drofa is only 23. In 2020, he released his debut EP and was preparing a new release in 2022. Then war knocked at the door. Now Vyacheslav is not only a rapper, but a volunteer soldier, initiator of a charity fund Agov and a brother of a Ukrainian missing soldier from Azov regiment.

“Околофронт” EP turned into a sublimation of the emotions and things he has been through so far – pain, despair, and a lot – I mean, A LOT – of anger. This release was perceived as a story relatable to all the Ukrainians, putting into words everything that has stuck in the throat and left unspoken.

It’s also quite noticeable that OTOY is making some music for foreign audiences. “Find My Country” single was used as a way to explain the new reality of Ukraine. He also became the voice of a social video produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Ukrainians invented a new term this year: war-life balance. You can be a soldier who’s releasing new music, work as a sound producer and help refugees, join territorial defence yet remain a musician. These two extremes bring us war rap. And trust me, every Ukrainian wishes you to never fully feel the pain and anger of war coming to your home.

Stream “Околофронт” LP on Spotify.

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