LA Medin

LA Medin is a Kyrgyz hip-hop/reggae/rap band. They sing mostly in Russian. Their current members are Batka (real name Batyr; Батька/Батыр) and Slim JOY (or Kyba; Куба). The band’s name refers to the cities Los Angeles and Almedina.

Batka, the only member who has been with the group since the start, has said that he got interested in rap as early as 1998—and not only rap, but all the surrounding genres, including rap ballads and breakdance beats. He would often breakdance at a local club, but didn’t think he would personally become a rapper.

The group was founded in Bishkek in 2004—very early on in the burgeoning tradition of homegrown Kyrgyz rap. The group consisted of Batka, local radio host Rhyme Dilla (Райм Дилла), and some members of the rap group Northern Alliance (Северный альянс), though most of these latter members left pretty early on. They wrote their first album, The Best of the Best (Лучше из лучших), in 2004.

For the first years of its existence the band termed itself a “dynasty,” not a band, and in fact the early iteration of the band is sometimes referred to as the LA Medin Dynasty. There were many people flowing in and out of their musical collective, a team of mysterious first names—among the members have been Turchik, Joker, Kapo, Bakardi, Aida, and Kardinal (their last names are nowhere to be found, somehow).

They first achieved some fame when their music started to get radio airplay, and they were also featured on some evening TV programs. They soon began to tour and perform in Kyrgyzstan and in 2005 released a second album, Inspiration (Вдохновение). In 2006, though, while they were writing their album Where Dreams Lead To (Куда приводят мечты), the group fell apart. They only “reunited,” as it were, in 2012, when Batka met Kyba and the two formed the second iteration of the band.

They have released three full-length albums, though the composition of the group was very different in each. Their most recent, Let’s Just Live (Так и живём), was released in May 2016. They celebrated with an album-presentation concert at Bishkek club Studio 247, and guests included musical celebrities including Casper, Aibek Zamirov, and Nursultan Azykbaev.


“Nostalgia” (“Ностальжи”), 2015:


“Inspiration” (“Вдохновение”), 2005:


Unfortunately, lyrics are not available.

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.