Who is the Russian rapper who buys the Starbucks chain?

Vladimir Putin with Timati at a meeting with fans, 2012.AP . image

Russian rapper Timur Yusunov, better known by his stage name Timati, is not a great poet judged by such songs as “Welcome to Saint Tropez” and “Dirty Whoren”. He is also not very talented in cinematography, as only his videos attest with beautiful bodies teeming with beautiful people’s bodies surrounded by expressions of capitalist bad taste, such as expensive watches, big cars and flashy clothes.

What will soon become: the manager of nearly two hundred Starbucks stores in Russia. The American coffee chain, which has been active in Russia for 15 years, was one of the first multinationals to stop all activities there in March after the Russians invaded Ukraine. Then Starbucks had to find a Russian buyer.

More companies have made this decision. The first fifteen restaurants in “Vkusno & totsjka” opened their doors in mid-June. The hamburger chain was called McDonald’s before the invasion and has since been taken over by Alexandre Joffre, the Siberian oil tycoon. Other multinationals, such as Pizza Hut, Michelin and Carlsberg, are still looking for Russian buyers from local stores and factories.

Clothes and burgers

As for Starbucks, that search is now over, Timati reported via Instagram this weekend. That was not a huge surprise, because the Russian rapper, born in 1983, has been moving the business world for quite some time. Clothing brand Black Star Wear is doing well, as is the hamburger chain Black Star Burger, which now has dozens of restaurants in Russia as well as Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

What may help him achieve this success is his intimate relationship with the ruling power in Russia. For years, it has been relatively difficult for the Kremlin to control the world of Russian rap, which is very popular among young people. For example, such famous rappers as FACE, Oxxxymiron and Morgenshtern, in 2021 still the most listened artist on the Russian version of Spotify, spoke out against the invasion of Ukraine, which at the same time awarded FACE the title of qualified “foreign agent”, who was forced to leave Russia.

However, Timati takes a completely different approach. In March, he was the only rapper to perform in front of 200,000 Russians at the festival commemorating the annexation of Crimea, and has also been an outspoken supporter of Putin in his words for years. He sang praises of the Russian leader in his 2015 song “My Best Friend President Putin,” in which he called him a “great superhero” who “you, I, the whole country is behind us.”

Timati at a party in Saint-Tropez, 2017. Image Foc Kan / WireImage

Timati at a party in Saint-Tropez, 2017.Image Foc Kan / WireImage

Miss Russia

Timati became famous in 2004 after participating in the Russian talent show Zvezd Factory (Star Factory), and in the years since, he has always been surrounded by attention, first thanks to his remarkable transformation from romantic songwriter to rapper, and later especially through his relationships with former Miss Russia contestants, who were then traded for Miss Russia The contestants of recent years little.

In 2019, while criticism of the Kremlin has been less harsh, and squares and streets still swarmed with widespread protests, his song ‘Moscow’ still holds the dubious honor of being the most rejected Russian song of all time. The YouTube. It was announced just before the municipal elections, and Timati raps, among other things: “I do not go to protests and do not talk nonsense.” At one time, for 85,000 likes, there were 1.48 million, after which he decided to stop playing the song.

Timati acquired Starbucks branches with his business partner Anton Pinski, who also operates dozens of restaurants in Russia. They don’t want to change much about the concept of a coffee chain at the moment. They are planning to introduce a new name and logo.

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