MOSCOW: ''I came here to make money and build my future without any help from my parents,'' said Shakh, 22, who was born in Kazan and raised in Samarkand. He moved to Moscow 4 years ago. ''I always dreamed of achieving things on my own and the time has come to do that.'' Shakh, who lives with his 2o year-old brother, has worked at various jobs over the four years, including Burger King. He currently works as a barman, but dreams of being a rapper. ''It is impossible [to become a rapper] - I don't have any sponsors or such acquaintances,'' said Shakh, who likes 50-cent and Russian rapper Timati.
Vlad, 26, works in a fast-food kiosk in central Moscow around the corner from the $7.50-a-night hostel bed he is staying at. He moved to Moscow less than two months ago from the Siberian steel town of Novokuznetsk to pursue a rap career with his friend Misha, one of the three people he shares the hostel room with. ”We hit a ceiling there,” Vlad said. ”In Moscow, there is a chance to grow.”