Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky stated that rap originated with Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky at a meeting held by a think tank.

Ever since Jay-Z has released a book of his lyrics, the link between rap and poetry has been well lamented in the cultural psyche; last year Kendrick Lemar received a Pulitzer Prize for his album Damn, putting the proverbial icing on the cake.

But according to a report from the Russian news agency Interfax, the art form may have risen to fame in the United States, but it was actually first created in the Soviet Union. Last week the country’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky made the surprising claim when speaking at a meeting held by a Russian think tank. “For a long time, this love for rap among Russia’s urban youth annoyed me,” said Medinksy. “But I started to try and pay a little more attention.”

Medinsky then went on to say he could see similarities between noted Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s work and the modern Russian rap to which his children listen. “I talked to my son and listened to what he was listening to, and I started to get the sense that sooner or later we’ll also say that rap is a Russian art form,” he said. The Russian culture minister’s statement was part of an event aimed at discussing “national identity in a changing world” at the Valdai Discussion Club. Set up in 2004, the organization was originally established to “tell the world about Russia,” but has since focused on promoting a “dialogue among the global intellectual elite in order to find solutions to overcome the crises of the international system.”

Born 125 years ago, Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Soviet painter, actor, playwright, and co-founder of the Futurist movement. A leading figure in the 1917 revolution, he sought to “depoetize” poetry by adopting the language of the streets and using daring technical innovations. Earning his living by writing propaganda for the state in the form of children’s poems, in the 1930s Stalin called Mayakovsky the “best and most talented poet of our Soviet epoch.”

Rap is fast becoming one of Russia’s biggest exports with the country keen on promoting its cultural values to the rest of the world, and acknowledging the genre’s artistic credentials by aligning it with notable Russian writers is just one way of getting behind the country’s increasing enamored with its own flavor of hip-hop and rap. Last year, a rap battle between two of the country’s biggest stars—Oxxxymiron and Vyacheslav Karelin—made national headlines after it received over 37 million YouTube views, but a pro-Kremlin lawmaker described it as “moral squalor.”

A key part of Medinsky’s appointment as Minister of Culture has been promoting the former Soviet empire’s cultural currency by promoting its role on the global stage and downplaying foreign cultural influences; he’s previously suggested that Russian filmgoers should pay more to see Hollywood movies.

But the minister has also had his fair share of controversy surrounding his own work. Last year, The Moscow Times reported that Medinsky’s PhD was under scrutiny for alleged plagiarism. The thesis examined “problems of objectivity” in the coverage of Russian history from the second half of the 15th century to the 17th century, but was accused of being unscientific, replete with errors and “simply absurd” in places by an anti-plagiarism historian who filed the original complaint.