The new hip-hop single, Naachne Ka Shaunq, is perhaps the most in your face song in, after the rise of Hindustani hip-hop that garnered attention post the release of Gully Boy.
Perhaps, the ‘lyrically criminal’ ( Raftaar) song, a meta comment describes the song best with both artistes, Raftaar and Brodha V, not just giving voice to their personal struggle as artistes but also attacking the mainstream music industry, that’s been churning out remixes at a commendable rate.
From Raftaar’s poetical outburst in the beginning to the acknowledgement of professional success and the frustration expressed at the programmers who fail to understand the ethos of the politics of the writing, the lyrics that go into making the hip hop; a sub-culture!
Mere khoon mein basti siyaahi,
Mere nabzon mein bahti likhyai
Mere dil ke kalam pe jo uttar ke aayi…
The song moves on to Brodha V, who deliberately uses Hindi as a medium to express his anger; struggle as an artiste who failed to make a mark earlier because of the language barrier. He voices the angst felt by artistes who are not understood for their art form, or appreciated for the innovation in a music genre, instead;
Jinhone kabhi na music banaya
Yeh saare ke saare they, trying to teach me…
But the reason why the song stays with you is the attack on the audience, that’s not just dancing in the video but the audience, as us. The chorus of the song, targets the listeners as people who have failed to appreciate music, an art form that has a pivotal importance not just in the Hindi film industry but the Indian culture, at large. To paraphrase the politics of writing in the song, the artistes are attacking the state-of-music-appreciation of the ‘enlightened society’ of today. That we are only just fond of dancing, so much so, that we have forgotten the ‘maksad’ of our lives. That is the amount of power that the artistes who have sung this song, and other rising hip-hop artistes of this day and age, invest in the music scene of today.
India may not have had a Jazz movement, a political music movement initiated in the West by the marginalized African-American community, but it does have a rising subaltern wave of ‘Hindustani hip-hop’, which has become increasing popular after Divine, Raja Kumari, Bombay Bassment, Street Academics, and thousands of new budding artistes changed the game. It is even interesting to see how major corporations who are trying to be trendy, and stay relevant are roping in new hip-hop artistes, by sponsoring them and releasing their albums and singles. A mainstream move to accommodate a sub-culture, that perhaps in some time, will no longer as raw and fresh as it is now.
To come back to the single, it is important to note the form and style of song-video apart from its content. It is an underdog attempt to break the Fourth wall in a space, which is so new and unexplored at least in the Indian context. In fact, Raftaar’s last song in Nandita Das’ film (Manto), -Mantoniyat, was a more brave, in-your-face breaking the Fourth Wall attempt.
One has to hear the song to realise its potential as a poetical revolution of sorts in the music space, with lyrics such as –
“S** nishedh hai to itni kyon aabadi hai…
F**K kyon hai cool jaane galat kyon hai ch**iya…”