Rhymes for a Reason #Raptivism #Protestmusic #Hiphop


Despite his blingy alias, Ashwini Mishra, also known as A-list, is taking rap back to its political roots, says Richa Kaul Padte

Richa Kaul Padte

15-06-2013, Issue 24 l t

Hip-hop journalist Ashwini Mishra

Hip-hop journalist  Photo:Andrea Fernandes

“It’s so damn fake, we act so holy when We speak of Delhi gangrape, but what of Shopian? Enough of the lies, let me tell you what is true This is how we took the life of Afzal Guru

DRESSED IN a shirt, jeans, and a belt to match, Ashwini Mishra — aka A-List — harks back to a hip-hop culture that predates the ‘bling, bitchez and flowing cash’ of the bootylicious videos MTV has broadcast across the world for over two decades. His progressive and lyrically lucid emceeing is, in Mishra’s words, “taking it back to the streets”. Free styling, recording his own tracks and bringing a vibrant energy to clubs, open-mic nights and protest concerts alike, Mishra is quickly making a name for himself in what he labels ‘hip-hop journalism’.

As a member of , a Mumbai-based collective of poets, musicians, writers and artists, Mishra says his politics is liberal, though listeners of his music may place him much further on the Left in Indian politics today. A commentator for current events — such as the arrest of Shaheen Dhada for her Facebook status questioning the shutdown of Mumbai following the death of Bal Thackeray (“All the cops look at what these kids say/Then they are booked under Section 66A”) and the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits, an event often forgotten even in progressive views around the occupation of Kashmir (“He just wants a place in the valley, where he belongs/But Mr Kaul, your valley is gone”) — Mishra’s ties with JAPA’s network of activists and agitators across the country provide him with inside perspectives that go far beyond what the corporate media’s headlines dictate.

So how did the 28-year-old Bihari “corporate stooge by day” go on to produce one of India’s first hip-hop EPs in 2005? While living in Saudi Arabia, a serendipitous encounter with a Run-DMC cassette led seven-year-old Mishra to become “a hip-hop head” for the rest of his life. “The language, the culture, the aesthetic of hip-hop was just something I fell in love with,” he says. Returning to Kolkata, the city of his birth, Mishra began writing poetry (“In Calcutta, everybody is a poet,” he says, wryly). Poetry soon turned into performance, and growing up at a time when hip-hop was sparking resistance across the globe and artists like Eminem were “[making] it cool to be intricate with your rhyme again”, A-List was born as Mishra worked for his undergraduate degree.

Today, he collaborates with musicians as diverse as Kashmiri producers or The Republican Sena, a group of Dalit poets, artists and writers, and performs his own songs everywhere from “Richie-Rich venues to commie gatherings”. Looking to expand the culture of protest music in the country, Mishra’s work falls on the highly political end of India’s newly formed hip-hop spectrum, which covers everything from artists like Mumbai-based Microphon3 (who use much of the style, ‘swag’ and lingo of American ) to those who seek to be socially conscious, responding to issues such as gender-based violence (Manmeet Kaur, for example), or the treatment of the Muslim community (like the recent single, Native Bappa, from Kerala based hip hop crew Mappila Lahala).

However, rappers like Mishra and MC Kash (a Kashmir-based hip-hop artist who often includes recordings and excerpts from political rallies into his music) take socially conscious rapping to a more significant, interventionist level. Mishra extensively researches issues and participates in protests, demonstrations and public actions for movements he musically engages with, including the Bhopal gas tragedy, the treatment of Soni Sori and various feminist struggles. He is hopeful about making a difference, even in a music industry that is largely commercial and averse to changing the status quo. “Look at any great revolution; it has art linked to it,” he says. “So maybe hip-hop is the art of this era that can drive [change]… And guys like us will keep this thing going. So if you really look, you’ll see us; you’ll hear our music.”

letters@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 24, Dated 15 June 2013)

 

Cuban Hip-Hop Group Las Krudas Embraces Feminism


By Fari Nzinga

WeNews guest author

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Las Krudas is part of an art movement in Cuba created by black feminists, says Fari Nzinga in this essay in the anthology “Getting In is Not Enough.” But like female rappers in the U.S., they fight invisibility in the industry.

 

Cuban hip hop artists Las Krudas
Cuban hip hop artists Las Krudas perform at SXSW in Austin, Texas, 2012.

 

 

Credit: austin tx/Alan on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Bookmark and Share

 

(WOMENSENEWS)–Black Cubans have long been told by Cuban authorities that they do not need places to express the problems of race and class because there are no such problems: they have all been solved by the Revolution. Nevertheless, black Cubans do face all manner of discrimination in contemporary Cuba.

With few formal political outlets open to young black Cubans, hip hop has emerged on the island as a powerful form of political expression; a kind of “theater of the oppressed” that addresses the racial and economic problems encountered by black Cubans. The all-female group Las Krudas stands out as particularly courageous within this hip-hop scene.

My interviews with them, among 23 conducted with women of African descent, sketch a portrait of a striking phenomenon: the emergence of a strongly oppositional, black, feminist activist art in Cuba.

Although Las Krudas cannot represent the experiences of all black women on the island, they occupy a unique position within a growing black hip-hop intelligentsia. While their activities and lyrics point to specific issues of contemporary concern around the politics of race and gender in Cuba, they differ from U.S. black female rappers and their Cuban male contemporaries in that they unwaveringly advance a feminist agenda in which they seek to politicize the social and economic reality of being black and female in Cuba. Las Krudas therefore call attention to the situation of black women in a social and political context that denies the existence of racism, sexism, status and privilege.

Fighting Invisibility

Despite Las Krudas’ members’ increasingly important position as feminists within the Cuba hip-hop culture, they share with U.S. female rappers a frustrating invisibility. In both Cuba and in the United States, women as fans, advocates and artists in hip hop are virtually ignored in discussions of the phenomenon. Both in the United States and in Cuba, male artists have been touted for the political awareness and resistant nature of their rap lyrics. For example, male rappers in both the United States and Cuba protest and criticize the multiple ways the black male body and masculinity is policed and surveilled. By contrast, many themes dominant in black female rappers’ lyrics in both the United States and Cuba articulate and-or question hegemonic notions of femininity and black female sexuality.

Although in their lyrics many black U.S. female rappers defend women against sexist assumptions and misogynist assertions made by their black male counterparts, and they attempt to build their female audience’s self-esteem and raise consciousness levels in efforts to encourage solidarity among women, most perceive feminism to be a movement specifically related to white women. In solidarity with black men, many U.S. black female rappers refuse to identify or affiliate themselves with a movement that is perceived as speaking largely to heterosexual, white, upper middle-class women’s concerns.

Unlike their North American counterparts, Las Krudas readily identify themselves as feminists and refuse to relinquish their strong critiques of the nature and effects of Cuban patriarchy on the lives of marginalized women. Las Krudas’ lyrics encourage black women to reject the racism and sexism of patriarchal notions of femininity and they seek to raise the self-esteem of their female audiences. Many U.S. black female rappers do the same, but Las Krudas’ open embrace of feminist ideals makes them unique in the world of hip hop.

Overcoming Obstacles

This open embrace of feminism by Las Krudas has caused problems for them within the state-controlled music marketing entity. One example of the racially inflected sexism routinely experienced by the group occurred during the planning of the all-women’s concert where I first saw them perform. The hip-hop agency that organized the concert is state-subsidized and run by a white man and a black woman. The agency did not want to have to pay any of the groups or artists that they did not represent (which, in this case, included all the female rapera groups in this all-women’s concert).

In addition, the director of the theater where the concert was taking place pushed for the inclusion of men on the stage even though the concert was intended to feature female artists exclusively. For instance, he tried to force the female rappers to incorporate male dancers and rappers into their acts, something Las Krudas resisted.

Ultimately, Las Krudas prevailed and successfully performed their own original, pro-woman songs, without the “enhancement” of male dancers. Las Krudas member Odaymara, aka Pasa Kruda, notes that the hip-hop world in Cuba is very sexist: “the rap world is (hmmmmph!) tan fuerte, so strong. Muy machista, muy, muy, muy: Very sexist, very, very, very.”

Odaymara explained that she was annoyed and angered at the women’s concert not only because of the way the organizers treated the female rappers but also because while the men (of the hip-hop world) showed up, their presence was perceived as counterproductive; the men never lent any real support to the women’s cause according to Las Krudas. Also, regarding the other female rappers at the concert, Las Krudas memberOlivia, aka Pelusa, noted while the women were very good interpreters of text, los textos were not written by them but by men.

Las Krudas agreed that the feminist movement as well as the hip-hop movement in Cuba has a “long way to go. Long, long, long.”

 

From “Getting In is Not Enough,” edited by Colette Morrow and Terri Ann Fredrick. Copyright 2013 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Fari Nzinga is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology at Duke University. She currently works as an independent writer and research consultant. Colette Morrow sat on the editorial board of Feminist Formations from 2002 to 2012, served as president of the National Women’s Studies Association (U.S.) and is a Senior Fulbright Scholar. Terri Ann Fredrick is an associate professor of English at Eastern Illinois University. Proceeds from the book go to Feminist Formations, formerly The NWSA Journal, and are applied to publishing costs.

Jeanne Theoharis is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She received her AB in Afro-American studies from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan. She is the author or coauthor of six books and numerous articles on the black freedom struggle and the contemporary politics of race in the United States.

BOYCOTT New Year 2013 at Bristol Hotel Gurgaon, rapper Yo Yo Honey singh – who sings ” Choot” (cunt) #Vaw


 Rapper Honey Singh has been a chart-topper this year, and two of the five most-searched for videos on YouTube for 2012 were his songs.

The rapper’s misogynistic and deeply-troubling lyrics are unacceptable now to thousands in a country that is mourning the death of a young student who was gang-raped on a moving bus in Delhi. One song, released in 2006, brags about the different ways in which the singer will sexually assault a woman.

 In his songs , Honey Singh explains how Dope-Shope is not just not good for your health, but also harms your Punjabiyan di Shaan (pride of being from Punjab). He tells you how not to sell your land away, buying gifts for women and running after them; he makes fun of the brown girl hooked on Angrezi Weed (there is a debate raging about whether he sings Angrezi ‘beat’ or ‘weed’ or both – a confusion which Singh has not cleared), and also tells them to take pride in their brown skinned-sexuality. The cult figure that he is today however, launched itself to iconic status with the song Choot (cunt) – a song that his young fans may experience as ‘subversive’ not merely for its open use of sexually charged abuse but also for the way it seeks to teach the young floundering woman a lesson.

These pornographic lyrics are unacceptable and it is because of women hating (sic) sentiments like these that men think that it’s fine to do what they did on that bus, that December night in Delhi. Let’s put a stop to these subversive lyrics that infiltrate the minds of people who don’t know better and who then justify to themselves the rightness of a crime that harms another human being, sometimes so severely that they lose their lives.”

Mr Singh’s massive popularity is more reason why he should be held to account and told — in no uncertain terms — that his deeply offensive and regressive songs have no place in civilised society. Mr Singh is to perform because the idea is not to curb Mr Singh’s right to express himself – no matter how offensive his lyrics may be – but because the people  have the right to not listen to Honey Singh.

Choot lyrics: rough translation

 

Kenday pechayian pindaan ney teree mari

Saaday lun ney we khichee ey tyaari

Fudi teri aj ley kay jaoon

Jey nai liti tey main jatt na kwahoon

 

They say the whole village has fucked you

My cock is also prepared now

I shall take your pussy today

If I don’t, then I am no jat  (Chorus)

Repeat Chorus

 

Aja teri choot maroon

Tere sir se chudney ka bhoot utaroon

Choodney key baad tujhe jutey maroon

Tere mooh main apna lora dey key mooth maroon (yeah)

 

Come, I’ll screw your pussy

Get rid of you insatiable desire to be fucked

After screwing you, I’ll beat you with my shoes

I’ll thrust my cock in your mouth and masturbate- yeah!

Kar doon teri fuddi kharab

Merey jesa koi nahin meree bhudi kharab

Terey baad tere post

Bas yahi kaam kaaj mera

Kar doon ga khush tujhe

Luraa ley key naach mera

 

I’ll ruin/spoil your pussy

There is no-one like me (meaning unclear)

After you, your friends I’ll fuck

This is all I do

I’ll make you happy

Take my cock and dance.

Choda hoga tujh ko hazaroon ney

Mehngay mehngay kamroon mein

Lambi caroon mein

Bollywood key baray baray sitroon ney

Per merey lund jeesa dum naa bicharoon mein

Thousands may have fucked you

In expensive rooms

And big cars

The big stars of bollywood

But none as able as my cock (dum)

Mein karoon din raat ek

Guzar merey saath ek raat …dekh

Terey jesey maine toree ek raat mein

Aazma key dekh ley, dum kitni hai baat mein

I’m trying so hard (to get you to)

Spend a night with me, see

A woman like you I fulfil/break in one night (toree means break, taree means fulfil not sure which one it is)

I’m telling the truth- try me

Chorus

 

Gora badaan teri patli kamar

Solaan(16), sitraan(17) saal ke umar

Rehti tip top sunti hip hop

ley key chaloon tujh ko main CANDY SHOP

Your white body and slender weight

Your age 16, 17 years old

You stay tip top (dressed up), listen to hip hop

I will take you to the candy shop (I think 50 cent does a guest app in this song)

ch.. ch ..choos mera lura

aja choos mera lura

chaat merey tatte jaise aaloo ka pakoora

to hai choot ke rani

main hoon lodon ka raja

aja aja mere rani meri bansuri bajaja

 

Suck my cock

Come suck my cock

Lick my balls like they were aaloo pakora

You are the queen of cunt

I am the king of cocks

Come come play my flute

thoda uuper thoda neechey

zara haat to bataa

dekh ne dey laal fudi zara jhat to hata

moon khool apna

mera naam to chilaa

baadshah,baadshah keh key GAAND to hilaa

A little bit up, a little bit down

Help me out here

Let me see your red pussy, move your pubic hair

Open your mouth

Scream my name

Say Badshah, badsha and shake your arse

(badshah is one of the guys singing this song- look this stuff up please. I can’t look at at more of this stuff…)

 

lun utey laya appan sanday da tail

chood chood ker doon mein fudi teri fail

putt putt mommey tere waday kardoon

kano sharmawey elay lun phar too

oey gaal kar to …… Main tah bada paad doon

I’ve out oil on my cock (oil= tail)

I’ll fuck you and fuck you, make your pussy fail

I’ll grope (roughly, pinch, grab etc) your boobs and make them big (?)

Why are you hesitating/feeling shy? Here hold my cock you

Talk… I’ll rip you. (meaning unclear)

laa lei barian nu kundi booha bund kar to

merey lun da waar jewen chaley talwaar

aj cheer do mein teri patiala salwar

maar maar chupey tenu pai gaye si chaskey

hun mare chika jadoon payaa wich kas ke

aja lun teh to beja tera pose banawaan

aj nai kaal nai rooj banawaan

Bolt the windows and close the doors

My cock attacks like a sword

I’ll rip/tear your Patiala salwar

You are addicted to sex (the sentiment is you sex hungry whore like)

Now scream, when I’ve stuck it in you hard/tight

Come sit on my cock

Tera pose banawan- could make different positons in sex, could also mean I’ll make you pose for photographs- not sure

Not just today, or tomorrow, but I’ll do I everyday

 

Khoono Khoon Hoje kachi jive dul gayi dava

Chap chap marey kasey jatt sari sari raat

Oh mera naa honey singh rati batiyaan bujhwaan

Nawi gadeyaan chalawaan naley fudiyaan sujaawaan

Your underwear will be soaked with blood like medicine spilt (I think this indicates heavy bleeding. Also, term khoono-khon suggests grave injury)

Jat is thrusting hard all night

Oh my name is honey singh, I put the light out at night (get laid)

I drive new cars and cause cunts to swell

Chorus- x 2

 

Mumbai- the city that never sleeps, the city that never speaks…. #musicalactivism


 

I am proud to share the new contribution of friend and rapper  Ashwini Mishra  aka  @alistrap in the field of Musical Activism  called ‘ Mumbai- ‘City Of Gold’

Ashwini Mishra  a.k.a A-List, has been a rap artist and performer since 2004 . Since then, he has performed on a number of platforms such as the St. Xaviers and Bhowanipore college fests in Kolkata as well hosted and performed at a number of hip hop shows in club BED.More recently, he opened for Zero and Parikrama at the MICA collegest fest- MICANVAS back in 2008 and has been performing at open mics across Mumbai over 2010. He performed as one half of rapper-drummer duo “Various Artists” at Concert By The Bay in January 2012.

Ashwini, joined in JUSTICE AND PEACE FOR ALL (JAPA), a  voluntary network in Mumbai, a  platform for musical activism, he rapped on ,Let me tell you a story of this place Naxalbari.This song speaks of the Naxal areas in and around Chattisgarh and how messed up things are for the tribal community with both the police forces and the naxalities exploiting and murdering them.The song refers to soni sori, custodial torture and rape, Dr Binayak SenAnna Hazare andIrom Sharmila  among many others. This wa also an award winning rap

 

Let me tell you a story of this place Naxalbari


A capella version of Naxalbari at the poetry open mic that won the first prize, recently . A cappella music  (Italian for “in the manner of the chapel”  )is vocal music or singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way.

This song speaks of the Naxal areas in and around Chattisgarh and how messed up things are for the tribal community with both the police forces and the naxalities exploiting and murdering them.

The song refers to soni sori, custodial torture and rape, Dr Binayak Sen, Anna Hazare and Irom Sharmila  among many others.
The song is sung by  Ashwini Mishra  a.k.a A-List has been a rap artist and performer since 2004 . Since then, he has performed on a number of platforms such as the St. Xaviers and Bhowanipore college fests in Kolkata as well hosted and performed at a number of hip hop shows in club BED.More recently, he opened for Zero and Parikrama at the MICA collegest fest- MICANVAS back in 2008 and has been performing at open mics across Mumbai over 2010. He performed as one half of rapper-drummer duo “Various Artists” at Concert By The Bay in January 2012.
Currently he is working on his second album as a follow up to his 2006 underground EP, “I can’t lose” which was launched in Kolkata.

A-List represents a conscious approach to hip hop, using the music to talk bout more than just nightclubs, alcohol references and skimpily clad women. This is reality rap.

 

For updates on more music/videos, follow

http://www.facebook.com/alistrap
http://www.twitter.com/alistrap
http://www.reverbnation.com/indianemcee