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.”


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


Air India rapper pilot , Anjum Chabra remains grounded

While 30 of his 787-trained colleagues will go back to flying other Air India aircraft, Capt Anjum Chabra won’t

 Aditya Anand, Mumbai Mirror , March 7, 2013

Posted On Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 09:41:04 AM

Air India pilot who uploaded a rap video of himself on YouTube will remain suspended while 30 of his colleagues, who were also trained to fly the airline’s now-grounded Dreamliner fleet, will go back to flying other aircraft after a gap of almost two months.

Air India has said that the 30 pilots can go back to flying other aircraft, such as the Airbus 320 and 321, and Boeing 777, which they flew before the Dreamliners was inducted. However, Captain Anjum Chabra, who uploaded the rap video in which he criticised the airline and its staff, is not among them.

“Chabra does not figure among these pilots. He has not been given any flights right now, though a suspension is technically not punishment,” said a senior pilot from the Indian Commercial Pilots Association.

Chabra, a first officer with Air India’s now-grounded Dreamliner fleet, was served a gag order and warned that he could be suspended during a meeting with Rohit Nandan, Air India‘s chairman and managing director, last week.

“We have asked the general manager of the north region to look into the matter and take action if needed,” Nandan told Mumbai Mirror yesterday.

Late last week, Chabra responded to the airline’s show cause notice over his rap video with an apology. “I did not mean to insult anyone or demean the company. I did it as a hobby without any wrong intention,” Chabra’s letter to Nandan reads.

Now, his colleagues are keenly waiting April, when it will become clear if the airline will pay Chabra his protected 72-hour allowance. “Under an agreement between ICPA and the airline, even if a pilot does not fly, he will be given 72 hours worth of flying allowance ($100 an hour). It remains to be seen if Chabra will get his dues,” asenior pilot said.

While Chabra refused to speak about the latest developments, pilots in the know said that he had writen to YouTube to withdraw the video, but without success. The video has received close to 17 lakh views so far.

On February 13, Chabra posted a five-minute rap video on YouTube, criticising the management for not giving him alternative flights and delaying his salary. He also took a dig at the pilots’ union.

 The air india rap song by capt Anjum Chabra 

What do I say to people, what kind of a pilot I am

who sits at home most of the time and never gets to fly

It’s been over 5 months since I haven’t got paid

time and time, again and again, I have been betrayed

ain’t no flight for me here, ain’t no Singapore

ain’t no casino for me, so there is money no more

what do i do man, where do I go

I am so sick at home that I feel so low

where is the union, have they fallen sick?

happy with no money, or is this some kind of a prick

why show too much patience, why are they f***in quiet

why don’t they f***in get up, why don’t they f***in fight

I work with Air India as you all know

I am working in Air India, in India, but not in the air

Is there anyone here who has got extra money to spare

They don’t give me leave, they don’t give me NOC

Please tell them it’s not air force, I ain’t at LOC

How the f**k man, why you guys are keeping quiet

How you guys are running home, do you have another

business by your side

I am filing bankruptcy and I am getting broke

I am finished with all my money and lost all hope

Why don’t we punish those who f***ed up my airline

Cause of them I got no money, I got no fu**in wine

People work here for their lifetime, they never retire

See old faces everyday gets my a** on fire

How do I fly with women in their 60’ies

They call them airhostess’ we call them aunties

So let us all get let us all fight

Big guys are killing us they are taking all our rights

I don’t wanna sit at home n I wanna f**ing fly

If I don’t touch my stick soon I’m gonna die

I work with Air India as you know, they give me no money,

so got no place to go

Change the f***ing system …

Fight for it

Get me out of this s**t

I work for Air India and call myself a maharaja, but maharaja

is getting f***ed with all the band bajaa

When I joined my company it made me fell so proud

I used to say it all and I used to say it loud

Now when my folks look at me they give me sympathy

I hate goin out in public I hate publicity

The news is everywhere that the airline is in a mess

I hate to listen to that news I hate the bulls**t press

Coz everyone knows pilots of my airline have done a

good job

It’s few people at the top who’s f**ed us up and robbed

I just wanna say the truth for once now

I still believe we I get out of this mess somehow

I am he lucky one in the airline do you know f***ing how

Coz I get all the time to make music now

Coz I am on dreamliners it made my dream come true

I get to ride this beauty I am one of those lucky few

I am gonna serve you, Air India, this aint a lie

Coz I hope to see you out of this mess before I die

I work with Air India as you know………..

Love my company there is nowhere else I can go

I am on dreamliners as you have known

It is he best aircraft I have ever flown

MC Manmeet lambasts YO YO Honey Singh and his #Rap #Vaw #1billionrising #protest #Foe

Manmeet Kaur the bubbly , lively ,  woman rapper , a  Japaite ,   set the stage on fire  at the program  ON 26TH jAN 2013, at Ambedkar bhavan  bhavan in Mumbai. The program on freedom of expression ‘ bOl ke lab azaad hain tere”.  T he program in support of freedom of speech and expression in Indian Constitution, A crusade for creativity – speak, your lips are free, had a plethora creative and artistic presentations in form of skits, songs, and dance .

No Indian can keep quiet, when the freedom of his country is for sale.

While the most lethal epidemic is spreading in the world, only a few humans stand resolute against the enemy of humanity and are determined to remain altruistic. At any given point of time, such people are only a small handful. Dictators consider them as a major threat, hence they first try to woo them to join the thieves’ guild and be one of them. If all fails, they are offered a high post in the governmental machinery, a position of power or even monetary funds, in order to silence their noble quest for ever. If these measures fail, they construct new prisons for these humane persons and try to crucify them.

What is going on today? There is a constitution in this country, albeit without a soul. All pillars of democracy are dilapidated. Only those who have financial capital, rule the media and can brag and pontificate on anything. The supporters of Brahmanism and under-belly of capitalism keep blabbering nonsense incessantly. Those who are misleading the society by screaming utter lies have been given freedom of expression; and those, who write and speak the truth are forcefully silenced either by means of the police power or by the side-kick fascist organisations. But these moves are no more a secret.

In video below Manmeet gives a very apt reply to Yo Yo Honey Singh and his rap music .


BLOCK FEB 14TH, FOR  ONE BILLION RISING MUMBAI, Manmeet and more  performnces hip hop, rap, belly dancing, flash dance

Here  is manmeeet singh, rapping on Yo Yo Honey Singh


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



Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists


Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel


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