When Roshan Illahi who goes by his stage name MC Kash released his first rap single ” Ï protest ” in 2010, it took Kashmiri streets by storm. The song became an anthem of a revolution where it traveled from a home studio to almost every stereo playing in the valley. Bluetooth became a frequent technology to transfer the music, and the name became synonymous with reverence. Unlike all other songs in Kashmir, Roshan’s song was a musical revolution. It laid the foundation of Rap in the valley, and with an international music genre and English as its dominant language, “I protest” has remained the top in the charts when we are mentioning resistance rap. Ten years down the line, Kashmir’s musical revolution has no doubt transformed, but somewhere down the line, the consciousness in the genre has been lost with the exception of few respectable artists like Ali Saifuddin, Alif, or Illahi himself.
What started as an ethical art has degenerated into a mindless bass where the new-age rappers have indulged in downgrading the bottom layer of the Kashmiri rap. The expressions, lyrics, nuances, and undertones of many of the productions are unbecoming of what one would expect. Sexism, drug abuse, foul-mouthing, misogyny, bullying, and ill-mannerisms are rampant in the lyrics of the so-called “music stars”. This has been deemed normal by many of the rappers who promote such expressions in their songs and on top of that, many of these songs have ended up inciting conflict between the villages and the city, something that our previous rappers like Kash has always united through his lyrics and personal behavior.
The TV-presenters who have been glorifying such artists have overlooked the culture and the language these individuals are promoting in their songs. From alcohol to lewd remarks against women, the drug-preaching and foul-mouth rappers have not promoted the Kashmiri musical industry but decimated it into their Narco-Medellin. Glorifying such behavior especially by our media organizations and Youtubers is devastating. It encourages this culture. The responsibility falls on the good youth of Kashmir and also those in showbiz to not promote such singers and instead give time and space to decent artists who are trying to unite people and have respect not just for every individual irrespective of gender, but also for the cultural sensitivity of the valley and elsewhere. The audience is to blame for encouraging such behavior and appreciating such degenerating divisive grime that doesn’t qualify as music.
The question is; when will we stop encouraging those who promote drug-abuse, bullying, ill-mannerisms, sexism, and male-chauvinism in the garb of their art and an art that does promote that is nothing but criminal. The thing to do here is to make sure that these people aren’t encouraged, and where such a language is used by anyone, they are held accountable to an unconditional apology, instead of glamorization, let alone inviting them to shows.