Five years in the past, Sidhu Moose Wala introduced his arrival with So Excessive. Utilizing flutes and a faint tumbi, producer Byg Byrd roots the monitor in hip-hop however makes it evocative of Punjabi bhangra; on the hook, Sidhu’s voice soars. Racking up practically 500m views since 2017, the viral monitor allies the viewers as co-conspirators: Sidhu is our boisterous buddy, whose bravado is a by means of line throughout his hottest songs. In So Excessive, the Punjabi rapper – one of the crucial profitable ever to emerge from the area – prophesies “copycat lyricists”, gangsterdom, a prolific launch schedule and dwelling on the precipice of hazard. Each theme got here to fruition over his profession, which has ended with a deadly capturing on the age of 28.
Sidhu Moose Wala, initially Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, was born on June 11, 1993, and started singing within the fifth grade with people songs of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, a legendary Sikh commander from the early 18th century. In 2015, Sidhu began writing songs for others within the Chandigarh-based Punjabi music trade whereas a university pupil, discovering early success as the author of Ninja’s monitor License, however quickly vowed to jot down just for himself. He moved to Brampton, Ontario in December 2016 after finishing his diploma in electrical engineering and moonlit as a musical artist.
His stage title – which means “Sidhu of Moosa”, his birthplace – is a grounding article of devotion to his village, which he purposefully sought to raise: wherever he went, he as soon as mentioned, his “village would go too”. Sidhu is the village’s clan title, and so in essence, Sidhu Moose Wala allowed Shubhdeep to embody the aspirations of anybody from Moosa.
After the unprecedented success of So Excessive, Sidhu launched his debut album PBX 1 in October 2018. The lead single Jaat Da Muqabala opens with brass and glittering synths, straddling pop and lure as Sidhu undulates his voice, like Punjabi greats similar to Gurdas Maan but in addition US contemporaries similar to Polo G, with lyrics valorising his high-caste standing. Tracks similar to Selfmade and Dying Route in the meantime present a fascination with rise and fall dualities: Sidhu explores his middle-class origins and the help of his household in Selfmade, however spends Dying Route ruminating on darkish nights and looming threats – ominous clouds that will certainly observe his success.
Earlier than PBX 1’s launch, Sidhu earned notoriety by buying and selling barbs with different Punjabi hip-hop artists Deep Jandu and Karan Aujla. Their music Up and Down reads as a direct riposte to So Excessive, talking of how those who soar can come crashing down; Sidhu responded in form with Warning Photographs. There have been different fallings out, with collaborators Byg Byrd and Sunny Malton, over leaked tracks and unpaid invoices, however some had been defused, with Sidhu since releasing tracks with Malton.
Past gun-referencing lyrics and machismo, Sidhu used his mic to talk on Punjab’s sociopolitical points, and problem the established order. On Panjab (My Motherland), Sidhu personifies a Punjab that won’t “take the pushes” of the Delhi authorities. It was launched as an anthem for the farmers’ protests: Sidhu supported them within the August 2020 to December 2021 mass motion for agricultural subsidies, and ran an unsuccessful marketing campaign in 2022 for the Mansa district seat within the Punjab legislative meeting.
On the again finish of his magnum opus Moosetape – a 32-song tour de power that pays tribute to forefathers similar to Bohemia whereas convening worldwide contemporaries similar to UK MCs Stefflon Don and Tion Wayne – Sidhu interrogates the Indian penal code. Over a piano melody and trumpet blares, 295 takes the vantage level of a loving dad or mum advising Sidhu that no matter his path, he can be trapped. His decisions are both “talking the reality” and struggling Part 295 violations (penalising actions “meant to outrage spiritual emotions”) or progressing his profession and garnering hate. Sidhu consoles himself, consigned to a controversial destiny both method.
Lately Sidhu launched The Final Journey on 15 Might. In what now appears portentous, Sidhu used images of 2Pac’s assassination website as the quilt artwork. Sidhu revered the California rapper, and the monitor delves into west coast G-funk sounds, mimicking a low-rider anthem by way of the manufacturing of Wazir Patar. It opens with a pattern from a information broadcast about 2Pac’s dying, and Sidhu sings of how his “coffin can be raised in his youth”.
Martyrdom is omnipresent in Punjabi Sikh tradition, from the sacrifices of gurus to the hanging of Twenties revolutionary Bhagat Singh to deaths within the farmers’ protests, and Sidhu ruminates on the topic in The Final Journey. His artwork is an uneasy contradiction: talking positively of caste and violence, whereas rooted in a Sikh religion that’s anti-caste, peace-loving and egalitarian.
This contradiction, although, was what made him a riveting artist. Sidhu’s humility, and the flipside of his bravado, is most obvious on one other 2Pac homage: his 2020 music Expensive Mama. As a substitute of rap, a whistling flute and a guitar give strategy to Sidhu’s sonorous voice belting out his love for his mom, virtually like a traditional people music from Moosa: “Mother, I at all times really feel as if I’m precisely such as you. I wish to write your title, Charan Kaur, on my chest.” Other than the violent nature of his dying, that is how he may very well be remembered: an artist who tried to lift up all that raised him.